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In this issue:
WIS Seminar: The Intelligent Design Debate
Dorfan Today: Stanford's SLAC Contract
Al Ashley Fellowship Workshop
symmetry: Breaking for Families
Globies: Nomination Forms Due Today

SLAC Today

Monday - March 27, 2006

(Photo - Janet Stemwedel)
Dr. Janet Stemwedel

WIS Seminar: The Intelligent Design Debate

The battles over whether intelligent design should be taught in science class force scientists to re-examine their interactions with the public. What does the public understand about scientific methodology, evidence, and theories? What do scientists understand about the public’s concerns around scientific theories and science education? In a pluralistic society, is there a way for people with strong religious commitments and people with strong scientific commitments to find common ground?

These are the questions Dr. Janet D. Stemwedel will tackle in Tuesday's WIS Seminar, "The Intelligent Design Debate, and the Challenges of Effective Communication Between Scientists and Laypeople."

Stemwedel has Ph.D.s in physical chemistry and philosophy of science. She has watched the evolution battle as an indicator of the level of public understanding of science, as an example of the challenge of communicating effectively with non-scientists, and as a gauge of the place of science in the public sphere.

This seminar will take place on Tuesday, March 28, from noon until one p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium.

Read more on the WIS website...

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

Following authorization by Congress in September 1961, the Stanford Trustees, in April 1962, entered into an historic agreement with the Federal Government. Free of any rental fee, 480 acres of Stanford land were leased to the government for fifty years. And without charging an operating fee, Stanford agreed to manage and operate an extensive and esoteric scientific enterprise—The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. With the establishment of that Lease and Contract, SLAC was born. Groundbreaking was in July 1962 and the $114M construction project was completed on-time and on-budget in 1965.

Roughly every four years since then, the Contract has been renewed; currently we are operating under the ninth such contract. The original agency with which we partnered was the Atomic Energy Commission, followed by the Energy Research and Development Administration and since 1977, the Department of Energy. The no-rent, no-fee approach, unique within the Laboratory complex, has remained the core principle of Stanford's management approach, reflecting Stanford's clear prioritization of promoting Science for the Nation above any considerations of profit. The fifty-year-old lease will expire in 2012 and the current contract elapses in September 2007.

By any measure, SLAC has been an exceptionally successful partnership between the federal government and the contractor (Stanford) and a relationship that the University is eager to extend for decades to come. Accordingly, last October the University provided DOE with an Assurance Letter declaring its agreement to enter into an extension of the SLAC Lease. This February, the Secretary of Energy authorized the DOE Office of Science to "immediately begin negotiations with Stanford for a new Lease or Lease extension/renewal..."

DOE has begun assembling the paperwork that will set the ground-rules for the Contract renewal process. Informal discussions regarding the commencement of a Lease renewal process began last week with the visit of DOE Under Secretary David Garman. I fully expect both of these processes will conclude successfully before the Fall of 2007.

Globie Nomination Forms Due Tonight at Midnight

(Image - Globies)Nominations for the 2006 Employee Recognition Awards ("globies") are due by midnight tonight.

Globies are about people promoting a positive, respectful, and harmonious work environment. They're about good citizenship and making us enjoy being here at SLAC.

Please encourage SLAC's positive work environment by nominating someone who makes your life at SLAC better.

Online nomination form

Al Ashley Fellowship Proposal Workshop

Take your career to the top with an Ashley Fellowship
(Image courtesy of Delicia Gipson)

Applications for the Ashley Career Development Fellowship are due June 30, 2006. To help applicants prepare their proposals, Staff Development Officer Pauline Wethington will offer a workshop on Thursday, April 13, from 10:00 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. in the Orange Room.

"I encourage potential applicants to come and learn from past successful proposals," said Wethington. "This workshop will help you prepare the best proposal you can and increase your chances of being awarded a fellowship."

The Ashley Career Development Fellowship is an opportunity for SLAC employees to further develop their careers while contributing to the mission of the lab. The one-year fellowship can help employees develop and implement programs and projects, explore new job opportunities, and take time off to further their education.

Workshop space is limited, so don't delay! To reserve a seat in this workshop, please RSVP to Pauline Wethington by April 7, 2006.

More information on the Ashley Fellowship...

symmetry: Breaking for Families

By Kendra Snyder
Women physicists find taking a leave is often hazardous to their career.

(Photo - Elizabeth Freeland)

Like many women in science, Elizabeth Freeland must balance her family with her work.

From the time she earned her PhD, it took almost a decade for Elizabeth Freeland to get where she is now, crunching numbers for Fermilab's Theoretical Physics Department on the third floor of Wilson Hall. After receiving her doctorate in condensed-matter physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1996, Freeland took a five-year career break for motherhood before returning to the field. She was met with a series of hurdles built by her absence. "There's this mindset that if you take time to do anything but physics, then you're not serious," Freeland says.

Geography limited Freeland's initial job search. Her husband, also a physicist, accepted a job at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Freeland followed, unable to find a job in her own field. Shortly afterward, she followed again when her husband accepted a job at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. Freeland always wanted to have children, and she says she didn't want to push her personal dream aside for a professional one. So in 1999, the couple had their first child, Raymond. "I didn't want to have children when I was 40," Freeland says. "I wanted to have them in my late 20s or early 30s, which is not the best time in terms of an academic or science career." Read more in symmetry...

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