From Our Office Director
All In This Together
We are all interconnected—locally as well as globally. If there is one thing that the recent, tragic events in Japan have shown, it's that simple fact. Economics, health and safety, and even peace of mind are all interconnected, even when precipitating events seem far away. And, if global interconnectivity is real, regional interconnectivity becomes even more apparent. If a business can't get off the ground in Espanola, a student drops out of school in Los Alamos, or a nonprofit in Santa Fe can't secure the funds it needs, ultimately we're all affected, even if it might not seem immediately obvious.
Lab management—myself included—are acutely aware of the ripple effect our institution causes in the community. While we don't always have control over issues such as budget appropriations or mission shifts, we listen carefully to regional people, leaders, and organizations with the goal of having a positive impact in Northern New Mexico communities. That's why we work so hard to support economic development, education, and community giving partnerships in the region. I hope this issue of Connections helps illustrate this.
In it, we cover how we continue to support economic development through Northern New Mexico Connect's Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF). We also highlight the Innovators' Forum, which will show how businesses can help protect themselves from hackers and, in the case of the upcoming Coronado Ventures Forum, let people know about emerging biotech opportunities. Even our lead story this month, on isotopes for nuclear medicine, has an economic development component. A company recently received a VAF grant to develop a radioanalytical lab to recycle the spent strontium-82 and rubidium-82 used for heart imaging. While LANL helps produce these radioisotopes, it cannot currently re-enrich them cost-effectively. Hopefully, this company's work will improve the availability of these much-in-demand materials as it breaks new commercial boundaries.
We also support numerous educational efforts and include stories this month on the National Science Bowl and Expanding Your Horizons. The Science Bowl helps encourage students to challenge themselves in all areas of science, while Expanding Your Horizons helps girls grow up confident and prepared to take their places in science-related careers.
Lastly, related to community giving, we just wrapped up this year's LANL Laces campaign that helped nearly 400 children obtain a new pair of shoes. Soon, we'll recognize our many volunteers and distribute checks to hundreds of nonprofit organizations where they devote their time. We'll cover this activity in next month's issue. The Lab, its managers, employees, and retirees, really do try to support numerous, positive community partnerships that contribute to all of our welfare. I hope you enjoy reading about some of them in this issue of Connections.