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  Contact: Linda Lucchetti
  Phone: (925) 422-5815
  E-mail: lucchetti1@llnl.gov
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2007
NR-07-02-05
Science on Saturday Logo

Lab’s ‘Science on Saturday’
lecture series returns

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) popular lecture series, “Science on Saturday,” returns March 3 and runs through March 31. This year’s talks explore a range of fascinating topics – star power, comets, carbon dating, the energy crisis, and hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

Each presentation in the series is the collaboration of a Lab scientist and a science teacher and aligned with the California Science Standards. The lectures are sponsored by LLNL’s Science and Technology Education Program.

A National Ignition Facility Hohlraum
A tiny gold-plated cylinder called a hohlraum holds the deuterium-tritium fuel capsule in the National Ignition Facility target chamber, where the energy from 192 high-powered lasers is converted to thermal X-rays. The X-rays heat and ablate the plastic surface of the ignition capsule, causing a rocket-like pressure on the capsule and forcing it to implode and ignite.

Kicking off the Tri-Valley series on March 3 is “The National Ignition Facility: Making Star Power on Earth,” presented by Ed Moses, Richard Sawicki and Chris Ebbers of LLNL and Dan Burns, a teacher at Los Gatos High School.

This lecture explores how a sphere much smaller than a pea can release enough energy to supply all of the electricity needs of the United States for a brief moment in time, and explains how at LLNL’s National Ignition Facility, a 192-beam laser, scientists and engineers are nearly ready to make this a reality. The first 500 students attending the presentation will receive a special “Science on Saturday” teaching tool.

The series of five free lectures and demonstrations is targeted at middle and high school students. Topics are selected from the forefront of science and technology research in a variety of disciplines. In addition to the March 3 lecture, the following talks are offered:

  • March 10 – “Comets and the Stardust Mission: What’s in Our Solar System’s Freezer?” Hope Ishii of LLNL and Tom Shefler, teacher, Granada High School.
  • March 17 – “Accelerator Mass Spectrometry: How AMS Works in Biology and Health Care,” Bruce Buchholz and Ken Turteltaub of LLNL, and Bret States, teacher, Tracy High School.
  • March 24 – “Energy Crisis: Will Technology Save Us?” John Ziagos, LLNL, and Dean Reese, teacher, Tracy High School.
  • March 31 – “Driving a Rocket Fueled Car: 500 Miles at 400 Degrees Below Zero,” Gene Berry of LLNL and Ken Wendel, teacher, Tracy High School.

All lectures are open to the public and held at the Amador Theater, 1155 Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton. Two presentations will be offered on each Saturday – at 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and there is no pre-registration. Admission is free of charge.

Lectures are videotaped and can be viewed on UCTV; click here for a schedule. Teachers attending the presentations will receive a copy of the PowerPoint slides used in the lecture, and a DVD with the movie from the talk.

For more information about Science on Saturday, directions and a map, click here or contact Richard Farnsworth at (925) 422-5059.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has a mission to ensure national security and to apply science and technology to the important issues of our time. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.



Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory that develops science and engineering technology and provides innovative solutions to our nation's most important challenges. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.