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Vol. 55, Special Issue        February 2003
[Sandia National Laboratories]

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0165    ||   Livermore, California 94550-0969
Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Test Site; Amarillo, Texas

Back to Lab News Sandia Labs Accomplishments 2003 index

Labs Accomplishments 2003

Introduction: Labs President Paul Robinson's letter to all Sandians:

The ever-increasing advance of technology is built on a foundation of small and large improvements in components -- the basic building blocks of larger systems. This year's list of Sandia's accomplishments highlights many of these individual advances -- from revolutionary methods of extracting data from deep within steel containment vessels (without penetrating the steel shell) to a breakthrough in high-temperature capacitors that allows them to store electrical energy at five times the previous energy density at the high operating temperatures within fuel cells. Such advances are fundamental to increasing the performance of military and civilian systems of the future.

One of the most worrisome threats of today's world is the possibility that terrorist groups could acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and detonate them within US cities. Over the past year Sandia has emphasized a multitiered approach to defending against such threats. We have greatly enhanced the security of nuclear plants both within our own country and in distant parts of the world (e.g. Uzbekistan.) We are developing new sensors to detect such threat weapons so they can be interdicted and destroyed. Recent progress includes new detectors for WMD sensors from fixed locations, unmanned airborne vehicles, and from satellites. One maj or advance is a novel way to concentrate biomolecules by a factor of 1,000 in order to improve our ability to detect and identify the threat substances. At the operational level we have now installed such advanced sensors in US seaports, airports, subways, and in other high-value facilities.

Sandia's historical expertise in how to achieve high reliability in mechanical and electrical systems expanded our contributions over the past year to include systems performance from nuclear reactor pressure vessels to storage and shipping tanks to satellite monitoring systems. Our record now exceeds more than 20 years of on-orbit performance without a mission-critical failure!p> All of these advances are possible because of the unique nature of Sandia's operating philosophy of "pursuing science with the mission in mind." I invite you to read about the accomplishments of the past year. As you read them I'll bet you can glimpse just what an exciting future lies ahead for all of us.

C. Paul Robinson, Labs President and Director

Introductory note from editor

Shortly after the beginning of each calendar year the Lab News sums up Sandia National Laboratories' principal achievements during the previous fiscal year. Submissions are selected by the VPs' offices.

In reading through the accomplishments, you'll notice some numbers in parentheses at the end of each entry. Those represent the Sandia center (or centers) in which most of the work on a particular accomplishment was done. Also, you'll note that many of the technical accomplishments include a key contact name and e-mail address. The work is presented here by category. We've found over time that this organizational approach is helpful, but it is important to recognize that such categorization, particularly in a multiprogram, multidisciplinary laboratory such as Sandia, is to some extent arbitrary. Much of the work listed in the category "Nuclear Weapons," for example, could very appropriately have been listed under "Computing," "Engineering Science," or any one of a number of other categories. And the converse is certainly true. Indeed, much of the work done across all the Labs' technical divisions supports Sandia's fundamental mission-related nuclear weapons work.

Last modified: March 14, 2003

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