Feature Stories

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Hurricane Irene from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Terra satellite was taken at August 26 at 12:30 p.m. EDT, when Hurricane Irene was off the Carolinas.
Forecasting the fallout from natural disasters

When Hurricane Irene barreled up the East Coast this August, forecasters had a pretty good idea of the track the storm would take, along with its expected wind, rain and storm surge. Determining how the storm's meteorological force would impact the Eastern Seaboard's energy system and other critical infrastructure, however, required additional analysis.

October 31, 2011
Argonne chemist Christopher Johnson holds a sodium-ion cathode.
Making sodium-ion batteries that are worth their salt

Sodium-ion technology possesses a number of benefits that lithium-based energy storage cannot capture, explained Argonne chemist Christopher Johnson, who is leading an effort to improve the performance of ambient-temperature sodium-based batteries.

October 24, 2011
Argonne scientists Artem Guelis (right) and Kevin Nichols test their miniaturized apparatus for nuclear recycling research.
Miniaturizing nuclear recycling experiments

Designing better ways to recycle spent nuclear fuel could make nuclear energy a safer solution to the global energy problem, but there are a lot of gaps in our chemical knowledge—and it's difficult to get those answers when the experiments involve radioactive material. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have one answer: Shrink the whole experiment down—to microliters.

October 19, 2011
Argonne awarded $1.9 million for hydropower study
Argonne awarded $1.9 million for hydropower study

New life has been pumped into the study and modeling of hydropower storage plants, thanks to a new $1.9 million Department of Energy grant awarded to a project led by Argonne National Laboratory.

October 17, 2011
There are thousands of E. coli strains, but programs like the Argonne-developed RAST can help researchers make sense of a particular strain's genome. Photo credit Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, both of USDA, ARS, EMU.
Cloud computing and Argonne program help decode German E. coli strain

When a nasty strain of E. coli flooded hospitals in Germany this summer, it struck its victims with life-threatening complications far more often than most strains—and the search for explanation began. Thanks to a unique Argonne-developed computer program and cloud computing testbed, researchers mapped the strain's genes—and came a little closer to understanding the bacterium's secrets.

October 15, 2011
Earthquake damage on a road in Japan, photographed by members of the RAP team measuring the radiation released from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
Argonne team helps map Fukushima radiation release

When the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi began to emit radioactive material, the Department of Energy’s national emergency response assets, including several Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) teams, responded to calls from both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. military.

October 10, 2011
Students participate in hands-on experiments and demonstrations.
Celebrating Hispanic heritage month

Honoring famous Hispanics in science and technology—like Nobel Prize winners Luis Walter Alvarez and Severo Ochoa, or astronauts Franklin Chang-Diaz and Ellen Ochoa—Argonne National Laboratory hosts an education and outreach day each year as part of Hispanic Heritage Month.

October 4, 2011
A lost Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece may lie hidden behind this fresco in Florence's "Hall of 500". Photo courtesy Dave Yoder/National Geographic Society; to see more photos of the project, click on the photo.
Argonne scientist energizes quest for lost Leonardo da Vinci painting

Perhaps one of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest paintings has never been reprinted in books of his art. Known as the "Battle of Anghiari," it was abandoned and then lost—until a determined Italian engineer gave the art world hope that it still existed, and a physicist from Argonne National Laboratory developed a technique that may reveal it to the world once again.

September 28, 2011
A specialized piece of glass called a luminescent solar concentrator can intensify incoming light. The green and orange rings are produced by its fluorescence.
New solar cell technology gives light waves “amnesia”

For years, scientists have dealt with the problem of trying to increase the efficiency and drive down the cost of solar cells. Now researchers have hit upon a new idea—trying to give the light collected by solar cells a bit of "amnesia."

September 26, 2011
Argonne physicist Zheng-Tian Lu (in back) and his team (from left to right: Arjun Sharma, Wei Jiang, Kevin Bailey, and Guomin Yang) stand with the ATTA device, which measures individual atoms of the isotope Krypton-81 as part of an effort to model underground aquifers and predict how fast they refill.
Krypton-81 isotope can help map underground waterways

Cataloguing underground waterways, some of which extend for thousands of miles, has always been difficult—but scientists at Argonne National Laboratory are mapping them with some unusual equipment: lasers and a rare isotope.

September 20, 2011