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February 2013

Los Alamos High School students headed to DOE National Science Bowl

Students from Los Alamos High School will represent New Mexico at the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl in May. The team took first place on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the New Mexico Regional High School Competition after besting 28 teams representing 14 New Mexican high schools.

Students answered questions related to astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, math, trigonometry and calculus during the fast-paced, 10-hour, “Jeopardy” style competition. The winning team received a $5,000 check for their school and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete against top teams across the nation in late April.

About the photo:
The students representing Los Alamos are Willie Zhao, Aaron Bao, Alex Wang, Alex Swart and team captain Kevin Gao, coached by Kathy Boerigter. Second and third place went to Albuquerque Academy and La Cueva High School, respectively.

Sandia chemical engineer Nancy Jackson

Space exploration, fusion energy, relevance of combustion engines and other topics will be presented by representatives from NNSA’s national labs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, Feb. 14-18 in Boston.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory representatives will highlight expertise in fusion energy and space exploration. Read about the presentations by LLNL’s Mike Dunne, Debbie Callahan and Elizabeth Cantwell.

Nils Hansen from Sandia National Laboratories will participate on a panel concerning transportation energy issues. Sandia’s Nancy Jackson will be honored with the 2013 Science Diplomacy Award. Jackson has worked in laboratories around the world to help ensure that chemicals are used safely and kept secure.

Dick Sayre from Los Alamos National Laboratory will discuss his work on optimizing biomass productivity from algae. Dave Clark, director of LANL’s National Security and Education Center, will be part of a panel to discuss new frontiers of the periodic table and state-of-the-art electronic structure theory.

For a complete listing of all presentations, see the 2013 AAAS annual meeting website.

About the photo:
Sandia chemical engineer Nancy Jackson will be honored at the AAAS annual meeting with the 2013 Science Diplomacy Award.

ARGUS ILawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories have contributed to a decade of revolutionary research that has helped create the first ever retinal prosthesis – or bionic eye. The artificial retina, dubbed the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for blind individuals with end-stage retinitis pigmentosa.

The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System proves to be an aid to those blinded by the disease retinitis pigmentosa, which can run in families and is estimated by the National Institutes of Health to affect about one in 4,000 people in the United States. Over the ten year lifetime of the project, the Department of Energy has provided $75.2 million for the development of technologies aimed at advancing artificial retinas like the Argus II.

See more.


The American Red Cross was at NNSA's Kansas City Plant yesterday to honor a special group of employees for saving a coworker's life with CPR. The employees were presented the highest American Red Cross award. The award, signed by President Obama, is only presented once or twice in the region each year. More than 300 KCP employees are trained in CPR and automated external defibrillator use.

About the photo:
KCP Electronics Equipment Technician George Hickman, center, was saved by a group of KCP employees who performed CPR on Hickman. The employees were honored by the American Red Cross yesterday.

Pantex Science Bowl - Dumas

More than 30 teams from various students from across the Texas Panhandle took part in the annual Science Bowl competition this weekend at West Texas A&M University hosted by Pantex.

The students had been preparing for months to compete in the competition, which challenges students to answer questions in math and science for prizes, prestige and the right to represent the area at the national competition in Washington, D.C. Part of the goal of the competition is to help foster enthusiasm for science and engineering in young students.

Dumas Junior High School (Black Team) took first place. Second place went to Canyon Junior High School and third place went to Panhandle Junior High School (Purple Team).

Pantex Science Bowl - CanyonPantex Science Bowl - Panhandle


The Meadows School from Las Vegas, Nev., won the Nevada High School Science Bowl last Friday, which was sponsored by the National Nuclear Security Administration, Nevada Field Office. The Meadows School competed against 32 other teams from across the state in one of the nation’s regional competitions of the 23rd Annual U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl. The team is now eligible to compete in the National Finals in Washington, D.C., at the end of April.

The National Science Bowl brings together thousands of middle and high school students from across the country to compete on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, astronomy and math. Over the next several months, more than 9,000 high school students and 5,000 middle school students will compete in 70 high school and 48 middle school regional Science Bowl tournaments.

DOE’s Office of Science manages the competition. See the National Science Bowl website.

About the photo:
Photo: (left to right) Darwin Morgan, NNSA NFO, Sunny Zhou, Audrey Chang, Michael Chen, Daniel Chen, Divya Ramakrishnan, David Santo Pietro, coach.

The Kansas City Plant officially began the move on Jan. 23 to the new National Security Campus. The new facility showcases innovation and cost savings, highlighted by environmentally friendly features and innovative space management.

Over the next 18 months, about 3,300 truckloads will transport some 2,800 pieces of equipment ranging from desk size to tractor trailer size. Estimates are that the entire move will use 30,000 crates – which if stacked would be more than five times the height of Mount Everest. Kansas City Field Office Manager Mark Holecek says the biggest challenges of the move are the sheer size and complexity of what is to be moved.

The on-time, on-budget project has boosted the local economy by generating more than 1,000 construction jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in needed economic development to the region, according to Holecek.

The new facility is certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold-rated green campus. It’s expected to save an estimated $100 million in operating costs from a combination of overhead reduction and sustainable strategies that cut energy consumption by more than 50 percent.

The phased-in approach has about 55 office personnel moving in January, joining skeletal shipping and maintenance staffs. Another 200 office employees will make the move next month, when the first of several manufacturing moving stages begin. By the time move-in is complete next year, 2,500 employees will relocate into five new buildings comprising 1.5-million-square-feet on the campus.

Dual operations will be under way at both facilities to ensure uninterrupted delivery of KCP’s mission critical components.

Sandia President and Laboratories Director Paul Hommert has been named 2013 Laboratory Director of the Year by the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for his support of technology transfer activities at Sandia.

The award recognized the work during 2012 by Hommert and the entire Sandia tech transfer program. The FLC also honored Sandia and UOP, a Honeywell company, with the 2013 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer for their work in bringing an innovative radioactive waste cleanup technology to the private sector.

Read more.

About the photo:
Sandia President and Laboratories Director Paul Hommert has promoted technology transfer through a variety of programs.


More than 30 teams of middle school students from across the area will converge on West Texas A&M University Saturday for a competition that will test their mental mettle.

The students, who hail from 15 schools across the Panhandle, have been preparing for months to compete in the Science Bowl competition, which challenges students to answer questions in math and science for prizes, prestige and the right to represent the area at the national competition in Washington, D.C.

Pantex has sponsored the bowl for more than 20 years in hopes of fostering a love of science and math in the youth of the Texas Panhandle.

About the photos:
Pantexans brush up on their skills in preparation for this weekend’s Pantex Middle School Science Bowl competition. More than 100 Pantex employees and community volunteers will run the competition Saturday, which will feature more than 30 teams from 15 schools across the Texas Panhandle. The high school competition will be held later this month.


Sandia National Laboratories employees and retirees in 2012 increased donations to the United Way of Central New Mexico by 17.1 percent over the previous year, giving $5,508,717 to the charitable organization. When it passed the $5 million mark, Sandia became the first company to donate that amount in a single campaign to United Way. Sandia’s employees in Livermore, Calif., added $236,227, making the total employee/retiree giving between both sites $5,744,944.

Read more.