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In this issue:
The Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy Formation
Science Today: SSRL - Revealing the Structure of a Hereditary Disease
Minor Delays Expected on Loop Road Today
Jamboree on the Green: Only a Few Days Away

SLAC Today

Thursday - June 8, 2006

A computer simulation of the environment around a Population III star. (Image courtesy of Ralf Kaehler and Tom Abel.)

Hitchhiker's Guide to Galaxy Formation

One hundred million years after the Big Bang, giant primordial stars heated, ionized, and pushed the gas around them to form present-day stars and galaxies. And now, for the first time, we can see it happening—in a 3-D simulation.

"The stunning thing about the simulation is its resemblance to star-forming regions in our own galaxy, as seen from the Hubble telescope," says SLAC's Tom Abel, whose team at the Kavli Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) developed the mathematical model for the simulation.

The dazzling images from the simulation take us back to an epoch when the first stars—massive twinklers millions of times brighter than the sun—lit up the universe.   Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

Revealing the Structure of a Hereditary Disease

(porphyria) 
A defective enzyme in people with the disease porphyria causes the build-up of a small molecule that fluoresces red under UV light. The excess can cause acute attacks of abdominal pain, neurological dysfunction and other severe symptoms.

X-ray light at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) recently shone on a human enzyme that helps synthesize heme, the iron-containing pigment that helps carry oxygen to all parts of our bodies. There are many enzymes along the chemical pathway that produces heme. Defects in any one of the enzymes can cause different types of porphyria, a set of symptoms that includes acute pain, neurological problems, and even the madness suffered by King George III.

At SSRL, researchers from the University of Texas Medical School gained new insight into one of these enzymes, called CPO. CPO executes one of the later steps in making heme, and when defective, is responsible for a hereditary type of porphyria that causes acute abdominal pain, hypertension, tachycardia and neurological dysfunction.

Defective CPO can lead to an excess of one type of small molecule in the body, at times causing life-threatening conditions. In addition, defective CPO can hamper heme production. If diagnosed early, this type of porphyria can be treated with a high carbohydrate diet and the addition of heme through an I.V.  Read more...

Minor Delays Expected on Loop Road Today

(Photo - Loop Road) This morning, contractors will block off part of Loop Road outside the Kavli Building in order to pull cable through a manhole.  The road will remain open, but please be alert when driving through this area.

Jamboree on the Green: Only a Few Days Away!

Tickets for this year's Juneteenth celebration are currently on sale. (Image courtesy of Delicia Gipson.)

Jamboree on the Green, SLAC's annual Juneteenth celebration, is fast approaching. From 11:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16, SLAC employees, users, family and friends are invited to relax on the main lawn, indulging in finger-licking ribs, succulent grilled chicken, and juicy links.

Bring your lawn chair, your favorite picnic blanket or a beach towel and soak in the sounds of great music. This is an opportunity to celebrate America's incredible black history while catching up with your coworkers.

Tickets are available now from:
Stephanie Carlson (x2033)
Lovetta Dunn (x2388)
Wanda Elliott (x4305)
Yvette Ladd (x2211)
Sharon Oden (x4460)
Ben Smith (x2638)
Michelle Smith (x4154)
Pauline Wethington (x4559)

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