ImageAll aboard!  No, no, no…it’s onboard.  The term is onboard particularly onboarding.  For some of you, this may not be a term you have heard, used or quite frankly even cared about in the past.  But it is important.  ONBOARDING.  Think of your past employment experiences specifically when you started a new job.  Remember the organization that provided you with information in an effort to acclimate you to the company versus simply throwing you to the wolves to figure it all out on your own?  The one that touched base with you on how things were going versus leaving you guessing?  These are just a couple of simple examples describing onboarding.  Onboarding can take many forms but its ultimate goal is to help new employees acquire the necessary knowledge they need to become effective members of the organization.

If you are wondering what kind of onboarding is offered at the Ames Laboratory/Iowa State University, check out the list below:

  • Onboarding Checklist – This is an optional tool supervisors can use as a guide throughout the first year of their new hire’s employment.  It includes items to complete prior to the employee’s first day on the job, discussions to have the first week and activities to complete until the employee’s one-year anniversary.
  • General Employee Training (GET) – This is required training for all new Ames Laboratory employees and provides general information about the Lab specifically focusing on safety.
  • University Orientation – This training is provided by Iowa State and covers a variety of policies ranging from discrimination and harassment to drug free workplace and conflict of interest.  It offers an opportunity to get to know other people across campus, learn about the culture and history of Iowa State, and find out about resources available to employees. 
  • Ames Laboratory Mentoring Program – Although this program is available to all employees, it can be particularly helpful for a new employee acclimating to the Lab.  Whether you are interested in finding a go-to person to help with questions, learning a new skill, or developing a plan for your career – the mentoring program may be just the right fit.
  • One-on-One Assistance – Ames Lab Human Resources provides an introduction to Halogen eAppraisal, AccessPlus and the Classification & Hiring System to help employees learn more about performance evaluations, where to find pertinent information and locate their position description.

As illustrated above, onboarding processes can vary greatly and range from very specific to quite informal.  However the format, research has shown their importance in retaining employees.  In partnership with all employees and supervisors, Ames Laboratory Human Resources hopes to continue growing the onboarding process at the Lab.  If you have any questions about onboarding or any of the items listed above, please contact Mallory Schon at 294-8062 or schon@ameslab.gov.

If you see students with reporter's notebooks around the Lab or get a phone call asking for an interview, it's most likely a student participating in the "Greenlee Project." The ongoing project assists budding science writers from the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Iowa State by providing them access to Ames Lab researchers.

The Greenlee Project, which has been in place for several years, assists students in Greenlee professor Michael Dahlstrom's science writing class by giving them an introductory overview about the Lab and then helping connect them with scientists so the students can produce articles. Ames Lab Public Affairs staff also provide input on student stories, including editing advice. The ultimate goal is that students generate articles for publication, whether for the Iowa State Daily or media beyond the ISU campus.

To find out more about the program and read stories produced by previous classes, click HERE.

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Ames Lab Public Affairs manager Steve Karsjen shows Greenlee students the Greenlee Project web page during the introductory session on Jan. 29.
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Ames Lab scientist Ryan Ott talks about his research with students during a group interview.

Five finalists have been named in the search for the director of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory.

The finalists are:

  • Emilio Bunel, division director, chemical sciences and engineering, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Alan Hurd, executive advisor, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Duane Johnson, chief research officer, Ames Laboratory
  • Adam Schwartz, division director, condensed matter and materials, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Patricia Thiel, faculty scientist, Ames Laboratory

Finalist interviews will begin the week of January 27. Each will meet with members of the Ames Laboratory and Iowa State communities, and participate in an open forum. All forums will be held from 10:30 a.m. – noon in 301 Spedding Hall. The schedule is:

  • Bunel, Monday, January 27
  • Thiel, Thursday, January 30
  • Hurd, Tuesday, February 4
  • Johnson, Thursday, February 6
  • Schwartz, Friday, February 14

The open forums will be recorded and posted on the Ames Laboratory website once the final forum has concluded.

Tom Lograsso, interim deputy director, and division director of materials sciences, is filling the role on an interim basis.

 

About the finalists

Emilio Bunel currently serves as director of the Chemical and Engineering Sciences Division at Argonne National Laboratory. Bunel earned a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Chile, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. He previously served in research positions at DuPont, Eli Lilly and Company, Amgen, and Pfizer before joining Argonne National Laboratory in 2008.

Alan Hurd, executive advisor at Los Alamos National Laboratory, returned to the lab recently from the U.S. Department of State, where he was a Franklin Fellow serving the Secretary’s science and technology adviser. He earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics from the Colorado School of Mines, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in physics from the University of Colorado. He previously served at Brandeis University, Sandia National Laboratory, the University of New Mexico, and the Santa Fe Institute.

Duane Johnson serves as chief research officer at the Ames Laboratory, and is the F. Wendell Miller Professor of Energy Science in Iowa State’s department of materials science and engineering. Johnson earned bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in physics from the University of Cincinnati. He previously served at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Sandia National Laboratories before joining Iowa State in 2010.

Adam Schwartz currently serves as division leader of the Condensed Matter and Materials Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and also leads the lab’s projects for the Critical Materials Institute. Schwartz earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in metallurgical engineering, and a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering, all from the University of Pittsburgh. He joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a postdoctoral research associate in 1991.

Patricia Thiel serves as a faculty scientist in the Ames Laboratory. She is also the John D. Corbett Professor of Chemistry, and distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering at Iowa State. Thiel holds bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Macalester College and the California Institute of Technology, respectively. She previously served at Control Data Corporation and Sandia National Laboratories before joining the Ames Laboratory and Iowa State in 1983.

Ames Laboratory researchers have demonstrated broadband terahertz (THz) wave generation using metamaterials. The discovery may help develop noninvasive imaging and sensing, and make possible THz-speed information communication, processing and storage. The results appeared in the Jan. 8 issue of Nature Communications.

Terahertz electromagnetic waves occupy a middle ground between electronics waves, like microwave and radio waves, and photonics waves, such as infrared and UV waves. Potentially, THz waves may accelerate telecom technologies and break new ground in understanding the fundamental properties of photonics. Challenges related to efficiently generating and detecting THz waves has primarily limited their use.

Traditional methods seek to either compress oscillating waves from the electronic range or stretch waves from the optical range. But when compressing waves, the THz frequency becomes too high to be generated and detected by conventional electronic devices. So, this approach normally requires either a large-scale electron accelerator facility or highly electrically-biased photoconductive antennas that produce only a narrow range of waves.

To stretch optical waves, most techniques include mixing two laser frequencies inside an inorganic or organic crystal. However, the natural properties of these crystals result in low efficiency.

So, to address these challenges, the Ames Laboratory team looked outside natural materials for a possible solution. They used man-made materials called metamaterials, which exhibit optical and magnetic properties not found in nature.

Costas Soukoulis, an Ames Laboratory physicist and expert in designing metamaterials, along with collaborators at Karlsruhe

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A THz spectrometer driven by femtosecond laser pulses was used to demonstrate THz emission from a split-ring resonator metamaterial
of single nanometer thickness.

Institute of Technology in Germany, created a metamaterial made up of a special type of meta-atom called split-ring resonators. Split-ring resonators, because of their u-shaped design, display a strong magnetic response to any desired frequency waves in the THz to infrared spectrum.

Image A team led by Ames Laboratory physicists demonstrated broadband, gapless terahertz emission (red line) from split-ring resonator metamaterials (background) in the telecomm wavelength. The THz emission spectra exhibit significant enhancement at magnetic-dipole resonance of the metamaterials emitter (shown in inset image). This approach has potential to generate gapless spectrum covering the entire THz band, which is key to developing practical THz technologies and to exploring fundamental understanding of optics.

Ames Laboratory physicist Jigang Wang, who specializes in ultra-fast laser spectroscopy, designed the femto-second laser experiment to demonstrate THz emission from the metamaterial of a single nanometer thickness.

“The combination of ultra-short laser pulses with the unique and unusual  properties of the metamaterial generates efficient and broadband THz waves from emitters of significantly reduced thickness,” says Wang, who is also an associate professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University.

The team demonstrated their technique using the wavelength used by telecommunications (1.5 microns), but Wang says that the THz generation can be tailored simply by tuning the size of the meta-atoms in the metamaterial.

“In principle, we can expand this technique to cover the entire THz range,” said Soukoulis, who is also a Distinguished Professor of physics and astronomy at Iowa State University.

What’s more, the team’s metamaterial THz emitter measured only 40 nanometers and performed as well as traditional emitters that are thousands of times thicker.

“Our approach provides a potential solution to bridge the ‘THz technology gap’ by solving the four key challenges in the THz emitter technology:  efficiency; broadband spectrum; compact size; and tunability,” said Wang.

ImageFebruary is Heart Month. The American Heart Association suggests six easy steps to cut your risk of heart attack.

  1. Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Tobacco smoke is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States.

    Quitline Iowa is a FREE telephone and online service available to Iowa residents 14 years of age and over.  The service connects callers with expert coaches that assist callers with overcoming common barriers such as dealing with stress, fighting cravings, coping with irritability and controlling weight gain. Those over 18, who enroll, can be eligible for up to 8 weeks of free nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gum or lozenges.  www.quitlineiowa.org

  2. Regular blood pressure checks.  High blood pressure makes your heart work harder, which puts more strain on the heart and arteries.  Your blood pressure is normal if it is 120/80 mm Hg or below.  You can stop in to Occupational Medicine and get your blood pressure checked anytime.

  3. Read labels. Make sure you eat foods low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol.

    One successful labeling system that will help you make good choices is the NuVal System at Hy-Vee.  NuVal stands for “nutritional value”. The NuVal™ System scores food on a scale of 1 to 100. The higher the NuVal™ Score, the higher the nutrition in that product. It’s that simple.

  4. Stay physically fit.  You don’t have to be an athlete to lower your risk of heart attack. Thirty minutes of moderate or brisk exercise three or more times a week is all it takes to help your heart.
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  6. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.  Excess fat around the waist makes you a higher risk for health problems. Watch your calories as well as the amount of fats and cholesterol you eat.  Stay away from fad diets. According to ABC News in a story dated May 8, 2012:

    $20 Billion: The annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.

    108 Million: The number of people on diets in the United States. Dieters typically make four to five attempts per year.

    85 Percent: The percentage of customers consuming weight-loss products and services who are female.

    "The very existence of the diet industry is proof of its ineffectiveness. If there were one safe, effective way to lose weight, then the others would be out of business," says Marilyn Wann, author of Fat! So?

  7. Have regular checkups.  Follow your doctor’s orders and if you feel any of the warning signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1!

    • Chest discomfort (Discomfort can include one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sweating
    • Nausea
    • Lightheadedness

Eating right, exercising, and living a healthy life style has been drilled into our heads for decades. To get started you have to take small steps and set realistic goals. It’s proven that diets don’t work. It’s really about portion control.  This month is about heart health. Here is a heart-healthy recipe to try. Good luck!

Take Care!

Your friends in Occupational Medicine
Mind-Body-Spirit

Heart-Healthy Recipe

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast

            1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

            1 (6 pound) bone-in turkey breast

            ½ c water in bottom of slow cooker

Directions

  1. Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast. Rub onion soup mix all over outside of the turkey and under the skin. Place in a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on High for 1 hour, then set to Low, and cook for 7 hours.

PS -- If anyone from the Lab is participating in Live Healthy Iowa, we'd like to know about your team and how you're doing!

For the past 24 years, Ames Laboratory has held the Regional High School Science Bowl and it would be an impossible task without the hard work of a dedicated group of volunteers who serve as moderators, judges, timers, scorekeepers and room runners. It takes approximately 100 volunteers to stage the day long event.

"We love our Science Bowl volunteers," says Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi,volunteer coordinator for Science Bowl. "Science Bowl is only possible because of our many loyal volunteers who generously share their time and expertise with the program each year. And we're so thankful for their support."

To recognize that service, volunteers were presented with five-, 10-, 15- and 20-year service pins during the opening ceremonies at this year's event which was held January 25. Pins were presented by Ames Lab's Chief Research Officer Duane Johnson.

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5 Years

Front (l-r) Stacy Althaus, Chelsea Clinton*, Baily Mader*, Leyi Yan, Emily Smith. Back (l-r) Heidi Bosenbert*, Ila Haugen, Sara Harris, George Vardaxis*, and CRO Duane Johnson. (Not pictured: Iryna Auferonak, Elizabeth Rohret)   * - former Science Bowl competitor

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10 Years

Donald Lewis, Deb Samuelson, Johnson, Stan Welp, and Leigh Ann Long.

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15 Years

Front (l-r) Allison Anderson, Mark Maffett, Cynthia Jenks; Back (l-r) Kay Lampe Hannasch, Johnson, Jim Brazelton. (Not pictured: Cynthia Feller, Steve Karsjen and Jim Anderegg)

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20 Years
Iver Anderson was the lone 20-year recipient.

A growing number of the volunteers were participants in Science Bowl as high schools students and have volunteered during their undergraduate and graduate years at Iowa State University. Students from a dozen different ISU student organizations helped stage this year's Science Bowl. Those organization are:

  • Iota Sigma Pi
  • National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
  • American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • Pi Tau Sigma
  • Physics and Astronomy Club
  • Iowa State Space Society
  • Eta Kappa Nu
  • ISU-American Nuclear Society
  • Women in Science and Engineering
  • Material Advantage
  • ISU-American Meteorological Society
  • Alpha Sigma Kappa

Ames High School defeated Des Moines Central Academy 50-36 in the championship match on Saturday, Jan. 25 to win the 2014 Ames Laboratory/Iowa State University Regional High School Science Bowl. Ames will advance to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl, April 24-27 in Washington D.C.

The win marked the eighth time Ames has won the championship in the 24-year history of the event. Ames last won in 2011. The Ames High School team is comprised of all juniors;  Nina VanDerZanden, Julia Meyer, Parm Banwait (male), Alex Lee (male) andYichen Xu (male). The team is coached by first-year coach Jacob Pleasants who teaches physics at AHS.

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(above) Ames High captain Nina VanDerZanden confers with teammate
Yichen Xu on a bonus question during the championship match.

 

 

(at right)  

2014 Champions: Front row: (l-r) Julia Meyer, Alex Lee, and Yichen Xu; Back row: (l-r) coach Jacob Pleasants, Nina VanDerZanden, Parm Banwait, and Ames Laboratory Assistant Director for Scientific Planning Cynthia Jenks.

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The championship match with Central Academy was a rematch for the two teams in the double-elimination math and science quiz-bowl event. In a quarter-final match, Central Academy was leading as time expired. Ames won the final toss-up question then correctly answered its 10-point bonus question to eke out a 46-44 win.

Central Academy, comprised of Max Pilcher, Granger Carty, Edel Aron, Luis Martinez and Vaibhav Srikaran, topped defending champion Pleasant Valley High School (Bettendorf) 60-54 in the semifinals to earn the rematch with Ames. Dubuque Hempstead finished fourth. To see the complete results of the afternoon finals competition, click here.

Sickness and scheduling conflicts reduced the field for this year’s event to 37 teams; down from 40. Other schools competing besides those listed above were:  Ankeny, Bettendorf, Boone, Boyer Valley (two teams), Cedar Falls, Centennial (Ankeny), Central Clinton (DeWitt), Chariton, Clear Creek Amana, Davenport North, Dubuque Senior, Fort Dodge, Greene County (Jefferson), Grinnell-Newburg, Home Schools of Eastern Iowa, Indianola, Johnston, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, LeMars, Lynnville-Sully, Madrid, Mid Prairie, Monticello, Mt. Pleasant, Ogden, Iowa City Regina, Council Bluffs St. Albert, Urbandale, Valley, Dubuque Wahlert, and Winterset.

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Here's a closer look at the material. Scroll down to find the answer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer: A 50-50 Polyester-Cotton blend. The photo was of the sleeves of this year's Science Bowl T-shirts laid out in preparation for the high school event which took place on Jan. 25. Between the high school and middle school Science Bowls it takes 350 T-shirts to clothe the volunteers and teams that make it to the Sweet 16!

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Contacts:                                                                For Release: Jan. 27, 2014
Steve Karsjen, Ames Laboratory, 515-294-5643

AMES, IA - Ames High School defeated Des Moines Central Academy 50-36 in the championship match here Saturday to win the 2014 Ames Laboratory/Iowa State University Regional High School Science Bowl. Ames will advance to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl, April 24-27 in Washington D.C.

The win marked the eighth time Ames has won the championship in the 24-year history of the event. Ames last won in 2011. The Ames High School team is comprised of all juniors;  Nina VanDerZanden, Julia Meyer, Parm Banwait (male), Alex Lee (male) andYichen Xu (male). The team is coached by first-year coach Jacob Pleasants who teaches physics at AHS.

Image Ames High captain Nina VanDerZanden confers with teammate Yichen Xu on a bonus question during the championship match.

The championship match with Central Academy was a rematch for the two teams in the double-elimination math and science quiz-bowl event. In a quarter-final match, Central Academy was leading as time expired. Ames won the final toss-up question then correctly answered its 10-point bonus question to eke out a 46-44 win.

Central Academy, comprised of Max Pilcher, Granger Carty, Edel Aron, Luis Martinez and Vaibhav Srikaran, topped defending champion Pleasant Valley High School (Bettendorf) 60-54 in the semifinals to earn the rematch with Ames. Dubuque Hempstead finished fourth. To see the complete results of the afternoon finals competition, click here.

Sickness and scheduling conflicts reduced the field for this year’s event to 37 teams; down from 40. Other schools competing besides those listed above were:  Ankeny, Bettendorf, Boone, Boyer Valley (two teams), Cedar Falls, Centennial (Ankeny), Central Clinton (DeWitt), Chariton, Clear Creek Amana, Davenport North, Dubuque Senior, Fort Dodge, Greene County (Jefferson), Grinnell-Newburg, Home Schools of Eastern Iowa, Indianola, Johnston, Cedar Rapids Kennedy, LeMars, Lynnville-Sully, Madrid, Mid Prairie, Monticello, Mt. Pleasant, Ogden, Iowa City Regina, Council Bluffs St. Albert, Urbandale, Valley, Dubuque Wahlert, and Winterset.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

2014 High School Science Bowl Results

News release

Results Bracket (pdf)

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First Place:

Ames High