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April 2012


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April 2011

New Releases

Interim Report-Status of the Study
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Interim Report-Status of the Study "An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy"

The scientific and technological progress in inertial confinement fusion has been substantial during the past decade. However, many of the technologies needed for an integrated inertial fusion energy system are still at an early stage of technological maturity. For all approaches to inertial fusion energy there remain critical scientific and engineering challenges.

In this interim report of the study "An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy," the Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems outlines their preliminary conclusions and recommendations of the feasibility of inertial fusion energy. The committee also describes its anticipated next steps as it prepares its final report.


Letter Report
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Letter Report: The Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant's Water Recovery System

The Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant's Water Recovery System discusses various aspects of the Water Recovery System design and the committee's findings and recommendations. This report specifically reviews the anticipated operability of the current WRS design and the materials of construction selected for the WRS. This report reflects the reservations and recommendations of committee experts and will assist the BGCAPP program staff in operating the plant in as trouble-free a manner as possible.

Recapturing NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities
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Recapturing NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities

Recapturing NASA's Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities discusses the motivation for NASA to pursue flight research, addressing the aspects of the committee's task such as identifying the challenges where research program success can be achieved most effectively through flight research. The report contains three case studies chosen to illustrate the state of NASA ARMD. These include the ERA program and the Fundamental Research Program's hypersonics and supersonics projects. Following these case studies, the report describes issues with the NASA ARMD organization and management and offers solutions. In addition, the chapter discusses current impediments to progress, including demonstrating relevancy to stakeholders, leadership, and the lack of focus relative to available resources.

Assessing the Reliability of Complex Models
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Assessing the Reliability of Complex Models: Mathematical and Statistical Foundations of Verification, Validation, and Uncertainty Quantification

Assessing the Reliability of Complex Models discusses changes in education of professionals and dissemination of information that should enhance the ability of future Verification, Validation, and Uncertainty of Quantification practitioners to improve and properly apply VVUQ methodologies to difficult problems, enhance the ability of VVUQ customers to understand VVUQ results and use them to make informed decisions, and enhance the ability of all VVUQ stakeholders to communicate with each other. This report is an essential resource for all decision and policy makers in the field, students, stakeholders, UQ experts, and VVUQ educators and practitioners.



Three DEPS Reports Cited in Agency Announcement

Three DEPS reports were cited in a March 2012 broad agency announcement on a software initiative by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) report Critical Code: Software Producibility for Defense assesses the growing importance of software for national security and examines how the U.S. Department of Defense can most effectively meet its future software needs. Another CSTB report, The Future of Computing Performance: Game Over or Next Level? , explores the implications of the historically dramatic slowdown of computing performance growth; the need for a new era of parallelism; and the associated scientific, engineering, research and education challenges. The third report from the Air Force Studies Board, Examination of the U.S. Air Force's Aircraft Sustainment Needs in the Future and Its Strategy to Meet Those Needs , explores potential methods for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Air Force weapon system sustainment enterprise.

Marketplace Interviews DEPS Scientist for Hydrogen Car Talk

hydorgen_fuel_cell_vehicleSenior Scientist Alan Crane from the Board on Energy and Environmental Systems was recently interviewed for a Marketplace program on hydrogen-powered cars that was aired on National Public Radio. These vehicles could be introduced commercially in 2015 in Japan and Germany.

You can listen to the brief program online or read a transcript.


Related DEPS reports:

Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership:Third Report

Transitions to Alternative Transportation Technologies--A Focus on Hydrogen

The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs



Interested in Physics and Astronomy?

The Board on Physics and Astronomy recently released the latest edition of their biannual newsletter, which reports on current and upcoming activities at the BPA and discusses interesting new science topics. To subscribe to the BPA newsletter please send an e-mail message to listserv@LSW.NAS.EDU with the command "SUBSCRIBE BPA-NEWSLETTER" in the body of the message. All issues are posted online at

DEPS to Participate in 2nd Annual USA Science and Engineering Festival

festival logoThe 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival, the largest celebration of science in the U.S. with more than 3,000 interactive exhibits and activities, encourages people of all ages to have fun with science and engineering. The National Academies exhibit invites visitors to become a citizen of Decisiontown, USA and make choices that are informed by science, engineering and medicine. Details on the Festival, which will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on April 28-29, are available at

Upcoming Meetings

April 9-10, 2012
Committee on Marinehydrokinetic Energy Technologies
Board on Energy and Environmental Systems
Washington, D.C.

April 25-27, 2012
Implementation of a Sustained Land Imaging Program
Space Studies Board
Washington, DC






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