Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy

Welcome to the Fundamental & Computational Sciences website.
I hope you take the opportunity to explore it and learn about the outstanding people, capabilities and scientific research at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

—Doug Ray, Associate Lab Director

"We strive to make progress on today's important scientific challenges."

 

Research Highlights

Herd of cattle at a watering hole
Full Story | April 2014

Agriculture's Growing Effects on Rain
Research shows the impact of land-use change on African monsoon precipitation

Increased agricultural activity is a rain taker, not a rain maker, according to researchers at PNNL and their collaborators at UCLA and the University of Texas. They found the expansion of agriculture in the African Sahel region decreases summer rainfall through its impact on monsoon rains. The model simulations show a decrease in summer rainfall reaches 10 percent over the Sahel, a region that is already stressed by water demand for human and ecological use.


Artistic rendition of cell-permeable chemical probes labeling redox-sensitive cysteine thiols in living <i>Synechococcus</i> sp. PCC7002
Full Story | March 2014

Manipulating Chemistry to Better Understand Biology
Chemical probe profiles live-cell organelle activity, adds to understanding of lysosome dynamics

A team of scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory synthesized a chemical activity-based probe (ABP) that can provide new information about how living cells function. The new ABP is designed to enter a living cell without interacting with anything until it enters a specific organelle: the lysosome. This proof-of-concept ABP then labels only functionally active enzymes called cathepsins, which are cysteine proteases, in the lysosome. Using proteomics and super-resolution microscopy to view these labeled enzymes, the scientists now are able to see organellar activity. Their work, which demonstrates the ability to manipulate chemistry to better understand biology, has been published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition.


EST Letters cover
Full Story | March 2014

Putting the Pressure on Carbon Dioxide
At a certain pressure, gas abandons clay's surface, reducing chances for fuel recovery or carbon sequestration

In a surprising turn, carbon dioxide goes from quickly bonding with to jumping off the surface of the layered clay kaolinite when the pressure increases beyond a critical value, according to PNNL scientists Todd Schaef and Vanda Glezakou (FCSD) and Toni Owen, Sudhir Ramprasad, Paul Martin, and Pete McGrail (EED). When the CO2 pressure is sufficient to raise its density to 0.40 grams per cubic centimeter, CO2 becomes more mobile and leaves the kaolinite surface. Below this pressure, CO2 readily interacts with the clay, as noted in other studies. Here, the challenge was determining the CO2's behavior when its density reached this level. Bringing together experiments and computational simulations, the team discovered that it was more energetically favorable for CO2 to move into the liquid-like supercritical phase as opposed to being bonded as a film on the clay surface as the pressure increases. Their findings were published in the February issue of Environmental Science & Technology Letters and were highlighted on the journal cover. The study provides vital information for reservoir engineers seeking to extract methane and permanently store CO2 in shales.


Full Story | April 2014

Simplifying Exascale Application Development
Scientists apply new graph programming method for evolving applications aimed at the exascale

Hiding the complexities that underpin exascale system operations from application developers is a critical challenge facing teams designing next-generation supercomputers. To tackle the problem, PNNL computer scientists are developing formal design processes based on Concurrent Collections (CnC), a programming model that combines task and data parallelism. Using graphs, they transformed LULESH proxy application code that models hydrodynamics into a complete CnC specification. These specifications capture data and control dependencies and separate computations from implementation issues, concealing the complexities of exascale systems, dramatically decreasing development cost, and increasing opportunities for automatic performance optimizations.

Fundamental & Computational Sciences

User Facilities

Research Areas

Divisions

Share

  • YouTube Facebook Flickr TwitThis LinkedIn

Subscribe

RSS Feed

News and Media

Magazine

Science Frontiers

2013 Key Accomplishments

Mark your Calendar

Frontiers in Science Seminars

Working with us

Collaborative Research

Contacts