The groundwork for the NDRL was laid in the 1940s when the U.S. government required a high-power particle accelerator for radiation research relating to the Manhattan Project — the research effort to develop the nuclear bombs used in World War II. The only suitable machine in the Chicago region was owned by the Notre Dame Physics Department, housed in what is now the LaFortune Student Center. Former Notre Dame chemistry professor Milton Burton was commissioned by the U.S. government to perform the necessary research on the effects of ionizing radiation. In 1949, Burton formally established the NDRL, and the Radiation Research Building that now houses the lab was completed in 1963, funded by the Atomic Energy Commission.The lab is now owned and primarily funded by the Office of Science within the U.S. Department of Energy. It has continued to perform research on the fundamental properties of radiation, as well as photochemical research. Ian Carmichael, NDRL Director since 2004, said the lab focuses on basic, rather than applied, research, but the research could have important applications in nuclear power.“We do basic research investigating the fundamentals of radiation chemistry and, more recently, solar photochemistry as well,” he said. “The complementary thrust to radiation chemistry is targeted at basic understanding of radiation, but also to the impact of radiation chemistry on nuclear power, such as radiation degradation of reactor materials, very hot water in reactors and so on.”While the Department of Energy is the main source of grant funding, Carmichael said the NDRL has received smaller grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. military and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), among other organizations. While the lab was previously operated on a government contract, Carmichael said that since 2004 there has been a cooperative agreement in place between the University and the government.The NDRL houses a linear particle accelerator, as well as several Van de Graaff accelerators. Additionally, the lab has a scientific glassblower and a machinist on staff who provide specialty components and equipment maintenance to the NDRL and other science departments on campus. Radiation research remains the lab’s focus, Carmichael said, but photochemical research has become a secondary aim of the lab in recent years. Andrew Cameron | The Observer Assistant research professor Aliaksandra Lisouskaya works on the Notre Dame Radiation Lab’s linear particle accelerator. “Maybe 25% of our resources go towards our solar photochemistry program,” Carmichael said. “That includes trying to understand the fundamentals of solar cells. The big thing in solar energy nowadays is Perovskite solar cells, and we have a program trying to figure out what goes wrong … for some reason they work very well but they don’t last very long, so we’re trying to figure out why they break down and how we can stop that.”The remainder of the resources are dedicated to radiation-related matters, Carmichael said.“The rest goes towards radiation chemistry, which is the high-energy electrons, the gamma rays and so on,” he said. “We’re looking at the effects of stress and radiation-enhanced corrosion on aqueous solutions mainly, but also in materials in aqueous solution in nuclear reactors. Why reactors only live for 40 years, for example.”Carmichael noted the NDRL has never done classified work, partly because the building does not meet the necessary security standards.Aliaksandra Lisouskaya received her Ph.D. in Belarus and is now working as an assistant research professor at Notre Dame, conducting research on radiation chemistry and photochemistry at the NDRL. The equipment available at the NDRL, she said, offers unique research opportunities.“You can find linacs [linear particle accelerators] at other places, but here there is just much more,” Lisouskaya said.While the NDRL doesn’t build devices or research potential applications, Carmichael said it has made valuable contributions to science.“Over the years, we’ve published perhaps 5,000 papers from NDRL in all kinds of journals,” Carmichael said. “Many of these papers have had a huge impact, but we’re not here to promote anything in particular.”Tags: NDRL, Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory, Radiation Research Building To many students, the nondescript concrete building on Library Quad is little more than a source of vague rumors. Its exterior ornamentation consists solely of block letters reading “Radiation Research.”Contrary to campus legends, the Radiation Research Building, housing the Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory (NDRL), may not have 26 stories reaching underground, but what it does have is a world-class array of particle accelerators, lasers, spectrometers and other specialized equipment for probing the secrets of energy and matter. Andrew Cameron | The Observer The control room of the linear particle accelerator allows researchers to remotely control the accelerator from outside the chamber. Particle accelerators are used to monitor the radiation released when particles collide with a target, allowing researchers to gain insight into the composition of subatomic particles.
Pexels Stock Image.ALBANY – The minimum wage in Upstate New York’s will increase to $12.50 an hour on December 31.The State’s Department of Labor announced on Wednesday the raise is part of the minimum wage phase in taking place across the state.The phase in was announced after a report by the Division of the Budget found the Upstate’s labor market is amongst those leading New York’s economic recovery from the downturn caused by the global pandemic.Other findings in the report include: Just prior to the pandemic, the State achieved a record low unemployment rate of 3.7% while raising the minimum wage for four years.The Long Island/Westchester county regional unemployment rate has fallen from its April peak of 15.9 percent to 7.1 percent in October, while the remainder of Upstate has fallen from its 15.4 percent April peak to 6.8 percent in October.According the December edition of the Federal Reserve Beige Book, as employment rebounds Upstate, an employment agency observed: “scattered signs of a pickup in hiring, especially for lower-wage workers” and “particular difficulty in recruiting customer-service representatives.” The agency also noted “a particular upward trend in wages at the lower end of the pay scale.”The report concludes: close examination of the available economic data by region suggests that the labor market recoveries on Long Island and in Westchester and the remainder of Upstate are proceeding apace and are not likely to be substantially harmed by the minimum wage increases scheduled for the end of this yearThe minimum wage in New York City is set to increase to $15 an hour for companies with 10 or fewer employees. Companies with more than 10 employees have had to pay $15 an hour since the end of 2018.Long Island & Westchester’s minimum wage will increase to $14 an hour, and is scheduled to increase to $15 an hour on December 31, 2021.No further increases for the rest of New York State are currently scheduled. Future increases will be based on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of the Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor following an annual review of the impact.Last week some lawmakers, including local Senator George Borrello, called on the Governor to hold off on rising the state’s minimum wage in an effort to help businesses already struggling due to COVID-19. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
Growing a good potato starts with good seed.University of Georgia Cooperative Extension vegetable specialist Tim Coolong advises Georgia gardeners to find a reputable dealer or seed source to obtain healthy, disease-free seed stock. Ability permitting, the seed stock should be kept between 55 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple of weeks to initiate sprouting.Cutting seed pieces one or two days prior to planting can help suberize (heal) the cut surfaces, which allows a protective waxy layer to form over the surface, thus minimizing the chance of disease loss once the potato is planted.Because potatoes are planted early in the year, producers commonly face the issue of seed pieces sitting in cold, wet soil due to spring rains. These conditions put the seeds at risk for disease, so a well-drained site is essential.Additionally, when finding a proper site to cultivate potatoes, be sure to practice good rotation. If potatoes are planted in the same area for a number of consecutive years, the crop is put at risk for potato scab and other soilborne diseases.As for fertilizing, potatoes are described by Coolong as “average feeders.”“They’re not particularly heavy nitrogen feeders, such as sweet corn, but they require significantly more nitrogen than sweet potatoes,” Coolong said.It is typically recommended for growers to apply their phosphorus and at least half of their potassium at planting. Nitrogen applications can be split into a quarter at planting, then two or three more applications done during the season.When the potatoes are being hilled, or soil is brought up around the vines to prevent them from poking out of the ground and greening, an application of fertilizer can be incorporated.“Once you get the plant going and sprouting out of the ground, it’s fairly straightforward,” Coolong said. “The initial phase, particularly early in the spring, is when many gardeners have issues.”Since potatoes are grown under ground, there are a few ways to tell if they are ready to be harvested. Some varieties are better for growing “new potatoes,” or immature potatoes, in which case test-digging can be used to determine readiness. As for full-season potatoes, Coolong said potatoes are generally ready when the vines start dying back and yellowing. The vines can either be mowed before digging or desiccants can be sprayed to dry the vines out.“If you go in the garden and decide you want potatoes, and if they’re the size you need, you can go in and dig them early, that’s perfectly acceptable to do,” Coolong said.After the potatoes have been harvested, they should be stored in a cool, dry place with a relative humidity of 70 to 75 percent. Cold damage becomes a problem if potatoes are stored at temperatures that are too low. Be sure to find cool storage, not cold storage.[Julia Rodriquez is an intern for the UGA Tifton Campus.]