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March 2003

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
Bruce Goodwin

A New Code Simulates the Cosmos

A Giant Leap for Space Telescopes

Checking Out the Hot Spots




March 2003

The Laboratory in the News

Basic Science is Creative Science
Commentary by Bruce Goodwin

A New Code Simulates the Cosmos
With the COSMOS code, Livermore scientists have produced the first-ever multidimensional simulations of the early universe and the behavior of black holes and dwarf galaxies.

A Giant Leap for Space Telescopes
A radical concept for building and fielding a space telescope far larger than ever deployed.

Checking Out the Hot Spots
Supercomputers help scientists reveal the behavior of explosive materials—information that is critical to understanding aging in the nuclear stockpile.

Patents and Awards



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  • A New Code Simulates the Cosmos
  • (pdf file, 3MB)
    A new Livermore astrophysics code called COSMOS can model almost anything from a small black hole to the entire universe. It is unusual in being easily adaptable to either relativistic or Newtonian astrophysical phenomena. COSMOS incorporates several ways to simulate hydrodynamic as well as radiative cooling, chemistry, self-gravity, relativistic scalar fields, and several other physics packages to accurately address a wide range of problems. COSMOS has already been applied to an ambitious array of astrophysical problems: a phase transition during the early moments of the young universe, accretion of matter by black holes, star formation caused by the interaction of gas clouds and jets emanating from massive black holes, and the evolution of dwarf spheroidal galaxies. In the near future, several new features will be added to the code, including adaptive grid technology to allow varying degrees of spatial resolution.

  • A Giant Leap for Space Telescopes
  • (pdf file, 1.5MB)
    A Livermore team is developing a radically new technology to solve the difficulties inherent in building and fielding a high-quality space telescope far larger than ever deployed. The concept, called Eyeglass, uses diffractive optics (also called Fresnel lenses) instead of mirrors or conventional glass lenses. Because it is lightweight, flexible, and able to be segmented and folded, an Eyeglass diffractive telescope could be neatly packaged in a space launch vehicle. It would also be easy to field in space because as a thin, flat membrane, it would not need large, heavy backings, trusses, or motors to maintain its shape, as do telescopes using mirrors. The team has been building increasingly advanced diffractive lenses with materials that are considered suitable for space missions. The largest lens measures 5 meters in diameter and is composed of 72 folding panels of thin glass. The lens is the largest optical quality lens in the world. It is twice as big as, yet 10 times lighter than, the primary mirror for the Hubble Space Telescope.

  • Checking Out the Hot Spots
  • (pdf file, 1MB)
    Researchers are taking a first step toward a comprehensive, three-dimensional model of a living cell by simulating calcium ions moving within and between epithelial cells.

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    UCRL-52000-03-3 | March 21, 2003