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Vol. 56, Special Issue        March 2004
[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 2004 index

Labs Accomplishments 2004

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

At the end of each year, as I read the significant accomplishments our staff have submitted, I can actually begin to get a glimpse of what the future Sandia National Laboratories will look like. You can almost visualize how these technical achievements and process improvements can be stacked up ‹ brick by brick ‹ in order to build the laboratory of the future.

This 2004 report contains a large list of achievements, notable for their significance and their great diversity ‹ from the creation of significant thermonuclear fusion reactions in the laboratory by heating and compressing small plastic pellets filled with deuterium to temperatures and pressures higher than in the sun, to the delivery of 10 hand-held explosives sensing devices (the ³MicroHound²) to a government customer. The list stretches from ³breakthroughs at the frontiers of science² to ³everyday² improvements in the quality of the processes we use to carry out research and development across the laboratories.

Two themes should be easily recognized.

First, the emphasis placed by Sandians on continuous improvements of the quality of our processes and products is achieving major results. Sometimes the words ³faster, cheaper, better² seem to be over-promises. (³Pick any two out of three² might be more realistic.) Yet, I urge you to focus on the many times when we are now making significant improvements in all three at once.

Second, the emphasis and the investments we have made in supercomputers and modeling and simulation are becoming a common route to extraordinary improvements across the board. From evaluating the performance of weapon hardware before we actually build the first one, to the evaluation of causes for the failure of the Shuttle Columbia, the detailed physics and engineering analyses played an irreplaceable role.

I invite you to review the many contributions that made our year such a notable one.

C. Paul Robinson

President and Laboratories Director

Introductory note from editor

Early in each calendar year the Lab News highlights Sandia National Laboratories¹ principal achievements during the previous fiscal year. Submissions are selected by the VPs¹ offices. Numbers in parentheses at the end of each entry represent the Sandia center (or centers) in which most of the work on a particular accomplishment was done. The work is presented here by category. We¹ve 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 ³Nuclear Weapons,² for example, could very appropriately have been listed under ³Computing,² ³Engineering Science,² or any one of a number of other categories. And the converse is certainly true. Indeed, much of the work done across all the Labs¹ technical divisions supports Sandia¹s fundamental mission-related nuclear weapons work.

For information about how to contact the researchers involved in the work mentioned here, contact Lab News staff member Bill Murphy at Bill Murphy

Last modified: March 25, 2004

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