in the News
A New Code Simulates the
A Giant Leap for Space Telescopes
Checking Out the Hot Spots
Associate Director for Defense and Nuclear Technologies
Is Creative Science
MOST great scientific discoveries have resulted from a willingness
to suspend judgment and a refusal to be boxed in by conventional wisdom.
Astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered in the 1920s that the universe
As unlikely as this seemed then, later measurements have shown that
Hubble was right. Einsteins special and general theories of
relativity represented a truly revolutionary way of understanding
the universe when they were proposed almost 100 years ago. Yet discoveries
since thenblack holes and their furious gravitational power
are but one examplehave proven Einstein right.
At Livermore, we encourage
our scientists to think creativelyoutside the boxin finding
solutions to challenges they encounter. While most news about Lawrence
Livermore centers on the applied science we domaintenance of
the nations nuclear stockpile or the development of ever more
powerful lasersnone of those advances would be possible without
experiments, theory, and simulations that delve into science at its
most basic. Basic and applied science are synergistic pursuits, with
advances in either feeding back in often unexpected ways. For example,
the development of the laser is a true applied science breakthrough
that has opened up many avenues for exploring basic science from equations
of state to the fusion process that powers stars. Basic research tests
the creativity of scientists, keeping them intellectually agile, and
may produce unexpected results that lead down new paths.
The COSMOS code, described
in the article beginning on p. 4, is an excellent example of the basic
science that our scientists pursue. This new simulation tool leverages
not only their abilities and creativity but also the unique resources
available at this Laboratory. Having trained as an astrophysicist
(I worked on neutron star formation in supernova collapse), I take
particular interest in Livermores research in astrophysics.
Early on, I discovered that astrophysics is superb training for a
career at Livermore. Because stars and weapons operate in similar
ways, new discoveries in one area are bound to spill over and benefit
the other. Some of our nations greatest astrophysicists, such
as James Wilson and Stirling Colgate, move continuously between weapons
and astrophysics in their careers.
COSMOS, scientists can simulate a variety of astrophysical events
in two and three dimensions, from early cosmology to the creation
of stars. COSMOS incorporates more complex physics than almost any
other similar code. It is the first astrophysical code that considers
the process of cooling, a critical factor in the congealing of stellar
gas and dust that creates stars. Its flexibility and power leave it
with few peers. The astrophysics community is excited about COSMOS,
which will surely find many users outside the Laboratory.
COSMOS is the brainchild of
a Livermore astrophysicist who not only had a great idea but also
an awareness of all that the Laboratory has to offer. COSMOS simulations
would not be possible without Livermores massively parallel
terascale computers to manipulate enormous quantities of data representing
complex physics in multiple dimensions.
People become scientists because
they want to understand the workings of the universe around them.
Exciting basic scientific pursuits such as COSMOS act as magnets,
drawing the best and brightest young scientists to Livermore and enhancing
our reputation in the greater scientific community. The success of
our national security missions depends on the quality of our science
and technology and, perhaps more fundamentally, upon the quality of
our scientists. It is only with their passion for scienceand
the creativity that passion breedsthat we can succeed.
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March 21, 2003