For nearly sixty years, Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed
and applied cutting-edge science and technology to critical national
security challenges. That work, led by our talented and dedicated
scientists and engineers, has sparked significant scientific breakthroughs
and technical innovations.
Such service to the nation often lies hidden behind the language
of scientific disciplines or the restrictions of security requirements.
As a result, the public cannot appreciate the Laboratory's
ongoing scientific contributions and how they support national needs
in security, health, environmental stewardship, and other areas.
I am pleased, therefore, to introduce the Los Alamos Research
Quarterly, a publication that will highlight our research, introduce
the creative people responsible for our achievements, and explain
the importance of our programs to national priorities.
Our feature article describes experiments to study how vortices
form and interact at the interfaces of different fluids moving through
each other. This common event in our everyday worldlike cream
swirling into coffee, for examplebecomes critically important
in nuclear weapons, when the fluids are metals driven together under
extremely high temperatures and pressures. Our experiments help
validate the computational models needed to assess weapon reliability
and safety and provide insights into this basic, natural phenomenon.
Another article discusses the use of sound to inspect sealed containers.
Subjecting an artillery shell or gas cylinder to a small impulse
of sound and analyzing the reverberations can reveal information
about its contents, much like listening to a bell's tone reveals
its composition. Inspectors now apply this technology to look for
deadly biological or chemical munitions.
We also have applied our expertise in analyzing genetic information
to categorize strains of the anthrax-causing bacterium Bacillus
anthracis. By teasing apart an organism's genetic structure,
we can identify key features to track its kinship or geographic
origin, for example. This expertise supported federal investigations
in last year's criminal anthrax attacks.
The publication also offers a look at Los Alamos's support
for the Nuclear Emergency Support Team, volunteers drawn from all
the national laboratories to provide a national emergency response
Los Alamos ranks alongside the best of the world's scientific
institutions because of the excellence and dedication of our staff
and our unique experimental and computational facilities. We undertake
a multidisciplinary approach to solving complex scientific problems
that few other institutions can matchand future advances likely
will be made at the intersections of different scientific fields.
At Los Alamos, our emphasis is on use-driven research intended
to benefit our society. You will have the chance to read about our
work and its benefits in this and future issues of the Los Alamos
I hope you enjoy what we have to offer you.