Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Permafrost creates a polygonal landscape, irregularity that makes simulating thawing’s impact on climate change a challenge requiring advanced algorithms and high-performance computers. (Photo: Konstanze Piel, Alfred Wegener Institute.)

After the thaw

February 19th, 2014 Updated: February 19th, 2014

Simulations of melting permafrost promise changes in climate modeling.


Argentina's Perito Moreno glacier.

Deciphering the big thaw

July 16th, 2013 Updated: July 16th, 2013

Scientists thought they had figured out what ended the last ice age – except for one nagging problem. Researchers using Oak Ridge National Laboratory computers may now have discovered the final answer.


nanosponge boomerang

Kinky nanotubes

September 6th, 2012 Updated: September 6th, 2012

With the help of Oak Ridge computations, scientists are probing the properties of macroscale sponges made of nanoscale carbon-boron tubes. The material could soak up oil spills, help store energy or meet other needs.


This frame from the Via Lactea II visualization shows the dark matter halo as it might look today, more than 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang. Gravity has drawn the partcles into dense clumps, which retain much of their stucture as they are drawn toward the halo’s center.  The color scale shows dark matter density increasing from blue to white.

Seeing the invisible

October 6th, 2010 Updated: February 22nd, 2013

Armed with computing power from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, researchers are detailing the nature of dark matter surrounding a galaxy much like our own Milky Way.


Atomic-detailed model of lignocellulose of softwoods. Based on experimental data on the structure of cellulose (brown) and lignin (cyan and red).

Breaking the biomass barrier

December 22nd, 2009 Updated: March 16th, 2011

What Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers are learning could help make ethanol from cellulose a viable fuel alternative – and help the United States replace foreign oil with a green, renewable resource.