Just in case you missed it or didn't get around to reading it, here's a link to the latest Inside Iowa State -- http://www.inside.iastate.edu/

Ames Laboratory's 39th Annual Early Bird Golf Tournament will be held April 18. For details or to register, contact Tom Lograsso, 294-2770.

You are invited to attend a Lunch and Learn workshop presented by Elaine Newell, Iowa State University's Ombuds Officer.

  • Date: Tuesday, April 15th
  • Time: 12-1pm (You are welcome to bring your lunch.)
  • Location: 151 TASF, Training Conference Room
  • Topic: "Is it Just Me, or Is it My Brain? Understanding Why Conflict is So Unpleasant"

Elaine will provide neuroscience information to help you understand how your brain works and reacts to conflict. In addition, she will discuss how the nature of email escalates conflict due to how our brain processes information and messages.

If you would like to learn more about the Ombuds Office, please go to http://www.public.iastate.edu/~ombuds/.

If you have any questions, please call Mallory Schon, Human Resources, at (515) 294-8062.


Ames Laboratory’s donations to the 2012 Holiday Auction provided hundreds of children free books at the Raising Readers in Story County Step Into Storybooks event on March 29.

This year’s Step Into Storybooks event had a science theme, with opportunities for children birth – 5 and their families to explore hands-on science stations. Each child also received a science-themed picture book purchased with Ames Laboratory employees’ donations.



Kara Nady, auditor, her husband Orson, and her sons Henry and Orson. Orson shows off the science book he selected.

Image Andrea Spiker, manager of Purchasing and Property Services, and her children, Ben, John, and Kate, check out the science picture books.

Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi, communications specialist in Public Affairs, and her son, Joey, show off a few of the science titles purchased with Ames Lab employees’ donation.

Ames Laboratory's annual Red Cross Blood Drive will be held Tuesday, April 29 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Donors should make an appointment and volunteers are needed to assist with the drive.

To make an appointment, donors should call Occupational Medicine at 294-2056, stop in at G11 TASF, or sign up online at redcrossblood.org and use the sponsor code: Ames Lab. Pleas epring a photo ID, University ID, your blood donor card, or two other forms of identification.

All presenting donors will receive a free Red Cross gift, while supplies last.

ImageVolunteers are needed for the blood drive on Tuesday, April 29th. If you would like to donate some of your time, come to Occupational Medicine at G11 TASF and sign up or call 4-2056 and we’ll put you on the list. There are 1 hour shifts from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

  • Greeters
  • Donor Aids
  • Canteen Helpers
  • Loaders

Since everyone participating is important, there will not be a contest for treats. Occupational Medicine will be baking treats for the Blood Drive and those who participate will get treats at the event.

Ames Lab was one of several organizations representing Ames during Ames Day at the Capitol on March 11. Hosted by the Ames Chamber of Commerce, Ames businesses and organizations had the opportunity to talk with state legislators with displays set up in the Statehouse rotunda.

Ames Lab Public Affairs manager Steve Karsjen visits with State representative Dave Deyoe of Nevada during Ames Day at the Capitol.

ESH&A has received reports of cracking/deteriorating squeeze (dispensing) bottles made of low density polyethylene (LDPE). Two of these bottles  being used with toluene in Ames Laboratory spaces cracked (see photo) and caused a small spill of solvent. The cracked bottles are preprinted with the warning “For Dispensing Only. Not Recommended For Storage.” 


Cracked squeeze bottle found in Ames Laboratory space.


While investigating this report, it was determined that Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) experienced the same thing in 2006. LANL issued an occurrence report and published a “Lessons Learned.”  According to the Thermo Scientific Nalgene Plastics Technical Guide, these LDPE squeeze bottles are designed for dispensing only and not for storage. Between uses the remaining contents should be disposed of and the squeeze bottles rinsed. The plastic has been shown to display some evidence of degradation after only 7 days of constant exposure to toluene.  Acetone and other organic solvents will also damage these bottles over time.  In addition, these bottles may also contaminate the contents with plasticizers and thus are never appropriate for handling chemicals to be used in applications requiring high purity.

Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) bottles trademarked Teflon®, have excellent solvent resistance and can be used indefinitely in this service. However, they are extremely expensive – nearly $200 apiece - and cannot be easily labeled.


No bottle is perfect. The bottles currently stocked in the storeroom, as pictured, are in wide use in industry and academia, despite the fact that they have a limited service life and do not protect the purity of the contents. However, they feature the benefit of having labels that do not wipe off or fade, reasonable cost, and the functionality of a dispensing nozzle. Therefore, they will continue to be offered in the storeroom and their use is still permitted at The Ames Laboratory.


If you used these bottles, you must:

  • Note date when placed into service.
  • Inspect frequently.
  • Replace at the first sign of degradation, or every 6 months, whichever comes first.
  • Use secondary containment trays to contain any leaks.

Water main leak blocks MD entrance


Leaking pipes were located underneath the sidewalk in front of Metals Development.


A steel cage protects workers from potential cave ins. The two workers at left are standing atop the concrete tunnel between MD and Spedding.

Workers replace bolts holding the watermain together. Some of the previous bolts rusted out, allowing the water main joint to separate slightly and leak water which eventually found its way into a sump pit in the basement of TASF.


CMI holds innaugural board meeting

CMI Director Alex King (back left) talks with advisory board members John Poate, Colorado School of Mines, (right) and Tom Graedel of Yale.


CMI  focus area lead  Bruce Moyer (left) chats with advisory board member Gretchen Baier of Dow.


Is it safe to come out?

Daffodils next to the east wall of Spedding were just starting to peek out on March 28 after a long
and extremely cold winter.

ImageHave you ever heard some hyped up story about the latest ‘crisis’ in the financial markets and wondered where you could get some straight information on what was really happening and whether you should do something to your retirement portfolio?  Have you ever read an email from Ann Doty here at ISU and said ‘I meant to watch that webinar but I forgot?’  Do you ever wish you could get information on your TIAA-CREF investments when it is convenient for you? 

No need to worry about any of these issues in the future because everything you need is on the TIAA-CREF web site! https://www.tiaa-cref.org/public/index.html

On the lower left in the section titled News & Insights you can read the Weekly Market Update where TIAA-CREF professional share with us what they feel are the important issues for those of us in the not-for-profit educational field.  This week’s topic addresses the issue of Ukraine and China on of the other 6 topics is Social Security benefits for surviving spouses.  They change weekly and it only takes a minute to click on the website and see if there is something of interest to you.

Missed one of my fabulous webinars?  No problem!  Click on the second tab on the top line: Advice & Guidance.   The lower right side of the drop down is titled Financial Essentials: Workshops & Webinars  and there are a variety of webinars you can watch any time from any internet connected device.

And if you want to see your current investment balances, update your beneficiaries, move money around in your retirement account, or change the investments for your new money each month, you can do that on line by clicking on the left hand side at Account Login if you remember your id and password and security question answer.  And if you are like most of us and don’t remember that because it could be one of 50 different ones you’ve used in the past year, call 1-866-207-6467 and follow the computer directions by giving your social security number and you can get it changed.  If you don’t like dealing with computer questions, hit zero a couple times and you typically get a person – they will walk you through the process.

Remember, all the employees at TIAA-CREF are on salary, not commission, so they are motivated to educate and not to sell you something you don’t need.

As you can probably tell, this is not a TIAA-CREF generated article for public consumption.  Next newsletter I’ll share with you some information about the fund choices in your retirement plan and how you can put your investments onto autopilot! 


Ann Doty, ISU Retirement Information Consultant

Nanoparticles assembled in new ways hold the promise of a wave of new high-tech materials that could offer high strength, enhanced magnetic properties, light reflectivity or absorption, use as catalysts and much more. Ames Laboratory scientists have developed a theoretical model to explore the effect of polymer coatings, including DNA, for self-assembly of nanocubes into so-called superlattices.

ImageWhat makes the work by Ames Laboratory physicist Alex Travesset and graduate assistant Chris Knorowski significant is that they have characterized how these nanocubes form crystalline and liquid crystalline structures. Their work was published in the Dec. 10 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society and mentioned in an Editor’s Choice article in the January 31 issue of Science.

“Spherical nanoparticles, are isotropic so they can align in any direction,” Travesset explains. “Nanocubes are different. They are anisotropic, so they display orientational order. They will only stack together if the faces orient in certain ways.”

“From a more applied point of view, cubes can pack together more efficiently than spheres; in configurations that do not leave any gaps,” he adds, “so they are of interest in areas such as catalysis where you want to maximize contact area.”

To date scientists had only considered theoretical systems that consist of hard nanocubes. However, by coating nanocubes with strands of polymer, the structures that form are bound together so that they can be extracted and studied in laboratory environments. The nanocubes can be metallic, gold or silver, or made of semiconducting material.


Travesset’s theoretical model uses both a general polymer and DNA. While both resulted in assembly of nanocubes into complex crystalline structures, the DNA system allows control of self-assembly by hybridization of complementary base pairs.

“With DNA, you can encode information about which cubes are going to assemble with which other cubes,” Travesset said. “It gives you a more precise way to target relevant self-assembled structures.”

“Because the system can be polymerized in water, the assembled structure can be extracted and used in dry environments,” Travesset said. “And these complex structures provide much more opportunity for applications and systems than simple hard cubes allow. We hope these systems will lead to further experimentation.”