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Story tips from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory — June 2010

SENSORS – Data a click away . . .

With a network of more than 5,000 sensors that monitor weather conditions, seismic activity, traffic, bacteria on beaches, water levels and much more, Sensorpedia is a significant resource that continues to expand. Sensorpedia, developed three years ago by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Bryan Gorman and David Resseguie, connects first responders, individuals and communities with online sensor data in the United States and beyond. “Sensorpedia combines the best of Facebook and YouTube and continues to expand and evolve to meet the demands and needs of users,” Resseguie said. Sneak peeks of Sensorpedia, which is in beta testing, are available at http://www.sensorpedia.com. Funding for Sensorpedia is provided by the Department of Homeland Security-sponsored Southeast Region Research Initiative. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; [email protected]]

MEDICINE – Eliminating guesswork . . .

Armed with neutron imaging, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Trent Nichols, a doctor of internal medicine who also holds a doctorate in physics, hopes to improve the odds for patients with cancer. The proposed work of a team that includes veterinarians and scientists from diverse disciplines could ultimately lead to less guesswork for surgeons and pathologists. “The prognosis and treatment plan after resection depends to a great extent on knowing whether the tumor is completely contained or extends beyond the block of resected tissue,” Nichols said. With the aid of a low-energy neutron imaging system and boronated tissue stains, the picture should become much clearer between normal and malignant cells. Funding for the initial work is being provided through ORNL’s seed money program. The team plans to submit a proposal to the National Institutes of Health for follow-on funding. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; [email protected]]

NANOSCIENCE – Highly sensitive arrays . . .

Researchers at George Washington University and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated that tailored silicon nanopost arrays can provide researchers with an important analytical tool for nanoscale applications. The arrays, fabricated at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, enable researchers to control ion production at the nanometer scale, resulting in high sensitivity and resolution for the analysis of organic molecules and biomolecules by laser desorption ionization mass spectrometry. The technology has potential applications for use with microfluidic, lab-on-a-chip devices and miniaturized mass spectrometers. [Contact: Bill Cabage (865) 574-4399; [email protected]]

COMPUTING – SciDAC 2010 . . .

Hundreds of computational scientists from around the world will gather in Chattanooga July 11-15 to participate in technical and scientific talks, poster sessions and discussions of recent advances. The event, SciDAC 2010, will also highlight successes of the Department of Energy’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing Program. Thomas Zacharia, deputy director for science and technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is the general chair for the event. The SciDAC program brings together computational scientists, applied mathematicians and computer scientists from universities and national laboratories across the United States. Areas of focus include understanding our universe on its largest and smallest scales, understanding Earth’s climate and ramifications of climate change, and developing new energy sources. For more information about the program, visit www.scidac.gov. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; [email protected]]

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