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In this issue:
SLAC Joins ATLAS Collaboration
Science Today: What will the Universe Look Like as Seen by GLAST?
New Sculpture at Kavli Building

SLAC Today

Thursday - July 20, 2006

CERN's ATLAS detector
(Image courtesy of Maximilien Brice.)

SLAC Joins ATLAS Collaboration

You may have noticed the busy crowd at the SLAC Summer Institute this week. The theme of this year's summer institute is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a proton-proton collider under construction near Geneva, Switzerland. What you may not know is that SLAC is also officially participating in both the LHC accelerator and the experimental programs.

On July 14, SLAC was officially accepted into the ATLAS collaboration, a consortium of researchers and institutions working on the ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS) detector at the LHC. Shortly thereafter, the laboratory was named a Tier 2 Computing Center for the collaboration. This makes it one of a few dozen institutions around the world that will support the computing effort for the experiment's data analysis and simulation.  Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

What will the Universe Look Like as Seen by GLAST?

(Image - GLAST simulation) Simulated image of the Supernova remnant RXJ1713.7-3946 for a 10-year's observation with GLAST in energies above 1 GeV. (Image courtesy of Stefan Funk.)

Following its launch in late 2007, the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) will explore the universe using gamma-rays, the most energetic form of light. These rays are more than a million times more energetic than the X-rays you get when you visit your dentist.

In order to get ready for data analysis, the GLAST collaboration has recently performed a "Data Challenge," which produced 2 months of simulated gamma-ray sky to exercise and improve data analysis tools. See a movie of the results here.

"The data challenges are a great start, but now we want to investigate details of individual sources that we might see," says Stefan Funk, who is working on predictions for supernova remnants, one of the classes of objects to be studied by GLAST. These objects are the aftermath of a supernova explosion in which a massive star blows itself apart. The force of the explosion generates a blinding flash of radiation, as well as shock waves analogous to sonic booms in which particles are thought to be accelerated to energies visible by GLAST.

According to Funk, we know that "Supernovae are the most violent events in our universe, they strongly influence the evolution of our galaxy but still we do not really know how gamma-rays are produced in these objects." By comparing the detailed simulations to the GLAST gamma-ray data, scientists will be able to test our basic understanding of particle acceleration mechanisms in the galaxy.

New Sculpture
at Kavli Building

(Photo - Schnieder with his "rippleator")
Artist Jim Schnieder stands by his "Articulating Solar Rippleator."
(Click on image for larger version.)

SLAC's Kavli Building just got a bright new addition.

Jim Schnieder installed his sculpture near the west entrance to the Kavli Building yesterday. The thick silvery disk sits at an angle on a metal ring atop a marble base. Concentric grooves on the piece catch the afternoon light.

Schnieder calls the piece the "Articulating Solar Rippleator." Looking at it and shifting your gaze has a rippling effect on your field of vision, he says.

Once he came up with the artistic concept, Schnieder says he visited scrap yards and machine shops from San Jose to Stockton. It took him eight months and 16 suppliers to complete the work.

Growing up in Long Beach, Schnieder would take tours of boiler rooms on the cruise ships headed to Catalina Island. "I've always been intrigued by massive metal assemblies," says Schnieder. "They're timeless."

The piece has been displayed at the Kaiser Center in Oakland and at the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley. He chose to lend SLAC his sculpture because "it looked like an appropriate home."

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