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In this issue:
Inside BaBar's Control Room
Dorfan Today: Communications - Results of the Today Survey and an All Hands Recap
SSI Begins Today

SLAC Today

Monday - July 17 2006

Roberto Sacco (left) and Gabriele Benelli in BaBar's IR-2 control room.
(Click on image for larger version.)

Inside BaBar's Control Room

Day and night, weekends, weekdays, and holidays, physicists from around the world take shifts in BaBar's Interaction Region 2 control room. The BaBar detector records the products of the positron-electron collisions generated by the PEP-II rings. The two particle beams are carefully tuned to energies that, when combined, produce particles made of a bottom quark and its antiquark, or B-mesons.

"We take data as efficiently as possible and solve problems as they arise," explains shift leader Gabriele Benelli. "In BaBar things are very aggressive. On average, we're very close to 99 percent efficiency."

The main goal in the nine-year project is to generate as much usable data as possible about B-meson decays in the quest to understand the dominance of matter over anti-matter. Six separate systems—or subdetectors—within BaBar track, identify, and measure the energy of individual particles and photons that burst through the layers of chambers and sensors.  Read more...

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

Communications: Results of the Today Survey and an All Hands Recap

Maintaining excellent communication at all levels within the lab is vital. All of us have important information to transmit to our co-workers; doing it thoughtfully and effectively strengthens us as an organization. Last week's All Hands Talk was part of my continuing effort to keep you informed about the successes, challenges and future opportunities for our lab while at the same time providing me with feedback from all of you. I hope to develop more vehicles for enhanced communication in the coming year; your ideas are most welcome. Some of you may have missed the All Hands presentation; others may appreciate a recap. What follows is partially taken from my All Hands Talk, but not exclusively.

SLAC's scientific palette has never been as rich as it is today. With SPEAR3 and the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), SLAC is in a position to lead the world in photon science. The PULSE center is the first of an anticipated suite of institutes designed to ensure maximum exploitation of the key focus areas of LCLS and SPEAR3 science. The ongoing physics fountain of BaBar, our central leadership and contributions to the ILC and a world-class particle theory group means that our accelerator-based particle physics program remains at the forefront of world research. In the area of particle astrophysics, SLAC has led the way with GLAST followed by the creation of the Kavli Institute, which is bringing a forceful experimental, theoretical and observational onslaught to the pressing problems of dark energy and dark matter. 

SSI Begins Today

The 34th Annual SLAC Summer Institute, which begins today, will focus on the physics and detector of CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Starting in 2007, particle physicists there will accelerate protons to nearly the speed of light and smash them together in hopes of discovering new laws of the universe.

Nearly two hundred physicists from around the world will convene this week to address major questions related to the unprecedented energies and experiments scheduled for the LHC. Ten days of lectures and discussions will cover proton-proton collisions, interactions among subatomic particles, challenges in detecting rare events, and theories and progress in the quest to find the Higgs boson, the particle predicted by the Standard Model to give mass to elementary particles and the Model's only remaining undiscovered particle. Possibilities for discovering physics beyond the Standard Model, such as supersymmetry, will also be discussed.

One of the Summer Institute's many presenters will be theorist Lance Dixon, who will discuss ways to better predict how often different events will be seen in the detectors. "We know how to compute event rates using Feynman diagrams," he explains. "But it's a big job and must be organized in the right way."

Dixon's lecture will be a first for him at the Summer Institute. "I helped organize the school for about 12 years in a row, but I've never given a lecture here," he says. "It'll be interesting to see it from the other side of the aisle."

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