PART I, The Making of a Geochemist: Q&A with Andrew Stack
March 04, 2015 — Scientists who bridge disciplines often take research in new directions. Andrew Stack of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory calls on his expertise in geology, chemistry and computing to advance understanding of the dynamics of minerals underground.
Innovative, lower cost sensors and controls yield better energy efficiency
February 27, 2015 — Regulating comfort in small commercial buildings could become more efficient and less expensive thanks to an innovative low-cost wireless sensor technology being developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
February 23, 2015 — Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have captured undistorted snapshots of refrigerants flowing through small heat exchangers, helping to further elucidate characteristics of heat transfer.
Sugar and splice
February 16, 2015 — Through drought and flood, winter freeze and summer heat, and the occasional deer nibble or beaver gnaw, trees stand sturdy. Partly, trees can thank genetic makeup, refined through millennia, for the ability to overcome much of what Mother Nature hurls their way.
Yonath discusses visualizing ribosomes and antibiotic resistance
February 11, 2015 — The early 1980s conventional wisdom was that almost everything was known about ribosomes, the cellular structures responsible for making proteins according to the genetic instructions. The decade was also the turning point in antibiotics development. Despite substantial increase in bacterial antibiotic resistance, hardly any new antibiotics were designed.
Flipping the switch
February 09, 2015 — Inadequate insulation is one of the largest causes of wasted energy, quickly allowing comfortable heating or cooling to disperse air outside.
Water, water, everywhere — Controlling the properties of nanomaterials
January 12, 2015 — Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are learning how the properties of water molecules on the surface of metal oxides can be used to better control these minerals and use them to make products such as more efficient semiconductors for organic light emitting diodes and solar cells, safer vehicle glass in fog and frost, and more environmentally friendly
“Seeing” hydrogen atoms to unveil enzyme catalysis
January 07, 2015 — Enzymes are catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in living organisms and control many cellular biological processes by converting a molecule, or substrate, into a product used by the cell. For scientists, understanding details of how enzymes work is essential to the discovery of drugs to cure diseases and treat disorders.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
December 22, 2014 — Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working collaboratively with scientists funded by The American Chestnut Foundation, have helped confirm that addition of a wheat gene increases the blight resistance of American chestnut trees.
The ORNL team, in collaboration with foundation researchers led by Dr.
Crown Ethers Flatten in Graphene for Strong, Specific Binding
December 18, 2014 — Ethers—simple organic molecules in which an oxygen atom bridges two carbon atoms—are the chemical building blocks of commonplace products including many solvents, propellants, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
December 11, 2014 — At Wednesday’s Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Lecture, internationally recognized leader in atmospheric science Susan Solomon talked about how the intersection of science, technology, policy, communication, consumer habits and industry set a stage for success in combating ozone depletion (video).
Procter & Gamble and Temple University scientists model skin’s makeup
November 17, 2014 — Skin is the body’s largest organ. It is a protective barrier, keeping microbes out and moisture in. It also regulates temperature, enables sensation, and makes vitamin D. But researchers don’t fully understand at the molecular level how our skin performs its functions.
Spiraling Back in Time
November 17, 2014 — If you took a photograph of the Milky Way galaxy today from a distance, the photo would show a spiral galaxy with a bright, central bar (sometimes called a bulge) of dense star populations. The Sun—very difficult to see in your photo—would be located outside this bar near one of the spiral arms composed of stars and interstellar dust.
National Guard and Reserve Boss Lift program gives ORNL manager up-close view of military training
November 11, 2014 — For several years, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has supported the National Guard and Reserve’s Boss Lift Program, which gives employers a chance to visit military installations to see first-hand what reservists do.
In August, Cindy Mayfield of the lab’s Human Resources Directorate was invited to Fort Benning, Ga.
Lasers, fish ears and environmental change
November 04, 2014 — East Tennessee is among the country’s most biodiverse regions for freshwater fish. In an abundance of shapes and colors, they swim in mountain streams and lowland lakes, sometimes ending up next to a side of garlic-mashed potatoes as a result.
Your own energy “island”? ORNL microgrid could standardize small, self-sustaining electric grids
November 04, 2014 — When Department of Energy and Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher Yan Xu talks about “islanding,” or isolating, from the grid, she’s discussing a fundamental benefit of microgrids—small systems powered by renewables and energy storage devices. The benefit is that microgrids can disconnect from larger utility grids and continue to provide power locally.
Iron-based Superconductor Simulations Spin Out New Possibilities on Titan
October 31, 2014 — Researchers studying iron-based superconductors are combining novel electronic structure algorithms with the high-performance computing power of the Department of Energy’s Titan supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to predict spin dynamics, or the ways electrons orient and correlate their spins in a material.
ORNL videos a gold mine for students, teachers
October 24, 2014 — A series of short videos featuring Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists and engineers explaining their work offers a glimpse inside the world of “Big Science” for students, educators and anyone interested in the process of discovery.
Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms
October 17, 2014 — Throw a rock through a window made of silica glass, and the brittle, insulating oxide pane shatters. But whack a golf ball with a club made of metallic glass—a resilient conductor that looks like metal—and the glass not only stays intact but also may drive the ball farther than conventional clubs. In light of this contrast, the nature of glass seems anything but clear.
Researchers Look Inside to Reveal Workings of a Powerful Biochemical Switch
October 10, 2014 — (SALT LAKE CITY)—Using X-rays and neutron beams, a team of researchers from the University of Utah, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have revealed the inner workings of a master switch that regulates basic cellular functions, but that also, when mutated, contributes to cancer, cardiovascular disease and other deadly disorders.
Smithsonian-ORNL collaboration kicks off with ORNL tour
October 08, 2014 — More than 40 visitors with Smithsonian Associates concluded a four-day study tour Tuesday in Oak Ridge as part of a partnership formalized this summer between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Smithsonian Institution.
Hardwoods in peril
October 02, 2014 — With leaves taking on more golden hues, trees skirting the drive to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in northeastern Tennessee are beginning to show the first signs of fall. A few even look like they’ve closed shop for winter early, already having shed all their leaves.
ORNL staff help students prepare for FIRST LEGO League competition
September 30, 2014 — About 30 students ages 9 through 14 are gearing up for the 2014-15 FIRST LEGO League competition with weekly training sessions at the National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) in West Knoxville.
NTRC is part of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and ORNL operating contractor UT-Battelle co-sponsors the LEGO League tournament.
Unlocking enzyme synthesis of rare sugars to create drugs with fewer side effects
September 26, 2014 — A team led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has unlocked the enzymatic synthesis process of rare sugars, which are useful in developing drugs with low side effects using a process more friendly to the environment.
ORNL researcher is working to predict electric power blackouts before they happen
September 25, 2014 — The largest power outage in United States history, the 2003 Northeast blackout, began with one power line in Ohio going offline and ended with more than 50 million people without power throughout the Northeast and the Canadian province of Ontario.
Despite the apparent failure of the electric grid during such cascading events, blackouts aren’t necessarily grid failures.