Argonne National Laboratory

Feature Stories

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How Things Break (And Why Scientists Want to Know)

Breaking things can help scientists answer both the most elemental and the most everyday questions.

March 28, 2016
Sibendu Som (left) and computational scientist Raymond Bair discuss combustion engine simulations conducted on Argonne’s Mira supercomputer, with the aim of gaining further insight into the inner workings of combustion engines. (Click image to view larger.)
The complex chemistry of combustion

Your car is powered by a series of tiny explosions. Scientists think they could make them cleaner and more efficient.

March 7, 2016
Cyber security expert Mike Skwarek shares tips on security in the digital age. Click image to view larger or download for educational purposes.
Top 9 tips on how to prevent cyber “break-ins”

Cyber security expert Mike Skwarek shares tips on security in the digital age.

March 7, 2016
"We’re spending a lot of power to reduce the frequency of error. What if you built a system that makes mistakes much more frequently but uses much less energy?" - Marc Snir, director of Argonne's mathematics & computer science division
Crowdsource: How do we make computers faster?

Five Argonne scientists with very different specialties answer the same question: "How do we make computers faster?"

March 7, 2016
What might precipitation over the United States look like in 2094? Two Argonne researchers ran the highest-resolution climate forecast ever done for North America — dividing the continent into squares 12 km at a side. These two sample maps show different scenarios to project how much more (green) or less (brown) it would rain in a ten-year period at the end of the century versus how much it rained in 1995-2004. (Crosshatching indicates statistically significant changes).
(Rain)cloud computing: Researchers work to improve how we predict climate change

Two Argonne scientists work on simulations that project what the climate will look like 100 years from now. Last year, they completed the highest resolution climate forecast ever done for North America, dividing the continent into squares just over seven miles on a side — far more detailed than the standard 30 to 60 miles.

March 3, 2016
A switchgrass plot grown as part of an Argonne National Laboratory-led study to test how genetic variation within the switchgrass species affects growth. Researchers found that mixing genetic varieties from different geographical regions promotes overall crop growth.
A new recipe for biofuel: Genetic diversity can lead to more productive growth in switchgrass crops

A team of national laboratory and university researchers led by Argonne is growing large test plots of switchgrass with the farmer in mind. They mixed different genetic varieties of switchgrass on production-size plots; the seven-year study showed the variety mixture was the highest yielding crop, as measured by the harvested dry weight from each plot.

February 23, 2016
A student from from Chicago's Laura S. Ward STEM School learning to use computational thinking
Inspiring the next generation of computational thinkers

Argonne hosted a My Brother’s Keeper Event for City of Chicago Students.

January 13, 2016
Researchers used intense X-rays at the Advanced Photon Source to study how the bombardier beetle sprays hot, caustic chemicals when threatened. Top: The bombardier beetle can aim its noxious spray from two separate rear glands. Bottom: This colored scanning electron microscope image shows the structure of the two glands. To protect the beetle’s insides, the chambers holding the chemicals are lined with a thick layer of protective cuticle, shown in brown. Areas with less cuticle—and more flexibility—are shown in blue. The white arrow identifies the reaction chamber; the purple arrow shows the junction between the reaction chamber and the exit channel; and the yellow arrow points out the exit channel dorsal membrane. (Click to view larger.)
10 cool science and technology stories from Argonne in 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, we’re looking back at some of the coolest stories that came out of research conducted by Argonne scientists and engineers this year.

December 23, 2015
(Click to enlarge) The top image is taken from a computer simulation at a specific point in time during the first 90 hours into a 20-day run of a detailed global atmospheric model. The bottom image was taken by NASA's GOES satellite at the same point in time. A comparison of the two images shows how well the model projection matched the observed cloud features. (NASA)
Scientists compose complex math equations to replicate behaviors of Earth systems

At its most basic, a global climate model is a computer software program that solves complex equations that mathematically describe how Earth's various systems, processes and cycles work, interact and react under certain conditions. It's math in action.

December 16, 2015
This series shows the evolution of the universe as simulated by a run called the Q Continuum, performed on the Titan supercomputer and led by Argonne physicist Katrin Heitmann. These images give an impression of the detail in the matter distribution in the simulation. At first the matter is very uniform, but over time gravity acts on the dark matter, which begins to clump more and more, and in the clumps, galaxies form. Image by Heitmann et. al. (Click to view larger.)
Researchers model birth of universe in one of largest cosmological simulations ever run

Researchers are sifting through an avalanche of data produced by one of the largest cosmological simulations ever performed, led by scientists at Argonne.

October 29, 2015