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The Economic Case for Wind and Solar Energy in Africa

To meet skyrocketing demand for electricity, African countries may have to triple their energy output by 2030. While hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that wind and solar can be economically and environmentally competitive options and can contribute significantly to the rising demand.

Chemists ID Catalytic 'Key' for Converting CO2 to Methanol

Results from experiments and computational modeling studies that definitively identify the "active site" of a catalyst commonly used for making methanol from CO2 will guide the design of improved catalysts for transforming this pollutant to useful chemicals.

Cryo-Electron Microscopy Achieves Unprecedented Resolution Using New Computational Methods

Cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM)--which enables the visualization of viruses, proteins, and other biological structures at the molecular level--is a critical tool used to advance biochemical knowledge. Now Berkeley Lab researchers have extended cryo-EM's impact further by developing a new computational algorithm instrumental in constructing a 3-D atomic-scale model of bacteriophage P22 for the first time.

New Study Maps Space Dust in 3-D

A new Berkeley Lab-led study provides detailed 3-D views of space dust in the Milky Way, which could help us understand the properties of this dust and how it affects views of distant objects.

Single-Angle Ptychography Allows 3D Imaging of Stressed Materials

Scientists have used a new X-ray diffraction technique called Bragg single-angle ptychography to get a clear picture of how planes of atoms shift and squeeze under stress.

New Feedback System Could Allow Greater Control Over Fusion Plasma

A physicist has created a new system that will let scientists control the energy and rotation of plasma in real time in a doughnut-shaped machine known as a tokamak.

Towards Super-Efficient, Ultra-Thin Silicon Solar Cells

Researchers from Ames Laboratory used supercomputers at NERSC to evaluate a novel approach for creating more energy-efficient ultra-thin crystalline silicon solar cells by optimizing nanophotonic light trapping.

Study IDs Link Between Sugar Signaling and Regulation of Oil Production in Plants

UPTON, NY--Even plants have to live on an energy budget. While they're known for converting solar energy into chemical energy in the form of sugars, plants have sophisticated biochemical mechanisms for regulating how they spend that energy. Making oils costs a lot. By exploring the details of this delicate energy balance, a group of scientists from the U.

High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.


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.

Dan Sinars Represents Sandia in First Energy Leadership Class

Dan Sinars, a senior manager in Sandia National Laboratories' pulsed power center, which built and operates the Z facility, is the sole representative from a nuclear weapons lab in a new Department of Energy leadership program that recently visited Sandia.

ORNL, HTS International Corporation to Collaborate on Manufacturing Research

HTS International Corporation and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have signed an agreement to explore potential collaborations in advanced manufacturing research.

Jefferson Lab Director Honored with Energy Secretary Award

Hugh Montgomery, director of the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab), was awarded The Secretary's Distinguished Service Award by the Secretary of Energy earlier this year.

New Projects to Make Geothermal Energy More Economically Attractive

Geothermal energy, a clean, renewable source of energy produced by the heat of the earth, provides about 6 percent of California's total power. That number could be much higher if associated costs were lower. Now scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have launched two California Energy Commission-funded projects aimed at making geothermal energy more cost-effective to deploy and operate.

Southern Research Project Advances Novel CO2 Utilization Strategy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy has awarded Southern Research nearly $800,000 for a project that targets a more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method of producing some of the most important chemicals used in manufacturing.

Harker School Wins 2017 SLAC Regional Science Bowl Competition

After losing its first match of the day to the defending champions, The Harker School's team won 10 consecutive rounds to claim victory in the annual SLAC Regional DOE Science Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Francis Alexander Named Deputy Director of Brookhaven Lab's Computational Science Initiative

Alexander brings extensive management and leadership experience in computational science research to the position.

Kalinin, Paranthaman Elected Materials Research Society Fellows

Two researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sergei Kalinin and Mariappan Parans Paranthaman, have been elected fellows of the Materials Research Society.


High-Energy Electrons Probe Ultrafast Atomic Motion

A new technique synchronized high-energy electrons with an ultrafast laser pulse to probe how vibrational states of atoms change in time.

Rare Earth Recycling

A new energy-efficient separation of rare earth elements could provide a new domestic source of critical materials.

Modeling the "Flicker" of Gluons in Subatomic Smashups

A new model identifies a high degree of fluctuations in the glue-like particles that bind quarks within protons as essential to explaining proton structure.

Rare Nickel Atom Has "Doubly Magic" Structure

Supercomputing calculations confirm that rare nickel-78 has unusual structure, offering insights into supernovas.

Microbial Activity in the Subsurface Contributes to Greenhouse Gas Fluxes

Natural carbon dioxide production from deep subsurface soils contributes significantly to emissions, even in a semiarid floodplain.

Stretching a Metal Into an Insulator

Straining a thin film controllably allows tuning of the materials' magnetic, electronic, and catalytic properties, essential for new energy and electronic devices.

How Moisture Affects the Way Soil Microbes Breathe

Study models soil-pore features that hold or release carbon dioxide.

ARM Data Is for the Birds

Scientists use LIDAR and radar data to study bird migration patterns, thanks to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility.

The Future of Coastal Flooding

Better storm surge prediction capabilities could help reduce the impacts of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes.

Estimating Global Energy Use for Water-Related Processes

Scientists find that water-related energy consumption is increasing across the globe, with pronounced differences across regions and sectors.


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Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

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High-Precision Calculations on Supercomputers Help Reveal the Physics of the Universe

Article ID: 670928

Released: 2017-03-09 11:05:22

Source Newsroom: Argonne National Laboratory

  • Credit: Taylor Childers

    With the theoretical framework developed at Argonne, researchers can more precisely predict particle interactions such as this simulation of a vector boson plus jet event.

On their quest to uncover what the universe is made of, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are harnessing the power of supercomputers to make predictions about particle interactions that are more precise than ever before.

Argonne researchers have developed a new theoretical approach, ideally suited for high-performance computing systems, that is capable of making predictive calculations about particle interactions that conform almost exactly to experimental data. This new approach could give scientists a valuable tool for describing new physics and particles beyond those currently identified.

The framework makes predictions based on the Standard Model, the theory that describes the physics of the universe to the best of our knowledge. Researchers are now able to compare experimental data with predictions generated through this framework, to potentially uncover discrepancies that could indicate the existence of new physics beyond the Standard Model. Such a discovery would revolutionize our understanding of nature at the smallest measurable length scales.

“So far, the Standard Model of particle physics has been very successful in describing the particle interactions we have seen experimentally, but we know that there are things that this model doesn’t describe completely. We don’t know the full theory,” said Argonne theorist Radja Boughezal, who developed the framework with her team.

“The first step in discovering the full theory and new models involves looking for deviations with respect to the physics we know right now. Our hope is that there is deviation, because it would mean that there is something that we don’t understand out there,” she said.

The theoretical method developed by the Argonne team is currently being deployed on Mira, one of the fastest supercomputers in the world, which is housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

Using Mira, researchers are applying the new framework to analyze the production of missing energy in association with a jet, a particle interaction of particular interest to researchers at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland.

Physicists at the LHC are attempting to produce new particles that are known to exist in the universe but have yet to be seen in the laboratory, such as the dark matter that comprises a quarter of the mass and energy of the universe.

Although scientists have no way today of observing dark matter directly — hence its name — they believe that dark matter could leave a “missing energy footprint” in the wake of a collision that could indicate the presence of new particles not included in the Standard Model. These particles would interact very weakly and therefore escape detection at the LHC. The presence of a “jet”, a spray of Standard Model particles arising from the break-up of the protons colliding at the LHC, would tag the presence of the otherwise invisible dark matter.

In the LHC detectors, however, the production of a particular kind of interaction — called the Z-boson plus jet process — can mimic the same signature as the potential signal that would arise from as-yet-unknown dark matter particles. Boughezal and her colleagues are using their new framework to help LHC physicists distinguish between the Z-boson plus jet signature predicted in the Standard Model from other potential signals.

Previous attempts using less precise calculations to distinguish the two processes had so much uncertainty that they were simply not useful for being able to draw the fine mathematical distinctions that could potentially identify a new dark matter signal.

“It is only by calculating the Z-boson plus jet process very precisely that we can determine whether the signature is indeed what the Standard Model predicts, or whether the data indicates the presence of something new,” said Frank Petriello, another Argonne theorist who helped develop the framework. “This new framework opens the door to using Z-boson plus jet production as a tool to discover new particles beyond the Standard Model.”

Applications for this method go well beyond studies of the Z-boson plus jet. The framework will impact not only research at the LHC, but also studies at future colliders which will have increasingly precise, high-quality data, Boughezal and Petriello said.

“These experiments have gotten so precise, and experimentalists are now able to measure things so well, that it’s become necessary to have these types of high-precision tools in order to understand what’s going on in these collisions,” Boughezal said.

“We’re also so lucky to have supercomputers like Mira because now is the moment when we need these powerful machines to achieve the level of precision we’re looking for; without them, this work would not be possible.”

Funding and resources for this work was previously allocated through the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility’s (ALCF’s) Director’s Discretionary program; the ALCF is supported by the DOE’s Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research program. Support for this work will continue through allocations coming from the Innovation and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program.

The INCITE program promotes transformational advances in science and technology through large allocations of time on state-of-the-art supercomputers.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's 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, visit the Office of Science website.