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Island Paradise Regained
Understanding Cells in a New
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in the News
of Biophotonics founded
Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory and the University of California at Davis (UC Davis)
have announced the founding of the Center of Biophotonics. This
new research center at UC Davis will use light at a variety of wavelengths
and intensities to study difficult biological phenomena such as
how DNA is created and repaired and how molecules move in cells.
The goal is to apply the centers discoveries to practical
ends such as fighting disease and bioterrorism.
Livermore and UC Davis collaborators
introduced the center by showing off a portable pathogen detector.
This instrument analyzes a small blood or breath sample with light
to quickly determine if someone has been exposed to a pathogen in
a bioterrorist attack or to a new infectious disease.
Our hope is to bring
the Star Trek fantasy of quickly detecting and curing
disease closer to reality, says Livermores Dennis Matthews,
who will head the new center. Thats a futuristic, science-fiction
version of basically being able to noninvasively detect disease
and, if possible, turn around and do something about it.
The center is funded by a
$52-million, 10-year grant from the National Science Foundation.
It is one of six new science and technology centers funded in 2002
and collaborates on research and education with a dozen other universities
and research centers, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory,
UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, Stanford University, and Mills College
in Oakland, California.
Developments in nanotechnology
and a better understanding of how to use lasers make this an opportune
time to bring together researchers to explore the medical and biological
uses of light. According to Matthews, the center will focus, for
example, on understanding how molecules move inside cells; simulating
how light and matter interact; creating machines to detect disease
pathogens, especially those that bioterrorists are likely to use;
and developing ways to treat diseases with light.
Contact: Dennis Matthews (925) 422-5360 (email@example.com).
partner on sixth R&D 100 win
In addition to the five R&D
100 Awards that the Laboratory won in 2002 as the primary submitter
(see S&TR, October
2002), Livermore won another of these prestigious awards as
part of a four-institution team led by the National Center for Supercomputing
Applications at the University of Illinois (UrbanaChampaign).
The winning invention is the Hierarchical Data Format 5 (HDF5),
a file format and software library for storing, managing, and archiving
large and complex sets of scientific or engineering data.
HDF5 technology handles any
type of data suitable for digital storage, no matter its origin
or size. The technology is a fast, portable input/output library
that can store trillions of bytes of computational modeling data
or millions of bytes of high-resolution electronic images. With
the help of lower-level libraries, HDF5 enables hundreds or thousands
of processors to operate in parallel and simultaneously write information
to a single file.
HDF5 overcomes the limitations
of rigid data models for storing and managing most current file
formats and is expected to be compatible with future developments
in computing and data storage.
Livermore researchers who
assisted in developing HDF5 are Robb Matzke, Linnea Cook, Mark Miller,
and Kim Yates. A research highlight on HDF5 is scheduled for S&TR
Contact: Linnea Cook (925) 422-1686 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
stardust could tell us
At this moment, the National
Aeronautics and Space Administrations (NASAs) Stardust
space bus is on its way to Wild 2, a comet orbiting the Sun. The
space buss mission is to collect stardust, remnants of stars
that may be able to tell the story of our solar systems beginnings
and possibly the origins of life.
When the Stardust space bus
returns to Earth in February 2006, Livermore astrophysicists will
play a key role in examining the collected stardust with a new $5-million
electron microscope being acquired with NASA funding by the Laboratorys
Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics (IGPP), which is
part of the international consortium involved in the Stardust mission.
John Bradley, IGPP director
and a major participant in Stardust, says that one of the big questions
Livermore scientists want to answer is whether the stardust from
Wild 2 has the same makeup as stardust gathered from the stratosphere.
And, says Bradley, We will have a dedicated microscope specifically
to examine these particles.
Launched in February 1999,
Stardust is the first NASA space mission dedicated solely to collecting
comet dust and will be the first to return material from a comet
Wild 2 is 4 kilometers in
diameter and has an elliptical orbit around the Sun between the
orbits of Jupiter and Earth. In January 2004, when its orbit will
bring Wild 2 closest to the Sun, samples of stardust will be collected
in a low-density aerogel stored in panels on the NASA space bus.
Interstellar stardust will also be collected. In all, researchers
hope to gather a thousand particles weighing a total of less than
a microgram. After these particles return to Earth, they will be
distributed among the international astrophysics researchers for
Contact: John Bradley (925) 423-0666 (email@example.com).
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January 23, 2003