Argonne National Laboratory

Feature Stories

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Researchers at Argonne modeled the HcaR protein complex, above, a sort of molecular policeman that controls when to activate genes that code for enzymes used by  Acinetobacter bacteria to break down compounds for food. Understanding these processes can help scientists develop ideas for converting more carbon in soil. (Image courtesy Kim et al./Journal of Biological Chemistry.)
Two protein studies discover molecular secrets to recycling carbon and healing cells

Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory have mapped out two very different types of protein. One helps soil bacteria digest carbon compounds; the other protects cells from the effects of harmful molecules.

September 9, 2016
Neuqua Valley High School  students Anna Thomas, Vanessa Cai, Nadia Young and Natalie Ferguson discuss an experiment at Sector 20 of the Advanced Photon Source, a large synchrotron at Argonne National Laboratory. The students used X-rays to study ancient pottery. (Photo by Mark Lopez, Argonne National Laboratory)
High schoolers study ancient pottery at Advanced Photon Source

The experimental facilities of a typical high school physics classroom don’t usually include a synchrotron. But Natalie Ferguson and more than 60 of her schoolmates not only got to see the Advanced Photon Source: they used it to do research.

June 16, 2016
Argonne Distinguished Fellow Paul Messina has been tapped to lead  the DOE and NNSA’s Exascale Computing Project with the goal of paving the way toward exascale supercomputing.
Messina discusses rewards, challenges for new exascale project

The exascale initiative has an ambitious goal: to develop supercomputers a hundred times more powerful than today’s systems. Argonne Distinguished Fellow Paul Messina, who has been tapped to lead a DOE/NNSA project designed to pave the way, speaks on the potential for exascale and the challenges along the way.

June 8, 2016
Researchers from the University of Guelph have visited the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory for the past three years to use the facility’s bright X-rays to study the structure of edible fats, present in foods like oils, milk fat, cheese and much more. In this photo, Braulio Macias Rodriguez, a University of Guelph graduate student, left, and Fernanda Peyronel, research associate, examine a sample of anhydrous milk fat at beamline 9ID-D, the ultra-small-angle scattering facility.
Tasty fat: X-rays finding the blueprint of why fat is yummy

Over three years, a University of Guelph team has brought increasingly complex samples of edible fat to the Advanced Photon Source for research. They are using data from the facility to characterize the nanoscale structure of different kinds of edible fats and applying the data to a model that predicts the effect of processes like heating and mixing on fat structure. If food manufacturers understand the unique structures of different fat compositions, they can better mimic the desirable tastes and textures of unhealthy fats with healthier alternatives, potentially affecting diseases closely tied to diet.

May 27, 2016
Several different remediation processes are available to clean up soil, varying in efficiency, cost and sustainability for specific site conditions. When officials suspect a site is contaminated, they conduct an assessment to determine the pollutant, the extent of contamination and the appropriate method to remediate the soil. (Click image to enlarge.)
Five ways scientists can make soil less dirty

Argonne's Applied Geosciences and Environment Management Program evaluates potentially contaminated sites and applies remediation methods that are both efficient and environmentally friendly by reducing secondary impacts, such as emissions from trucks that transport soil to a treatment facility.

May 23, 2016
A row of tanker trucks transport water from Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota's Bakken region to oil well production sites. The water is injected under high pressure into a wellbore to fracture deep rock formations in order to release the flow of natural gas and petroleum in a process call hydraulic fracturing.
Temporary oilfield workers are major factor in increased water use in N. Dakota Bakken region

Increased water use in the rapidly growing oil industry in North Dakota's Bakken oil shale region, or play, is surprisingly due not only to oil well development but also to people, according to a recent study. Increased oil development in that region has attracted thousands of oilfield employees.

May 19, 2016
The EcoSpec reflectance sensors in position among young soybean plants at the beginning of the 2015 growing season. (image courtesy of Yuki Hamada)
Bringing climate down to earth

The EcoSpec Project at Argonne seeks to inject indirect measurements of terrestrial ecosystems into climate models.

May 11, 2016
Members of the Red Team strategize new ways to attack the systems of teams at the first annual Argonne Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition this weekend. The Red Team included, from left, Mississippi State University student William Showalter, Argonne software engineer Qizhi Zhang, Argonne Cyber Security Operations Manager Matt Kwiatkowski and Evan McBroom, also from Mississippi State.
Cyber Defense Competition draws students to Argonne

More than 75 aspiring cyber defenders from across Illinois and Iowa converged Saturday on Argonne National Laboratory to take on the challenge of the first Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition.

April 26, 2016
No one has yet imaged an entire brain down to the level of individual cells; but Bobby Kasthuri has a plan to do just that using intensive computing and imaging resources at Argonne. Above is a simulation showing an unusual configuration of a neuron: one axon (blue) connected to multiple points on a dendrite (green). The total image is smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. (Click to view larger.)
Adventures of the first neuroscientist at Argonne

Bobby Kasthuri wants to map the human brain. Unlike most brain researchers, he wants a literal map: a 3D picture of every single neuron inside a brain. All 100 billion of them — or maybe 80 billion. Or maybe 120 billion?

March 16, 2016
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 7, 2016