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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.

Advantage: Water

When water comes in for a landing on the common catalyst titanium oxide, it splits into hydroxyls just under half the time. Water's oxygen and hydrogen atoms shift back and forth between existing as water or hydroxyls, and water has the slightest advantage, like the score in a highly competitive tennis game.

Self-Assembling Polymers Provide Thin Nanowire Template

In a recent study, a team of researchers from Argonne, the University of Chicago and MIT has developed a new way to create some of the world's thinnest wires, using a process that could enable mass manufacturing with standard types of equipment.

Did You Catch That? Robot's Speed of Light Communication Could Protect You From Danger

If you were monitoring a security camera and saw someone set down a backpack and walk away, you might pay special attention - especially if you had been alerted to watch that particular person. According to Cornell University researchers, this might be a job robots could do better than humans, by communicating at the speed of light and sharing images.


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.

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.


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.

Skyrmions Created with a Special Spiral

Researchers at Argonne have found a way to control the creation of special textured surfaces, called skyrmions, in magnetically ordered materials.

Coming Together, Falling Apart, and Starting Over, Battery Style

Scientists built a new device that shows what happens when electrode, electrolyte, and active materials meet in energy storage technologies.


Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

Department of Energy, Office of Science

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Argonne National Laboratory

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

Brookhaven National Laboratory

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Internship Program Helps Foster Development of Future Nuclear Scientists

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More Than 12,000 Explore Jefferson Lab During April 30 Open House

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University of Utah Makes Solar Accessible

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Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

Article ID: 672640

Released: 2017-04-07 10:05:43

Source Newsroom: Department of Energy, Office of Science

  • Credit: Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

    The Van Nuys High School team that won the 1995 NSB championship: L-R: Coach Art Altschiller, Do Joon Ra, Michael Mazur, Jonathan Kirzner, Michael Chu, and Scott Schneider.

  • Credit: Photo courtesy of Jonathan Kirzner

    Jonathan Kirzner, shown here with his family, is a molecular cell biologist in Los Angeles.

  • Credit: Photo courtesy of Jonathan Kirzner and the LA Dept. of Water and Power

    Jonathan Kirzner, a member of the 1995 Van Nuys High School team that won the National Science Bowl, is profiled

Haiku, hard hats, foam pool noodles, and a four-foot tall trophy, disassembled.

Obviously a group of teenagers were up to something.

Jonathan Kirzner was one of those teenagers, a group of five students representing Van Nuys High School in the 1995 National Science Bowl®. “It was an exciting and emotional experience I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life,” says Kirzner.

He revels in the title “nerd” and loves reminiscing about his friends and their science bowl adventures. “We were a bunch of friends - who tried out for the school’s National Science Bowl® competition. We stuck together and we succeeded,” he recalls. 

They divided up the subject areas for study. Scott Schneider, the team captain, was good in physics, computer science, and math. “He and I are still best friends to this date; Scott was one of my groomsmen at my wedding,” says Kirzner.  Michael Mazur also specialized in physics and enjoyed the pressure of competition.  Do Joon Ra tackled astronomy on his own by reading library books. Michael Chu made a computer program on the school computer network so that they could practice buzzing in.  “So during the competition, once we had enough information, we would buzz in to the questions before they were finished being read.  This secured our chance to get the points and intimidated our opponents.”

Kirzner focused on biology and earth science for the competition.  “I took a college life science textbook and an earth science text book. I studied every day and learned the entire contents - front cover to back.  As practice, I would have people turn to any page in the book and ask me a question on the subject matter.”

After they won their regional competition, the team and coach Art Altshiller headed to Washington, D.C. for the national show-down.

They studied and quizzed each other on the flight. ”We wanted to get as much last-minute studying done as possible.”

Their dedication paid off; the Van Nuys High School team won the 1995 National Science Bowl® championship. 

After the competition, Kirzner and friends met the Secretary of Energy, Hazel O’Leary. Kirzner also had an accomplished seat mate at the awards banquet. “I asked the guy next to me who he was. I had no idea,” recalls Kirzner, “and he said ‘I am Leon Lederman, the head of Fermilab (and Nobel Prize winner in Physics 1988)’ I felt foolish but it was funny.”

About that disassembled trophy… “After Nationals, we had to get our trophy back home to LA. It was huge. We disassembled it to put it in the overhead compartment of the plane.” Upon landing in Los Angeles, the team saw that busloads of their fellow students, the principal, cheerleaders, and their high school marching band were there to greet them. Television and newspaper reporters were also waiting for them.

So they quickly re-assembled the trophy, carried it off the plane, and celebrated with the crowd in the terminal as the band played the school fight song. “They [the media] stuck a microphone in my face and asked, ‘How does it feel?’ I said ‘It feels great!’ We were on the news and in the newspaper.”  

And the hard hats? The haiku and pool noodles? The team’s sponsor, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, had given the team a tour of the department facilities and gave them hard hats with the LADWP logo. Kirzner’s team made good use of those hats. They created a skit for one of the science bowl activities in D.C.

“We incorporated those hard hats into our Science Bowl talent show. We donned our hard hats, along with the pool noodles, recited original haiku, and performed interpretative dances to re-enact seminal experiments in the history of science.” For example, Rutherford’s famous gold-foil experiment was performed as one student rushing at and bouncing off a line of fellow students.

Looking back at his NSB experience, Kirzner says, “It gave me confidence.”

“Every step was amazing: preparing and studying, competing, winning and celebrating our victory. Hitting the buzzer and answering correctly was a dopamine rush to the brain. The results convinced me I could pursue a career in biology.”

Kirzner studied microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, continued at California State University Northridge, earning his M.S. in biology and becoming a molecular cell biologist.

His advice to students today: “I would tell them that science is fun and that even if you don’t win, it is still exciting to put some extra time in to study.  Not everyone can win. It is fun to study with a team that really supports the other members. Your teammates are counting on you and striving after the same goal. There are a lot of friendships that begin in Science Bowl because it is a team sport.”

 

Please go to Historical Information – National Finals – Profiles of Past Competitors to read more student stories about their NSB experiences.

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 https://science.energy.gov.

Sandra Allen McLean is a Communications Specialist in the Office of Science, sandra.mclean@science.doe.gov