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January/February 2002

The Laboratory in the News

Fifty Years of Making History, Making a Difference
Commentary by C. Bruce Tarter

Fifty Years of Innovation through Nuclear Weapon Design
The Laboratory was born to meet pressing national security needs through innovative nuclear weapon design. Application of science and technology to enhance national security remains Livermore’s primary mission.

Simulating Turbulence in Magnetic Fusion Plasmas
Powerful three-dimensional simulations are helping researchers to speed the development of magnetic fusion energy.

Present at the Creation
A Russian–Livermore collaboration has added two new elements, 114 and 116, to the periodic table. Both have the comparatively long lifetimes predicted by long-held superheavy element theory.

Rapid Field Detection of Biological Agents
Livermore scientists have developed two portable biodetection systems to help in the fight against bioterrorism.

Patents and Awards




















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  • Fifty Years of Innovation through Nuclear Weapon Design
  • (pdf file, 2.5MB)

  • Simulating Turbulence in Magnetic Fusion Plasmas
  • (pdf file, 3.6MB)
    A team of Lawrence Livermore scientists is leading a national effort to simulate the extraordinarily complex physics involved in magnetically confined plasmas. The team’s focus is on deepening the understanding of the plasma microturbulence that occurs inside a tokamak, a doughnut-shaped magnetic confinement device. Microturbulence is an irregular, and unwanted, fluctuation in the plasma “soup” of electrons and ions. The fluctuations generate unstable waves and eddies that transport heat from the superhot core across numerous magnetic field lines out to the tokamak’s walls. The collaboration’s current focus is on advanced codes, algorithms, and data analysis and visualization tools. The simulations run on massively parallel supercomputers, which use thousands of microprocessors in tandem. The team has made important progress in the past few years, as seen in the comparisons of simulations to experiment results, in the agreement of results from codes developed by collaborators from different research centers, and in the codes’ increasingly thorough and accurate physics content.

  • Present at the Creation
  • (pdf file, 2MB)
    A collaboration of Russian and Livermore scientists has added two new elements, 114 and 116, to the periodic table. It took 40 days of almost continuous effort in 1998 to produce the first atom of element 114, which was a fusion of plutonium-244 and calcium-48. Its lifetime was 30.4 seconds before decay began. Daughter particles survived for a total of 34 minutes before the final decay product fissioned. A subsequent experiment produced a single atom of a different isotope of element 114. In 2000 and 2001, experiments using calcium-48 and curium-248 resulted in a single atom of element 116. Previously, Livermore’s collaboration with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, which began in 1989, produced new isotopes of elements 106, 108, and 110. Upcoming experiments hope to result in the new elements 113 and 115.

  • Rapid Field Detection of Biological Agents
  • (pdf file, 1MB)

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    UCRL-52000-02-1/2 | March 8, 2002