NSS Podcast

    The National Security Science podcast is a spin-off of National Security Science magazine. We bring you stories from the Lab’s Weapons Program—stories that show how innovative science and engineering are the key to keeping America safe. Or, as we like to say, better science equals better security.


    • The Los Alamos Neutron Science Center turns 50!

      The Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) turns 50 this month! On June 9, 1972, the facility's powerful proton linear accelerator reached an astounding 800 mega electron volts. This episode highlights the various ways this multipurpose facility supports the Lab's important national security work. 

      Related links:

      LAMPF Accelerator Reaches Full Energy,” The Atom, July-August 1972

      LAMPF: a dream and a gamble,” Los Alamos Science, winter-spring 1983

    • Cosmic custodians

      The United States has the tools—many of them developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in conjunction with Sandia National Laboratories and other entities—to detect nuclear explosions anywhere in, on, or above the world, at any time. One way Los Alamos does this is by developing specialized sensing instruments that live on satellites and are able to detect and measure the products of a nuclear explosion. At high altitudes and in outer space, the most easily detected products are x-rays, gamma rays, and neutrons. At lower altitudes, these products interact with the atmosphere and produce detectable optical and radio signatures. If certain levels of products are detected in the right proportions, the ground systems analyzing the sensor data can definitively identify a nuclear blast, estimate where and when it occurred, and gauge how big it was.

    • Holiday special featuring a 1964 holiday poem from "The Atom"

      Long before National Security Science magazine existed, Los Alamos published a monthly magazine called "The Atom". In this episode, the National Security Science magazine team wishes subscribers happy holidays and reads a poem out of The Atom’s December 1964 issue called, “Merry Christmas and all that stuff.”

    • The fourth atomic spy

      In September 2019, historians confirmed a fourth wartime spy at Project Y, the Los Alamos branch of the Manhattan Project. In this episode, National Security Science writer Weston Phippen talks to Los Alamos National Laboratory senior historian Alan Carr about Oscar Seborer’s time at Los Alamos and the spy’s possible contributions to the Soviet nuclear weapons program.

    • The Trinity test: then and now

      On the 76th anniversary of the Trinity test, NSS examines the test from two angles: from 1945, when the test occurred, and from 2021, when a group of Los Alamos employees traveled to the Trinity site to tour ground zero and the surrounding area.

    • Jane Hall: Queen of the hill

      It’s March, Women’s History Month. And for this podcast, we bring you the story of Jane Hall. Jane Hall came to Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in 1945. She had an incredible career as a nuclear physicist and as a manager. In 1955, she became the Lab’s first female assistant director, working closely with Director Norris Bradbury. In 1966, Jane was the first woman appointed to the General Advisory Committee if the Atomic Energy Commission, which offered guidance to top policy makers about scientific and technical matters relating to atomic energy.

    • Holiday special featuring Mary Tsingou

      In this special holiday mini-podcast, siblings and Lab employees Joel and Candace Vargas sing Christmas-themed intro to a conversation between writer Virginia Grant and Mary Tsingou Menzel. In the 1950s, Tsingou learned to program one of Los Alamos’ earliest computers, the MANIAC. She went on to become a coding expert and worked for Los Alamos for more than 30 years.

    • Salt Life: Go on patrol with an Ohio-class submarine that's ready to launch nuclear warheads at a moment’s notice.

      Ohio-class submarines disappear into the ocean for 70 days at a time, carrying 155 sailors, 24 nuclear-armed missiles, and more hot sauce than your local taqueria. Retired Naval officer Mark Levin gives a firsthand account.

    • A moment of glory: testing the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile

      The knowledge gained from testing the Minuteman III system has become more important than ever—even when things don't go as planned.

    • A wealth of stealth: An inside perspective on flying the B-2 Spirit bomber

      Los Alamos Air Force Fellow and B-2 pilot Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Steeves reads “A wealth of stealth,” a feature article that appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of National Security Science magazine. Steeves shares what it’s like to fly the B-2, a 31-year-old, 160,000-pound nuclear-capable bomber.