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January/February 2003

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
Glenn Mara

A Question of Quarks

Island Paradise Regained

Understanding Cells in a New Way with Three-Dimensional Models

Patents

Awards

 

January/February 2003 S&TR

January/February
2003

The Laboratory in the News

Translating Vision into Reality
Commentary by Glenn Mara

A Question of Quarks
Scientists may have created a quark–gluon plasma, a form of matter never before seen on Earth.

Island Paradise Regained
Forty-five years after atmospheric nuclear testing ceased, Livermore’s environmental scientists continue to develop ways of assessing and limiting radiation exposure associated with resettlement efforts in the Marshall Islands.

Understanding Cells in a New Way with Three-Dimensional Models
Researchers are taking a first step toward a comprehensive, three-dimensional model of a living cell by simulating calcium ions moving within and between epithelial cells.

Patents and Awards

 

 


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  • A Question of Quarks
  • (pdf file, 1.5MB)
    To learn more about our early universe, scientists are trying to create a state of matter that hasn’t existed since the first moments after the big bang. Physicists from Livermore and dozens of other institutions around the world are using the Relativistic Heavy-Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory to generate this primordial matter, a quark–gluon plasma. Inside the collider, gold nuclei travel at almost the speed of light. When the nuclei collide, they generate huge amounts of energy and millions of new particles. Measurements from the Pioneering High-Energy Nuclear Interaction Experiment (PHENIX) detector, which Livermore helped to design, are analyzed to determine whether the colliding ions actually created a quark–gluon plasma. Results to date are inconclusive. One set of data based on the volume of the collision zone (or source) indicates that little or no plasma was created, while a relatively low number of high-momentum particles indicates the presence of a plasma. To supply what they hope will be more conclusive data, the Livermore team is adding another detector to PHENIX that can analyze collisions between protons and nuclei.

  • Island Paradise Regained
  • (pdf file, 1.5MB)
    Forty-five years after the cessation of aboveground nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, Livermore’s scientists continue to provide environmental measurement data and dose assessments to Marshallese who wish to resettle their native islands. For more than 25 years, Livermore scientists have conducted a sampling program to evaluate the various exposure pathways for radiological dose. Results indicate that ingestion is the most significant exposure pathway, mostly through uptake of cesium-137 into island-grown foods. To help reduce the dose to returning residents, Livermore developed a two-pronged remediation technique that reduces uptake of cesium-137 into locally grown foods and external radiation exposure to cesium-137. Individual radiation protection programs have been developed that use whole-body counting systems and plutonium urinalysis to assess the intake of radionuclides from residual fallout contamination. Whole-body counting facilities, operated and maintained by Marshallese technicians trained at Livermore, directly measure cesium-137 level in an individual’s body. Livermore also developed a measurement technology based on accelerator mass spectrometry that is about 100 times more sensitive in detecting the amount of plutonium in human urine than other techniques.

  • Undestanding Cells in a New Way with Three-Dimesional Models
  • (pdf file, 1MB)
    Researchers are taking a first step toward a comprehensive, three-dimensional model of a living cell by simulating calcium ions moving within and between epithelial cells.



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    UCRL-52000-03-1/2 | January 23, 2003