Los Alamos National Laboratory

My View: Terry Wallace, Principal Associate Director for Science, Technology, and Engineering
Vibrant Science

picture of Terry Wallace

The scientific and technological problems facing our country today are both diverse and complex, and addressing them requires highly innovative, multidisciplinary research. Bringing talented scientists from many fields to our facilities and laboratories is therefore critical to our mission, but it is only part of what we must do to meet our national responsibility. More broadly, we must sustain an environment of collaboration that encourages the best and brightest minds to do their most exceptional thinking. In short, we must remain committed to the vibrancy of our science.

Vibrant science is vigorous, energetic, and broad—as it must be, if it is to confront complex, interconnected challenges. Consider, for example, the burning of fossil fuels and the resulting rise in atmospheric carbon emissions. These pose serious security concerns—in terms of our energy supply, our economy, our natural environment, and our exposure to geopolitical instability spawned by shifting natural resource patterns. These are problems whose solutions necessarily span many disciplines, requiring a tremendous range of scientific research.

This issue of 1663 highlights several multidisciplinary approaches to the carbon problem. For example, you'll read about a unique collaboration to create a "smart" power grid to accommodate an increasing deployment of renewable energy instead of carbon-emitting sources. You'll read about a novel program to examine the microscopic life found in the earth beneath our feet and how that life affects the global carbon cycle. You'll read about efforts to improve the manufacturability of carbon-free fuel cells, and plans to modify an enzyme to grow renewable biofuels and mitigate carbon emissions from power plants. All of these lines of research (and many others!) are needed to address the broader carbon challenge.

Los Alamos is producing world-leading science on many fronts, and the ability to connect fundamental discoveries to real-world applications is a hallmark of our success. Both the discoveries and the applications emerge from vibrant research that relies on the variety of expertise and capability gathered in common purpose here at Los Alamos.

Terry Wallace's signature

Terry Wallace,
Principal Associate Director or Science, Technology, and Engineering

 

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