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Machine Learning Dramatically Streamlines Search for More Efficient Chemical Reactions

A catalytic reaction may follow thousands of possible paths, and it can take years to identify which one it actually takes so scientists can tweak it and make it more efficient. Now researchers at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have taken a big step toward cutting through this thicket of possibilities.

Freezing Lithium Batteries May Make Them Safer and Bendable

Columbia Engineering Professor Yuan Yang has developed a new method that could lead to lithium batteries that are safer, have longer battery life, and are bendable, providing new possibilities such as flexible smartphones. His new technique uses ice-templating to control the structure of the solid electrolyte for lithium batteries that are used in portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid-level energy storage. The study is published online April 24 in Nano Letters.

New Study Reveals the Mystery Behind the Formation of Hollowed Nanoparticles During Metal Oxidation

In a newly published <i>Science</i> paper, Argonne and Temple University researchers reveal new knowledge about the behavior of metal nanoparticles when they undergo oxidation, by integrating X-ray imaging and computer modeling and simulation. This knowledge adds to our understanding of fundamental processes like oxidation and corrosion.

Rare Supernova Discovery Ushers in New Era for Cosmology

With help from a supernova-hunting pipeline based at NERSC, astronomers captured multiple images of a gravitationally lensed Type 1a supernova. This is currently the only one, but if astronomers can find more they may be able to measure Universal expansion within four percent accuracy. Luckily, Berkeley Lab researchers do have a method for finding more.

Making Batteries From Waste Glass Bottles

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The batteries will extend the range of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and provide more power with fewer charges to personal electronics like cell phones and laptops.

Changing the Game

High performance computing researcher Shuaiwen Leon Song asked if hardware called 3D stacked memory could do something it was never designed to do--help render 3D graphics.

A Scientific Advance for Cool Clothing: Temperature-Wise, That Is

Stanford University researchers, with the aid of the Comet supercomputer at the San Diego Supercomputer at UC San Diego, have engineered a low-cost plastic material that could become the basis for clothing that cools the wearer, reducing the need for energy-consuming air conditioning.

Adjusting Solar Panel Angles a Few Times a Year Makes Them More Efficient

With Earth Day approaching, new research from Binghamton University-State of New York could help U.S. residents save more energy, regardless of location, if they adjust the angles of solar panels four to five times a year.

A Real CAM-Do Attitude

A multi-institutional team used resources at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility to catalog how desert plants photosynthetic processes vary. The study could help scientists engineer drought-resistant crops for food and fuel.

Predictive Power

The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors carried out the largest time-dependent simulation of a nuclear reactor ever to support Tennessee Valley Authority and Westinghouse Electric Company during the startup of Watts Bar Unit 2, the first new US nuclear reactor in 20 years. The simulation was carried out primarily on OLCF resources.


3 Small Energy Firms to Collaborate with PNNL

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is collaborating with three small businesses to address technical challenges concerning hydrogen for fuel cell cars, bio-coal and nanomaterial manufacturing.

ORNL to Collaborate with Five Small Businesses to Advance Energy Tech

Five small companies have been selected to partner with the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory to move technologies in commercial refrigeration systems, water power generation, bioenergy and battery manufacturing closer to the marketplace.

U.S. Department of Energy's INCITE Program Seeks Advanced Computational Research Proposals for 2018

The Department of Energy's INCITE program will be accepting proposals for high-impact, computationally intensive research campaigns in a broad array of science, engineering, and computer science domains.

New Berkeley Lab Project Turns Waste Heat to Electricity

A new Berkeley Lab project seeks to efficiently capture waste heat and convert it to electricity, potentially saving California up to $385 million per year. With a $2-million grant from the California Energy Commission, Berkeley Lab scientists will work with Alphabet Energy to create a cost-effective thermoelectric waste heat recovery system.

New SLAC Theory Institute Aims to Speed Research on Exotic Materials at Light Sources

A new institute at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is using the power of theory to search for new types of materials that could revolutionize society - by making it possible, for instance, to transmit electricity over power lines with no loss.

Lenvio Inc. Exclusively Licenses ORNL Malware Behavior Detection Technology

Virginia-based Lenvio Inc. has exclusively licensed a cyber security technology from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory that can quickly detect malicious behavior in software not previously identified as a threat.

Argonne Scientist and Nobel Laureate Alexei Abrikosov Dies at 88

Alexei Abrikosov, an acclaimed physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory who received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on superconducting materials, died Wednesday, March 29. He was 88.

Jefferson Lab Accomplishes Critical Milestones Toward Completion of 12 GeV Upgrade

The Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has achieved two major commissioning milestones and is now entering the final stretch of work to conclude its first major upgrade. Recently, the CEBAF accelerator delivered electron beams into two of its experimental halls, Halls B and C, at energies not possible before the upgrade for commissioning of the experimental equipment currently in each hall. Data were recorded in each hall, which were then confirmed to be of sufficient quality to allow for particle identification, a primary indicator of good detector operation.

Valerie Taylor Named Argonne National Laboratory's Mathematics and Computer Science Division Director

Computer scientist Valerie Taylor has been appointed as the next director of the Mathematics and Computer Science division at Argonne, effective July 3, 2017.

Three SLAC Employees Awarded Lab's Highest Honor

At a March 7 ceremony, three employees of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory were awarded the lab's highest honor ­- the SLAC Director's Award.


The Roadmap to Quark Soup

Scientists discover new signposts in the quest to determine how matter from the early universe turned into the world we know today.

Neutrons Play the Lead to Protons in Dance Around "Double-Magic" Nucleus

Electric and magnetic properties of a radioactive atom provide unique insight into the nature of proton and neutron motion.

Ultrafast Imaging Reveals the Electron's New Clothes

Scientists use high-speed electrons to visualize "dress-like" distortions in the atomic lattice. This work reveals the vital role of electron-lattice interactions in manganites. This material could be used in data-storage devices with increased data density and reduced power requirements.

One Small Change Makes Solar Cells More Efficient

For years, scientists have explored using tiny drops of designer materials, called quantum dots, to make better solar cells. Adding small amounts of manganese decreases the ability of quantum dots to absorb light but increases the current produced by an average of 300%.

Electronic "Cyclones" at the Nanoscale

Through highly controlled synthesis, scientists controlled competing atomic forces to let spiral electronic structures form. These polar vortices can serve as a precursor to new phenomena in materials. The materials could be vital for ultra-low energy electronic devices.

In a Flash! A New Way for Making Ceramics

A new process controllably but instantly consolidates ceramic parts, potentially important for manufacturing.

Deciphering Material Properties at the Single-Atom Level

Scientists determine the precise location and identity of all 23,000 atoms in a nanoparticle.

Smallest Transistor Ever

It has long been thought that building nanometer-sized transistors was impossible. Simply put, the physics and atomic structural imperfections couldn't be overcome. However, scientists built fully functional, nanometer-sized transistors.

Creation of Artificial Atoms

For the first time, scientists created a tunable artificial atom in graphene. The results from this research demonstrate a viable, controllable, and reversible technique to confine electrons in graphene.

Developing Tools to Understand Lithium-Ion Battery Instabilities

Scientists develop tools to understand Li-ion battery instabilities, enabling the study of electrodes and solid-electrolyte interphase formation.


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Meet Robert Palomino: 'Give Everything a Shot!'

Article ID: 641723

Released: 2015-10-20 12:05:00

Source Newsroom: Brookhaven National Laboratory

  • Credit: Brookhaven National Lab

    Robert Palomino

After earning his master’s and Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Stony Brook University, Robert Palomino is now one of Brookhaven Lab’s new postdocs in the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate–Transformation (AGEP-T) program, working at the Lab’s new National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) to study the structure and other properties of catalysts. He joined Brookhaven in August and will spend the next two years working under the supervision of Jose Rodriguez in the Chemistry Department.

But when Palomino was in high school in Rockville Centre, chemistry was his least favorite subject. His goal in life was to help people, and he thought he might accomplish that by becoming a doctor. As a pre-med college student at St. John’s University, he started as a biology major and volunteered at a hospital to get practical experience.

“It didn’t feel challenging enough, to be honest,” he said. “There was a lot of memorization -- easy but monotonous. But when I started taking chemistry courses, they challenged me. I had to study hard and it was something interesting to keep me engaged, so while I was still in pre-med, I switched my major to chemistry and found it’s what I wanted to do.”

He got all the way up to taking the medical college admission test before his first research experience made him question his choice of a medical career.

“I didn’t have enough experience just volunteering at the hospital to see if that’s what I really want to do for the rest of my life, “ he said. “And after being introduced to research, I realized that was what I enjoyed doing more.”

Palomino was bitten by the research bug when he participated in a summer program at Georgetown University.

“It was a research experience for undergraduates—and it gave me the experience of trying to do things and having them not work,” he laughed.

“I was working on copper-based catalysts that synthesize cyclopropane. The research on the catalyst I helped to synthesize was later published, resulting in the first paper on which I was an author. Experiencing 'new' research was what really made me want to switch to a career in research instead of the medical field.

“It’s funny that chemistry is what I picked,” he added. “I hated physics when I was an undergrad and physical chemistry is what I ended up doing in graduate school.”

As a graduate student, Palomino received a National Science Foundation fellowship with the assistance of a writing workshop offered by the AGEP-T program. After that fellowship was over, his Stony Brook advisor connected him with Terrence Buck in Brookhaven Lab’s Human Resources Department. Buck, who also works closely with the Educational Programs Office, arranged for his postdoc position under Rodriguez, who Palomino already knew from previous grad school collaborations.

“I thought this was a great fit, both for Robert and for Brookhaven,” Buck said. “My passion is to recruit and retain the top talent in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, and Robert is a top talent. In the AGEP – T FRAME program he will have the opportunity to work for at least two years as a Research Associate here at Brookhaven and give himself even more career options. I am very proud to have Robert in the program.”

“What I did before was like structural analysis, using the light produced by a synchrotron to illuminate the atomic structure of catalysts while they’re undergoing a reaction,” Palomino said. “My advisor and I figured out what catalysts and reaction conditions we were going to study, and as I progressed, I came up with more intricate details. If we needed to change the catalyst in any way, I worked out ways to do that. We started by talking about it and then I tried things and showed him the results. As I got more independent, there were a lot of frustrating times -- something like 70 to 80 percent of what you try doesn’t work. So it makes the satisfaction with the 20 to 30 percent that does work even greater.

“That work is similar to what I’m doing now, but now I’m going to be working at the NSLS-II. Before, I would travel around to the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, the Advanced Photon Source, and the original NSLS to get more beam time. “

“We were very happy when Robert decided to join our research group,” said Rodriguez. “In his current project, Robert brings a very good knowledge of the chemistry of catalysis and how synchrotron-based techniques for catalyst

characterization work.”

Palomino was married during graduate school and has a 9-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. He and his family live in Middle Island. While working as a postdoc, he is still weighing his career options.

“Initially I wanted to go into industry because I didn’t really like the idea of teaching too much,” he said. “But at a government lab, I have a lot more freedom than I would in industry. You can research what you want to research as long as you make a strong case for funding it. What I really want to do is continue to do synchrotron studies, and learn the different techniques.

“I guess what I learned is to give everything a shot, since everything that I didn’t really want to do ended up being what I had an affinity for,” he said. “I’m open to things a lot more now, so even though I didn’t really want to teach, given my track record I’m still open to it.”

NSLS-II is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit www.science.energy.gov.