Down to a Science: A LANL Podcast

Solving national security challenges means turning to scientific and technological excellence. Tune in for stories from across Los Alamos National Laboratory that explore the many fascinating ways we’re working to do just that.


  • The historical accuracy of the Oppenheimer film according to a historian

    After the war, J. Robert Oppenheimer was a world-famous scientist that people recognized. Over time, that celebrity status faded and, even a year ago, Oppenheimer wasn’t majorly known in the world. Now, with the release of "Oppenheimer," his name has once again become recognizable to the average person. What did the film get right about J. Robert Oppenheimer? Los Alamos historian Alan Carr explains.

  • Searching for the elusive neutrino

    Neutrinos are one of the most abundant subatomic particles in the universe. Despite their abundance, our knowledge of neutrinos is limited as their minimal interactions with matter make them very difficult to detect. Today we’re talking with Sowjanya Gollapinni, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, about the elusive particle. 

  • Climate change may drive more frequent bark beetle outbreaks in our forests

    Forests are one of the most cherished natural habitats on the planet. Climate change brings more risk and uncertainty to their future. When thinking about climate change many people picture rising temperatures, increasing carbon emissions, fluctuating weather patterns, more wildfires and rising sea levels. Against that backdrop, how will climate change affect our forested ecosystems? 

  • How a trip to the Arctic could help us find life on other planets

    A team of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory recently returned from the Haughton Impact Crater in northern Canada, where they tested technology that could one day be used to search for life on other planets. Today on Down to a Science, we’re talking with Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist at Los Alamos, and Lisa Danielson, director of the Center for Space and Earth Science at Los Alamos, about their expedition to the Arctic. 

  • How 3D simulations help us understand our genetic expressions

    Genes are complex systems that determine a person’s eye color, hair color and susceptibility to certain diseases such as heart disease. What are the driving factors in genetic expression? That’s one question Karissa Sanbonmatsu, a structural biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is trying to answer by creating 3D simulations of genes. She explains how visual simulations at the molecular level will lead to a better understanding of genetic expression and better medical treatments. 

  • Fueling a sustainable future with biofuels

    In a world where there is an increasing need for clean energy an often overlooked solution is biofuels. Los Alamos National Laboratory's Babs Marrone talks about technologies that can combat carbon emissions.

  • A carbon-neutral future for the Mountain West

    With a place-based approach that emphasizes community-level input, I-WEST is looking at how best to incorporate technologies for decarbonization into the economies of the six-state Intermountain West region.

  • Megaflashes!

    Michael Peterson explains how — and why — researchers want to track rare monster lightning bolts that stretch for miles across the sky.

  • Community Connections: A summer science camp expands minds (and lives)

    Every year, LANL scientist Anna Llobet organizes a free summer camp for high-schoolers from New Mexico and beyond. With direction and inspiration from women in STEM, students dive into science.

  • Climatology: How does climate change affect disease spread?

    Climate change can make it easier for diseases to jump from animals to humans. Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers Andrew Bartlow, Jeanne Fair and Carrie Manore discuss the impact climate change has on infectious disease spread.

  • Special Episode: Remembering Sept. 11

    The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, changed the way Los Alamos National Laboratory thought about national security. In this special episode, we talk to three people from LANL who were deeply involved in national security efforts before, during and after 9/11.