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February 2013

Sandia National Laboratories has become a pioneer in large-scale passive optical networks, building the largest fiber optical local area network in the world.

The Sandia network pulls together 265 buildings and 13,000 computer network ports and brings high-speed communication to some of the labs’ most remote technical areas for the first time. The network will save an estimated $20 million over five years through energy and other savings and not having to buy replacement equipment. Sandia expects to reduce energy costs by 65 percent once the network is fully operational.

Sandia, which will spend about $15 million on the project, needs superb computing capability for the problems it tackles as part of its support for the mission for NNSA.

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Steve Gossage, a senior engineer at Sandia National Laboratories


Using equipment that expands on technology funded by NNSA's Laboratory Directed Research and Development program, an international team has achieved the first successful measurement of the spin rate of a supermassive black hole. The team included scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In addition, Livermore’s High Energy Focusing Telescope served as the predecessor to NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, which was used to complete the study. The findings are significant because they enhance scientists' understanding of how black holes and galaxies evolve.

Read more here.

About the photo:
Above is an artist’s rendering of a supermassive black hole. Matter flowing into the center forms an accretion disk around it and the black hole’s spin creates an outflowing jet of energetic particles.

NNSA Acting Administrator Neile Miller last week hosted New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam while the governors were in Washington, D.C., to attend the National Governors Association winter meeting.

The engagements provided Miller the opportunity to thank the governors for their active and steadfast support of NNSA’s laboratories and plants in their states. NNSA recognizes the central leadership role the governors play in support of the NNSA mission and appreciates the opportunity to advance the national nuclear security agenda to a broader cross-section of the nation.

Acting Administration Neile Miller with Gov. Martinez (left) and Gov. Haslam

Natalie Layne, Coalfield High, checks out a ultrasonic detector demonstration.

Y-12 recently held its second annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering event, during which some 400 girls in grades 9–12 from area schools were encouraged to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The girls interacted with women working in the engineering field and experienced hands-on activities at various exhibits hosted by Y-12, ORNL, the University of Tennessee and other engineering organizations.

About the photos:
Above, Natalie Layne, Coalfield High sophomore, checks out a ultrasonic detector demonstration at the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at Y-12's New Hope Center. In ultrasonic testing, short ultrasonic pulse-waves are launched into materials to detect internal flaws or to characterize materials.
Below, University of Tennessee alumni Dr. Jamie Porter, of the Department of Nuclear Engineering, was the keynote speaker at the Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at Y-12's New Hope Center.

University of Tennessee alumni Dr. Jamie Porter was the keynote speaker.


Lindsey VanNess, a contract specialist/contracting officer with NNSA's Sandia Field Office (NA-00-SN), was selected as the NNSA Office of Infrastructure and Operations (NA-00) Employee of the Year for 2012. Lindsey is the first NA-00 employee to receive this distinguished recognition.

Lindsey was selected for her exceptional contributions to NNSA including the benchmarking of Department of Energy plans and for crafting guidance resulting in authorship of an Enterprise-implementable Strategic Performance Evaluation Plan (PEP). The PEP will ensure consistency across the enterprise and assess the management and operating contractors on common criteria. Additionally, Lindsey has been a key player on the Sandia Acquisition Strategy Team and the Sandia Source Evaluation Board.

About the photo:
Sandia Field Office Manager Geoff Beausoleil presents Lindsey VanNess with the NNSA Office of Infrastructure and Operations (NA-00) Employee of the Year for 2012 award.

Eileen JohnstonEileen Johnston, assistant manager for Safeguards and Security at the NNSA's Sandia Field Office, was recently awarded the NNSA Silver Medal. Eileen was selected for the award by former NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino for her exceptional service and unwavering dedication and commitment to safeguards and security for the NNSA and DOE.

Eileen's leadership and oversight expertise has set the standard for safeguards and security budget development across the Enterprise. Her high-level guidance and direction helped to ensure effective and efficient utilization of safeguards and security funds by Sandia National Laboratories. It is estimated that the cost savings at the site are in excess of $2 million. Eileen has made significant contributions by applying her knowledge and leadership to assist at other NNSA sites as well. Her security subject matter expertise was invaluable in the recent technical evaluation of security performance and past data at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

About the photo:
Sandia Field Office Manager Geoff Beausoleil presents Eileen Johnston with the NNSA Silver Medal.

Senator Udall

Sandia National Laboratories this week celebrated the formal opening of its Cybersecurity Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL). Among those who spoke at the opening were Sandia Labs’ Director Paul Hommert, Cray Computer’s CEO Pete Ungaro, Senator Tom Udall, Representative Ben Ray Lujan, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, and Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA Chief Scientist and Director of the Office of Science and Policy.

The CERL, located in the Sandia Science and Technology Park in Albuquerque, N.M., is part of the Cyber Engineering Research Institute (CERI) which include Sandia’s cyber research staff and two facilities: CERL and the Cyber Technology Research Laboratory (CTRL), located in the Livermore Valley Open Campus in California. The CERI focuses on open, exploratory research in cyber security in partnership with academia and industry and provides collaborators an accessible portal to Sandia’s cybersecurity experts and facilities. The two research facilities are established outside Sandia’s classified campus to facilitate hosting of academic and industry collaborators.


Technician Frank Cebreros tests the activation of the target shroud

The NIF team completed a record 28 laser shots on targets last month, along with two shots without targets. January also saw a significant increase in NIF's experimental flexibility, as the team completed 40 laser wavelength changes – more than double the number in any previous month. Changing the laser wavelength by a few angstroms in different cones of laser beams enables researchers to adjust the amount of energy reaching different areas of the hohlraum targets.

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About the photo:
Technician Frank Cebreros tests the activation of the target shroud in the NIF cryogenic target positioner (CryoTARPOS) in preparation for the Jan. 6 tantalum EOS experiment.

Y-12 recently honored 12 individuals for receiving U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patents and 74 individuals for submitting invention disclosures. The individuals were honored at the ninth annual Y-12 Technology Transfer awards ceremony.

The year was a record-breaking one for new patents at Y-12, with 11 awarded. The Silver Acorn Award, presented to first-time patent recipients, went to Ed Babelay, Bill Barkman, Amy DeMint, Jackie Gooch, Patrick Thomas and Paul Vanatta. Ashley Stowe and Lee Bzorgi each earned a Technology Support Award. Six honorees took home cash in the form of a Government Use Award, which recognizes inventions that add significant value to DOE or other government agencies.

Read more.

Ninth annual Y-12 Technology Transfer awards ceremony

Blue Valley West team

After a full day of intense competition, Blue Valley West and Fort Zumwalt South high schools claimed the top two seats at Kansas City Regional Science Knowledge Bowl. They will represent the Kansas City region this spring at DOE’s National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.

The event took place last Saturday at Rockhurst University and brought together some of the brightest students from more than 64 high schools teams from Kansas and Missouri. The match competition was in quiz-show format with questions on biology, chemistry, physics, earth/space science, mathematics and computer science.

Local school Blue Valley West of Overland Park, Kan., claimed the Kansas Division and bragging rights as three-time Divisional Champions, while Fort Zumwalt South of St. Peters, Mo., traveled more than 230 miles to win their first Divisional Championship in the Missouri Division.

The Kansas City competition has grown to become one of the largest of the more than 60 DOE-sponsored regional science bowls in the country. It has been co-sponsored by the NNSA’s Kansas City Plant and managing contractor, Honeywell since 1991. Approximately 100 volunteers from the Kansas City Plant assisted with this year’s event.

About the photos:
Blue Valley West (top) and Fort Zumwalt South (bottom) high schools claimed the top two seats at Kansas City Regional Science Knowledge Bowl.

Fort Zumwalt South team