A CICE Consortium graphic of sea-ice physics illustrates the complexity and breadth of variables at play.

The Polar Regions on Earth — the areas around the North and South Poles — have about 9 million square miles of sea ice floating in their oceans. Once inhabited by very few people, the Polar Regions are now home to more people than ever before; there are more than 4 million people living in the Arctic. These regions are important to industries such as commercial shipping and fishing, mining, energy, recreation and tourism, scientific research, and even military bases and defense operations. Given this, the need to understand how changing sea ice can impact these activities is critical.


By Kent Coombs

Given the need to improve and streamline drug development, researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory are working on a technology that could do just that; they are creating an artificial heart that has the same biological content and structure as a human heart

A lot of time, money and research go into the medicines that people take every day — much more than one might think. Whether it is a simple pain reliever or a drug targeted at treating a specific disease, an incredible amount of work goes into that medicine before it gets to market.


The scientific community is working overtime to understand the virus and mitigate its impacts

As we adjust to life in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific community is working overtime to understand the virus and mitigate its impacts. While much of the general public is seeing for the first time the risks and disruption caused by a novel contagious disease, those of us who work in this field see what we’ve known for a long time: disease outbreaks are not an “if” scenario, but a “when” — and the more prepared we are, the better.

That preparation requires…

by Michelle A. Espy, Matthew Freeman, Frank Merrill and Dale Tupa

Los Alamos scientists took this image of the inside of a child’s head (it’s not a real head but an artificial representation of one) using proton radiography.

It’s a moment nobody wants to think about, that moment when someone discovers an odd lump on their body.

The cells in our bodies continuously grow, divide and replace each other. As new cells form, old cells die. Sometimes, too many cells grow in one area of the body or too many old cells live longer than expected. In such cases, a clump of cells — a tumor — can develop.

Although some tumors are benign and easily removed, others are malignant with cancer cells. According to the National…

By Richard Middleton

This map from the SimCCS software developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory shows potential carbon sources (red dots), sinks (blue dots), and proposed optimal pipelines (green). Oil companies and government agencies are using SimCCS to figure out how to turn a profit from selling CO2.

Most scenarios for a clean-energy future rely on carbon capture — taking CO2 emissions from their sources, such as power plants, then sequestering them underground or converting the carbon into a usable product like smart concrete. While making carbon capture economically viable has long faced significant challenges, this environmentally friendly technology may finally be on the threshold of success.

There’s been a resurgence of interest in CO2 sequestration recently in the United States, mostly because the federal government increased corporate tax credits. For businesses, the pitch is straightforward: spend money on carbon-capture technology in the short term…

By Nina Lanza

So far, we’ve seen a human face on Mars, a monster crab, and a cannonball.

At least that’s what the internet tells us.

It’s easy for people to look at images from the red planet and see all sorts of things that seem to indicate alien life — even though the truth is much less exciting. The human face is a mesa, the crab is just a rock, and the cannonball is a pebble.

Most scientists aren’t surprised when some people come up with a sci-fi explanation for an image from another planet. After all, humans evolved…

By Patrick Chain and Bin Hu

Understanding the genetic makeup of microbes such as these will ultimately lead to scientific breakthroughs that benefit applications in medicine, energy, environment and agriculture.

There are trillions of them — millions fitting through the eye of a needle — and they are everywhere. They live and thrive in vast communities in the environment, such as soil, rivers and oceans, and atmosphere, and in the human body. But they also exist in the oddest of places, such as extreme environments like volcanic hot springs and long-frozen ice in the Arctic.

Invisible to the human eye, they are communities of microorganisms, archaea (Greek for “ancient things”), fungi and viruses. …

By Jenna Stanek

Makenzie Quintana, a student in the Environmental Protection and Compliance Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, provides a perch for a monarch butterfly raised from an egg that was found on lab property.

If you grew up in New Mexico, you probably remember a time when lots of monarch butterflies wafted through the air in late summer and early fall. These days, they’re a relatively rare sight. Sadly, monarch butterfly populations are under severe stress. They have declined by 85% in the past two decades, prompting the monarch to be considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In Mexican lore, the monarch butterfly holds a mystical power. They were considered the embodiment of heroes and the newly departed dead. …

By Sara Del Valle

Sara Del Valle

The ability to collect information far outpaces the ability to fully utilize it — yet that information may hold the key to solving some of the biggest global challenges.

Take, for instance, the frequent outbreaks of waterborne illnesses as a consequence of war or natural disasters. The most recent example comes from Yemen, where, according to the World Health Organization, nearly 536,000 new suspected cases of cholera were reported, with 773 associated deaths, between January and the end of July alone.

History is riddled with similar stories. What if it we could better understand the environmental…

by Deniece Korzekwa

High-tech additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, takes the guesswork out of precisely fabricating a metal hollow object, while tweaking and fine-tuning the properties of the material composing it. These components were fabricated at the Sigma Complex at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Making a vessel by building it up from a base material is at least as old as the art of pottery. To create a vase, a potter starts by mixing clay with sand, other minerals — perhaps mica for a glittery shine — and water. Then the clay is kneaded to the desired consistency and coiled into thick ropes of moist clay that lie on top of each other to form the desired shape.

That ancient process has a lot in common with high-tech additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. It is a good way to take the…

Los Alamos National Lab

Breaking stories from Los Alamos National Lab, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store