Saturday, July 4, 2015

PNNL Research Highlights

Fundamental and Computational Sciences Directorate
  1. OSU and PNNL Scientists Develop Improved Way to Assess Cancer Risk of Pollutants
    The following is taken from a news release issued by Oregon State University on May 11, 2015, written by Gail Wells, OSU
  2. Bill Morgan Interviewed in Nature Article on Radiation Risks
    Radiation biologist Dr. Bill Morgan, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, was interviewed by Nature magazine for an article on a recent international study on the risks of low dose radiation exposure. Morgan, an international expert on radiation effects, discussed the difficulty of communicating even miniscule health risks from low dose radiation exposure, such as that received from medical scans.
  3. No Catalyst Is an Island
    Results: Quickly, reliably turning wind energy into fuel means looking beyond the catalyst to its foundation, according to a recent study from the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis, headquartered at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Led by Dr. James Mayer from Yale University, the team discovered that the foundation or supporting film has as substantial an impact as the catalyst structure itself. The reason? The technique used to place the support changes the mesoscale environment, the atomic landscape that stretches for several millimeters around the iron catalyst.
  4. The Reality of Problem Solving
    Results: A notable error source in modeling physical systems is parametric uncertainty, where the values of model parameters that characterize the system are not known exactly due to limited data or incomplete knowledge. In this situation, a data assimilation algorithm can improve modeling accuracy by quantifying and reducing such uncertainty. However, these algorithms often require a large number of repetitive model evaluations that incur significant computational resource costs. In response to this issue, PNNL’s Dr. Weixuan Li and Professor Guang Lin from Purdue University have proposed an adaptive importance sampling algorithm that alleviates the burden caused by computationally demanding models. In three test cases, they demonstrated that the algorithm can effectively capture the complex posterior parametric uncertainties for the specific problems being examined while also enhancing computational efficiency.
  5. Johannes Lercher Honored by Chemical Institute of Canada
    Congratulations to Dr. Johannes Lercher, Director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Institute for Integrated Catalysis, on receiving the Robert B. Anderson Award from the Chemical Institute of Canada. As the recipient of this award, Lercher will share his insights on fundamental aspects of catalysis, focusing on the basic steps of catalytic reactions on oxides and zeolites, in a plenary lecture at the 24th Canadian Symposium on Catalysis. The catalysis targets the conversion of biomass to hydrocarbon fuels via low-temperature reactions. His examples and opinions come, in part, from the work he leads for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.
  6. Gu Honored with MSA Albert Crewe Award
    Microscopy Society of America has named Meng Gu, a former Pacific Northwest National Laboratory postdoctoral research associate, as the 2015 recipient of the Albert Crewe Award for his outstanding work on the discovery of nickel segregation in battery materials. 
  7. Johannes Lercher Delivers Hougen Lectureship
    Congratulations to Dr. Johannes Lercher, Director of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Institute for Integrated Catalysis, on being selected to give the Hougen Lectureship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The lectureship honors Professor Olaf A. Hougen, one of the founders of today's Chemical Engineering. Lercher shared his insights with the university's Chemistry and Chemical Engineering faculty on the elementary steps of catalyzed transformations of biomass to fuels. He also discussed strategies to tailor the chemical environment of catalytically active centers to enhance reaction rates selectively.
  8. Chuck Peden Honored for Vehicle Emission Control Catalysis Research
    Congratulations to Dr. Charles H.F. (Chuck) Peden at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of Energy's Vehicle Technologies Program, part of the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Peden is internationally recognized for his leadership in developing mechanisms of catalytic reactions that allow today's internal combustion engines to operate more efficiently and meet near-zero emissions levels for key pollutants. He is also well known for his work in establishing and building PNNL's Institute for Integrated Catalysis, the leading non-industrial U.S. research organization for catalysis research and development.
  9. Janet Jansson Featured in Quanta Magazine
    Dr. Janet Jansson, Director of Biological Sciences at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is featured in the June 16 issue of Quanta magazine in "Below Our Feet, a World of Hidden Life." Reporter Elizabeth Svoboda describes Jansson's research on microbes in soil and highlights from a scientific career that spans more than 30 years.
  10. Thom Dunning Elected New Member of International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science
    Battelle Fellow Dr. Thom Dunning, currently co-director of the Northwest Institute for Advanced Computing, a collaborative research center between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Washington, recently was elected as one of six new members to the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (IAQMS). The appointment was acknowledged as part of the IAQMS annual meeting held earlier this month in Beijing. Formal induction of the new members will be held next year in Menton, France, where IAQMS is headquartered.