Allan Brettman

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PNNL Helps Malaysia and Thailand Chart Carbon-Neutral Course | Article | PNNL

For a team of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers, the models were the common thread for a three-year project assisting counterparts in Malaysia and Thailand in exploring carbon-neutral pathways. The project produced recommendations for the two Southeast Asian nations, and it might pave the way for PNNL scientists to offer the laboratory’s climate science resources to other countries in the region. “Southeast Asia is undergoing rapid growth and urbanization, largely driven

Drones Fly Low and Slow for Radiation Detection | PNNL

Unoccupied aerial vehicles, better known as drones, have rapidly advanced from a quirky, high-flying novelty to a versatile workhorse. They are tools for search and rescue, traffic monitoring, weather monitoring, and perhaps even package hauling. One day, they may work with humans to augment the task of conducting surveys to detect low levels of radiation—information that could contribute to the decommissioning of sites no longer needed for nuclear-related energy production or research. Pacif

Enriching Science Education with Thin Films | PNNL

“The instrument,” as it’s called, seems to take up the entire room. The sprawling molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system is all tubes, bolts, stainless steel components, and air-tight glass. It can create an ultrahigh-vacuum environment, a space nearly devoid of matter, a space similar to that outside the International Space Station. The main chamber is about the size of a wine barrel and looks as durable as a tank. Tiffany Kaspar, however, makes sure it’s treated with the care befitting an instru

PNNL’s Climate Research Inspires Artist | PNNL

Earth Scientist Hailong Wang has published more than a hundred research papers over the past two decades that have landed in prestigious academic journals. But only one of his articles has inspired an art exhibit. “An art exhibit? I was very surprised,” said Wang, who began working at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 2009. A journal article Wang co-authored last year captured the attention of Seattle-area artist Eileen Wold, who is a 2021 Bainbridge Arts and Humanities Grant recipient.

Seeking Energy Frontiers | PNNL

One of the better days in Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) history occurred in April 2009. That’s when the White House and Department of Energy (DOE) announced that PNNL would be lead organization for one of the newly created Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs). From the start, the centers were charged with the mission to accelerate scientific breakthroughs needed to build a 21st-century energy economy, laying the groundwork for fundamental advances in electricity storage and t

From Steel Mill to DOE Laboratory, Arun Devaraj Seeks Perfection | PNNL

Through sparks, dust, and a primordial roar, a fiery world took shape outside Arun Devaraj’s office. Three giant electric arc furnaces transformed steel scrap and hot briquetted iron made from iron ore into steel. Every day, Devaraj would venture onto the floor of the cavernous Essar steel factory in Surat, a city in the western Indian state of Gujarat. He’d feel a heat blast from the 1,600-degree molten metal inside a giant cauldron while checking for the quality of the steel chemistry. He’d w

X Marks the Spot; So Does UBID | PNNL

Computerized maps and their multiple features are a marvel. They’ll get you from point A to point B. They’ll even get you to points C and D and to places in between while suggesting the best neighborhood shops for coffee, pizza, and office supplies. But they’re not perfect. Not by a long shot. For a sophisticated subset of map users, shortcomings lurk beneath the surface. Precision-minded users are flummoxed by maps showing buildings that lack accurate addresses. Or maybe they show an accurate

Seeking to Reduce Carbon Footprint with Foot on Two Continents | PNNL

The dissection of a frog doesn’t have much in common with catalysis, but an aspiring young scientist has to start somewhere. A reflective Johannes Lercher marked that high school frog experiment as his starting point in biology and chemistry. Both had to compete with writing for his career ambitions. That, as well as tennis and skiing. He excelled at them all. “I was always quite broadly interested,” said Lercher. Science won. Today, the Battelle Fellow and director of the Institute for Integ

PNNL-Led Study Delivers Road Map of Lung Development | PNNL

RICHLAND, Wash.—Researchers have compiled the most comprehensive road map of the protein composition of human lungs, providing a clearer picture of the healthy development of this essential organ that made terrestrial life possible. The study, led by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, describes how thousands of molecules are modulated in a coordinated fashion during the formation of pulmonary tissue. The findings are expected to provide a gateway for

Scott Chambers Searches for New Materials, One Atomic Layer at a Time | PNNL

Scott Chambers grew up in San Diego, but he was destined for the Pacific Northwest. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) helped determine where he’d set down roots. His youthful search for a graduate degree program in chemistry, however, had a lot to do with setting the course. With a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and chemical physics from the University of California at San Diego, Chambers had several graduate school options. A couple of distinguished universities had shown interest.

Lifetime of Curiosity Leads to Discoveries, Honors for Ruby Leung | PNNL

Ruby Leung likes to ask questions. That started at her high school in Hong Kong, where she also became interested in science. “I was one of those kids in science who always was curious. And then you can find the answers,” said Leung, an atmospheric scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. “Of course, after you answer one question, then you have the next question. It’s a quest. A quest for thinking deeper and trying to get to the truth.” Leung’s quest h

Well, This Is Cool: PNNL’s Bruce Kay Is A Supercooled Water Expert | PNNL

Bruce Kay maneuvers carefully through an equipment-filled laboratory, glancing at tubes, wires, and various instruments while heading to his destination. The physicist stops in the middle of the lab, at the stainless steel vessel with windows bolted to hold vacuum that has been at the center of his attention for years. It’s a molecular beam surface scattering instrument. This device and two others in the room have been Kay’s research partners for about three decades, resulting in numerous stud

Fungus That Tastes Just Right | PNNL

Discerning leaf-cutter ants know what food they like to eat. They turn up their scent-detecting antennae at some plant material in soils in favor of others that fungus has degraded just the way they like it. That’s partly because the ants helped cultivate the fungi and, in true farmer-like fashion, they know where the fungus holds its nutrients. In an ongoing study, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers are forming a clearer picture of how plant matter is transformed in the m

Worldly Experience Is a Catalyst for Change | PNNL

Perhaps witnessing the political disintegration of Eastern Europe can do that to a person. Ginovska was in her early teens when her native Yugoslavia ceased to exist. It was a two-year process, but by 1992 she and her family were citizens not of Yugoslavia but of Macedonia. “A series of major political events served as the catalyst for exacerbating inherent tensions in the Yugoslav republic,” says The Breakup of Yugoslavia, 1990–1992, published by the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Hist

A Keen Eye Behind the Microscope | PNNL

The experiment was not going well, as experiments often do. Li thought of options and alternate approaches to troubleshoot the experiment, unraveling at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). She thought critically, and headed to another building to try different preparation steps. Was the experiment back on track lickety-split? No. But it found its course over time. Li made sure of it. She displayed the skill, experience, perseverance, and mental agility that have characterized her wor

Batteries, Catalysts, Climate, Clean Energy: Secretary Granholm Treated to ‘Whirlwind’ PNNL Visit | PNNL

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm virtually visited Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) Monday, May 24, where she met with leading scientists, toured lab facilities, and learned about research efforts. Granholm, the former Michigan governor who is the second woman to lead the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is conducting similar visits to other national labs after being sworn into office Feb. 25. “You're the reason why I and others have often said that the Department of E

PNNL Pitches in for Perseverance Launch | PNNL

People around the world have marveled at the exploits of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, from launch to landing to supporting helicopter test flights above the Red Planet. Dave Engel and Robin Sullivan of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) may be enjoying the show a little more than most. That’s because Engel, a computational mathematician, and Sullivan, a risk and environmental engineer, helped provide crucial data that allo

Energy for the Long Run | PNNL

Bochum, Germany, is a world away from Richland, Washington, and a friendship helped bridge that gap for Marcel Baer. A pivotal contact 15 years ago helped lead Baer, then pursuing a chemistry PhD at Ruhr University in Bochum, to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland. Today, Baer is a computational scientist working in PNNL’s Physical Sciences Division with a prominent effort in materials science and physical bioscience. Before his arrival in 2011, Baer had already worked clo

Finding What Makes Catalysts Tick | PNNL

With a high school diploma in hand, Samantha Johnson was ready to celebrate, exchanging high fives with classmates and posing for photos. Then, spotting her guidance counselor, the newly minted graduate walked over for a hug. “You’re not done,” she told Johnson. “You’re just getting started. You aren’t going to stop until you have a PhD.” That, and to a great extent, “What’s a PhD?” But it was that guidance counselor, Mary Sheedy, who’d wisely suggested—insisted, actually—that Johnson take a
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