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Beauty of science displayed in annual PNNL calendar

A dozen colorful images captured during research are featured

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January 04, 2016 Share This!

  • A magnified view of a microbe on Arabidopsis plant roots seemingly provides a "window" into the rhizosphere, or root zone. In fact, that's exactly what a multi-institute research campaign is trying to frame — a view into the world of soil, roots and microorganisms. The image was obtained at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national scientific user facility located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The campaign includes scientists from EMSL, PNNL, DOE's Joint Genome Institute, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Universities of Minnesota and Missouri. Funded by DOE's Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the study examines carbon presence and distribution within the root zone, and impacts to rhizosphere microbial community diversity and functions. Results could surface climate and environmental solutions.

  • The study of these zinc oxide plates and how the plates nucleate and grow as secondary structures on zinc oxide surfaces contributes toward America's goal of a clean, abundant and secure energy future. Researchers are enhancing fundamental understanding of nucleation sites and growth characteristics. This is a vital step in making zinc oxide a more effective material for use in the development of high-energy storage systems, such as lithium-air and zinc-air batteries. The research is being conducted in facilities at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national scientific user facility located at PNNL. Funding is provided by DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

  • Hundreds of growing Bacillus anthracis Sterne spores under a fluorescent microscope create a glittering depiction of scientific inquiry. More importantly, the bacteria offer a safer way to study anthrax disease. Bacillus anthracis, similar to the strain that causes anthrax, is a surrogate, not harmful, and is helping researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to enhance biological threat detection strategies. PNNL's study of the bacteria provides new knowledge that could lead to the development of a technology that takes advantage of a simple smartphone microscope to rapidly detect and identify biothreats. Such a small, convenient device would provide a new resource to first responders who must rapidly assess dangerous situations and make quick decisions. The research has been funded through PNNL's Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.

  • Roman glass, submerged in the ocean for 2,000 years, is providing researchers with confirmation of the effectiveness of glass as a radioactive waste storage medium. This close-up of the glass reveals iridescent corrosion layers caused by the undersea environment. Scientists, funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy offices of Nuclear Energy and Environmental Management, are examining glass retrieved from a first-century Adriatic Sea shipwreck to better understand corrosion impacts. The new knowledge helps refine and validate models that predict how glass encapsulation of radioactive waste for long-term storage will hold up over thousands of years. The research has been conducted in Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Radiochemical Processing Laboratory and at EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a DOE Office of Science national scientific user facility located at PNNL.

  • What might pass for a colorful quilt square actually will help guide efforts to treat radioactive waste stored in tanks at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington state. This model was created by researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and it represents magnetite, a substrate waste material. Magnetite, as the name suggests, is magnetic, and the pink and lighter green features represent the electron spin on the material's uppermost iron atoms. Substitution of some of these iron atoms with nickel, zinc or cobalt could be beneficial for waste processing. It might make it possible to incorporate larger amounts of highly radioactive waste — particularly technetium — into glass formulations for vitrification at the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of River Protection.

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RICHLAND, Wash. — Enjoying the beauty of science year-round is easy with a new digital calendar and computer wallpaper containing captivating images that illustrate research at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The 2016 calendar and wallpaper feature 12 colorful images, including close-up views of materials under a microscope and visualized computational modeling results. The images — which showcase everything from bacteria to batteries — are the result of PNNL's diverse research, including biofuels, energy storage, cybersecurity and biological threat detection.

For example, the month of November shows a magnified microbe growing a on a plant root. The image was collected while PNNL scientists studied the carbon cycle among soil, roots and microogranisms. The research could one day lead to solutions for climate and environmental challenges.

PNNL chose the dozen images from more than 60 nominations that were submitted in 2015 by its staff. This is the fifth year in a row the national laboratory has produced a scientific art calendar.

To download a calendar or wallpaper, go to the 2016 Science as Art Calendar website. The images can also be seen on PNNL's Flickr account.

Tags: Energy, Environment, Fundamental Science, National Security

PNNL LogoInterdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,400 staff and has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. It is managed and operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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