Back to top
This issue of Science & Technology Review highlights the strength of the Laboratory’s innovations, the profound impact our science and technology (S&T) has on our national security, and the Laboratory’s values: ideas, impact, integrity, inclusiveness, and zeal. Despite the pandemic, we carried out our missions, including S&T research to protect our nation’s infrastructure from cyberthreats, paving the path toward a low-carbon future and climate resilience, exploring new battery technology that can enhance human health, and supporting early-career staff as they break new ground in S&T.
This issue’s feature article, showcases how we are fortifying our nation’s critical infrastructure against cyberattacks, and enhancing our national security at a time when cyberthreats are increasingly in the spotlight. Our immune infrastructure framework presents a paradigm shift. Instead of focusing only on keeping the adversary out, which is impractical when defending against nation-state adversaries, it accepts that cybersecurity breaches may occur and focuses on ensuring that our critical infrastructure continues to operate despite that compromise.
By bringing together network analysis, artificial intelligence, and collaborative autonomy, we are innovating capabilities to defend our critical infrastructure—electric, water, transportation, and cyber–physical systems. We are focused on a layered defense: understanding the systems, keeping the adversary out, detecting and responding to intrusions, and operating through compromise. In addition to defending against cyberattacks, these tactical layers help the nation’s critical infrastructure become more resilient to physical attacks and natural hazards, including the effects of climate change as extreme weather events become more common.
The Laboratory is also supporting climate resilience by developing pioneering tools to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) deep underground. Carbon capture and storage is one of the long-term solutions needed to reach carbon neutrality and mitigate climate change. By harnessing our expertise in geochemistry, engineering, seismology, hydrology, and computational geoscience, Livermore has created the first open-source, scalable, portable, and exascale-ready simulation software supporting industrial-scale carbon sequestration: GEOSX, which will improve the planning, management, and security of geological repositories by simulating how fluids flow and rocks break deep underground. As open-source code, and through partnership with industry, GEOSX will help expand future CO2 sequestration projects worldwide.
Other projects with potential global impact are focused on developing nuclear-powered batteries. Our engineering and materials scientists are utilizing technology originally developed for national security and astrophysics applications to create 3D nuclear-powered batteries. These devices could serve as tiny, high-density power sources with decades-long lifetimes for use in biomedical implants, such as pacemakers, and could benefit the lives of patients.
Like everything we do at the Laboratory, these projects would not be possible without our exceptional workforce. Each year, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science Early Career Research Program (ECRP) recognizes exceptional researchers at U.S. academic institutions and DOE’s national laboratories by awarding them with highly competitive funding to support their projects and further facilitate their promise. Since the program’s inception in 2010, Lawrence Livermore has received more ECRP awards than any other National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory. Spread across the Engineering, Computing, Physical and Life Sciences directorates, and the National Ignition Facility and Photon Science Principal Directorate, the projects these staff lead reflect the Laboratory’s diverse programs and the zeal the ECRP recipients bring to realizing innovative ideas.
ECRP funding allows recipients to push the boundaries of their fields, build their networks, increase inclusivity, and inspire the next generation of leaders. They are a true testament to our high-caliber S&T efforts, and the diligent support provided by our Program Development Support Office.
By conducting this work during the ongoing pandemic, our teams have demonstrated resilience—never slowing down the pace of S&T innovation. The stories in this issue reflect that dedication to the Laboratory’s mission. The Laboratory remains at the forefront of S&T, and we continue to deliver on our national security mission while living our values.