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When Atoms Collide

May 1, 2007

Harnessing fusion power as an endless source of low-cost energy has been  an intriguing challenge for scientists. Just  ask George Vahala, who has relied on  the computing power at NERSC to help  other scientists understand the dynamics  of generating fusion energy.  Vahala, a physics professor at the  College of William and Mary, has been  one of the most active users of NERSC  resources this year. He has spent most  of the 1.18 million computing hours on  tackling tricky problems… Read More »

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Scientists Compute Death Throes of White Dwarf Star in 3D

March 22, 2007

University of Chicago scientists demonstrated how to incinerate a white dwarf star in unprecedented detail at the “Paths to Exploding Stars” conference on March 22, 2007, in Santa Barbara, Calif. White dwarf stars pack one and a half times the mass of the sun into an object the size of Earth. When they burn out, the ensuing explosion produces a type of supernova that astrophysicists believe manufactures most of the iron in the universe. But these type Ia supernovas, as they are called, may also help illuminate the mystery of dark energy, an unknown force that dominates the universe. Read More »