Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Regional science event winners, environmental protection and state STEM week
March 1, 2014
Los Alamos Middle School wins regional Science Bowl (From left to right: David Gao, Phillip Martin, Sonyia Williams, Presley Gao and coach Naomi Unger)

Los Alamos Middle School wins regional Science Bowl (From left to right: David Gao, Phillip Martin, Sonyia Williams, Presley Gao and coach Naomi Unger)


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  • Kurt Steinhaus
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Los Alamos Middle School teams win regional math and science events

Teams from Los Alamos Middle School took home first place regional honors at both the DOE Science Bowl and MATHCOUNTS competitions. Congratulations to the students and coaches!

- Middle School Science Bowl

A team from Los Alamos Middle School walked away with top honors at the state Middle School Science Bowl competition included students David Gao (the team’s captain), Phillip Martin, Sonyia Williams and Presley Gao, along with coach Naomi Unger. The team will now advance to the nationals scheduled for April in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the Science Bowls, visit the Department of Energy’s page.


Another team from Los Alamos Middle School consisting of Antonio Dowdy, Christopher Koh, Donald Poston and Do Vo (along with coaches Phuong Nguyen and Jane Lataille) won the February chapter MATHCOUNTS competition. State competitions are scheduled for early March with the winning team moving on to the national competition scheduled for early May in Orlando, Florida. To learn more about MATHCOUNTS activities, go to its webpages.

Guarding precious habitat of threatened and endangered species

To ensure that the Laboratory’s mission coexists peacefully with wildlife, Los Alamos biologists work closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect threatened and endangered species within Lab boundaries. Not only must the Lab protect the species themselves, it must also protect any habitat that could suit the animals’ needs now or in the future.

Both the Jemez Mountains Salamander and the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo have possible habitats within Laboratory boundaries and have been seen in previous wildlife surveys, according to Charles Hathcock with the Lab’s Environmental Stewardship group. The salamander was added to the federal endangered species list in September and the cuckoo may soon be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The Lab’s Habitat Management Plan requires careful consideration of any activities that might disturb protected areas within the Lab. “Not only must we take into consideration work that might take place within those protected areas, we also have to consider noise levels and vibrations that might carry over into those areas while some of the animals nest,” said David Keller, also with Environmental Stewardship.

The Lab's Habitat Management Plan is currently being updated to reflect the presence of these animals on Lab property.

State recognizes NM STEM Education Week

The Lab joined with others last month to recognize NM STEM Education Week at the state’s Capitol Rotunda. The House of Representatives' Education Committee brought attention to the need for additional Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education during the week of February 7-14 through a memorial that passed unanimously. The memorial also received a unanimous "do pass" on the floor of the Senate. Efforts highlighted during the activities included voluntary work to certify 1,000 New Mexico math and science teachers, obtain a 25 percent increase in high school students’ measured math proficiency and increase the graduation rates in STEM fields by 25 percent. All of these voluntary targets are set for 2020. New Mexico First championed the memorial and you can lean more on its website.