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In this issue:
LCLS Drive Laser Achieves First Light
Science Today: String Theory, Black Holes and Quantum Gravity
SSRL Users' Meeting October 12-13
Computing Security Tip: Tricky Phishing Emails

SLAC Today

Thursday - July 27, 2006

Newsflash: NPR to Highlight SSRL's Archimedes Research

Physicist Philippe Hering, who helped design and build the laser, helps install it at Sector 20. (Click on image for larger version.)

LCLS Drive Laser Achieves First Light

A fundamental component of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) has seen its first ray of light. The injector drive laser—which will create the initial beam for the LCLS—arrived from France late last week. Crews spent all day Monday unloading the shipment's 10 crates.

"It's been a long time getting here, so it feels good," says LCLS Laser Group Leader Bill White. "We already got one of the pump lasers running Tuesday night, and we'll get the other two running soon."

The drive laser system is composed of many smaller lasers working together. When focused on the injector gun's cathode, they will create the supply of electrons that will generate x-rays at a later stage in the beam.  Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

String Theory,
Black Holes and Quantum Gravity

(Image - Black hole) Black hole image courtesy of the BBC.

As the leading candidate for a theory of quantum gravity, string theory promises to unify two of the great achievements of twentieth century physics: quantum mechanics and general relativity. In doing so, string theory provides new insights into the physics of gravity at very short distances. Many of the most exciting advances in the last several years have involved applications of string theory to the physics of black holes, in extreme settings where our intuitive ideas about space and time break down. The theory group at SLAC has been at the forefront of research in this area. For example, last year I, along with several collaborators, demonstrated that string theory can resolve several long-standing conceptual puzzles involving these mysterious objects.

Quantum mechanics and general relativity are undoubtedly two of the crowning achievements of physics. Quantum mechanics describes nature at very small length scales, such as the atomic or subatomic scales relevant for particle physics at SLAC. General relativity is a theory of gravity; it successfully describes the motion of very massive objects, like planets, galaxies or even the entire universe. Both quantum mechanics and general relativity have been been experimentally verified repeatedly over the course of decades. Nevertheless, the two theories are fundamentally incompatible.

SSRL Users' Meeting: October 12-13

The 2005 SSRL Users' Meeting

The 33rd Annual SSRL Users' Meeting will take place on October 12-13, 2006.  The meeting provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of research activities from SSRL and the synchrotron community.

New data, developments and plans for the future will be shared through talks, poster presentations, and workshops. There will be presentations on new opportunities for imaging and ultrafast science, structural biology, science highlights from the last year, and a young investigators session. All SSRL users are invited to attend.
Click here for meeting details.

Computing Security Tip: Tricky Phishing Emails

Last month, we explained how viewing e-mail in plain text exposes the tricks of phishing e-mails. We closed the article with a warning to be wary of clever e-mails and to use your own bookmarked URLs or to call your bank if you receive a suspicious message which purports to be from your bank.

This month we'll show you a phishing e-mail received at SLAC which wasn't exposed as a forgery by reading it in plain text. We had to go one step further to find out it was a phishing e-mail. Read more...

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