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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, August 2010
Date:7/29/2010

utron interactions with isotopes of platinum contradict a basic assumption underpinning random matrix theory, nuclear physics models and quantum chaos. For more than a half century, scientists have assumed that highly excited states in intermediate- to heavy-mass nuclides are chaotic, and that data support this assumption. However, new data from the Oak Ridge Electron Linear Accelerator strongly disagree. The new results suggest that the roughly 200 nucleons inside the platinum nuclei studied act in unison to exhibit regular rather than chaotic properties. Given the relatively high energy and large number of nucleons involved, such collective behavior is totally unexpected and unexplained. A possible explanation is that an even more fundamental tenet of theory--something known as form invariance--is violated. "Either way, as these assumptions underpin the nuclear statistical model, the impact of these new findings could be very broad throughout nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics and in applications such as nuclear energy," said ORNL physicist Paul Koehler. [Contact: Bill Cabage, (865) 574-4399, cabagewh@ornl.gov]

DNA REPAIR -- Molecular machines . . .

Ivaylo Ivanov of Georgia State University and colleagues used Jaguar http://www.nccs.gov/computing-resources/jaguar/, a Cray XT high-performance computing system at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to elucidate the mechanism by which accessory proteins called sliding clamps are loaded onto DNA strands and coordinate enzymes that enable gene repair or replication. "This research has direct bearing on understanding the molecular basis of genetic integrity and the loss of this integrity in cancer and degenerative diseases," says Ivanov, whose work appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Although clamp loaders from the different kingdoms of life (bacteria, viruses, animals, etc.) share many architectural features, they dif
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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