SLAC Today is available online at:
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In this issue:
Bs Take an Early Break
Panofsky Fellows Tackle Supernovae and Detector Triggers
Construction Behind Panofsky Auditorium
Symmetry Magazine Highlights LHC

SLAC Today

Friday - August 18, 2006

(Image - BaBar detector)

Bs Take an Early Break

The fifth BaBar data taking run came to a close late last night when a small cable fire broke out in Interaction Region 4. The fire started as an experiment aimed at future improvements to the accelerator neared its end, damaging cables in a limited area of the PEP-II ring well away from the BaBar detector, which is located in Interaction Region 2. No one was hurt and all emergency equipment worked properly, containing the fire quickly.

The root cause of the fire is not yet clear, but it most likely started near a fan installed to cool a kicker, a component used by the accelerator feedback systems to control the beams. Such a fire is the first of its kind for PEP-II.

Investigations into the root cause of the fire will continue today and possibly into the weekend.

The shutdown was scheduled to begin Monday morning with a full program of updates and modifications on PEP-II and BaBar. Over the course of the four-month shut down, the BaBar detector and the PEP-II rings are scheduled to see major improvements, along with routine maintenance and safety checks.  Read more...

Panofsky Fellows
Tackle Supernovae
and Detector Triggers

This year's Panofsky Fellows recently relocated to SLAC, but they're already immersed in their research.

Saurabh Jha, in the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), works on more accurately measuring supernovae brightness, because it gives scientists a picture of how rapidly the universe is expanding. It turns out that the type of supernovae used as the yardstick is not always the same "length," so Jha looks for signs that a particular supernova is brighter or dimmer than normal.

"Making supernovae into better distance indicators will help us characterize the nature of dark energy that drives the accelerating Universe," Jha said.

He will be working with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey 2 and on developing analysis methods for the future Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

Ariel Schwartzman is working on the innermost tracking detector of ATLAS, one of the new LHC experiments at CERN in Geneva. This pixel detector measures the trajectory of particles. He will work with SLAC colleagues to commission it next year, and is developing fast algorithms for which events should trigger the detector.

"We want triggering on b quarks, which are important signatures for new physics," he said. "We expect more than a thousand particles per collision. It's a very challenging environment."

Construction Behind
Panofsky Auditorium

(Photo - construction)
SLAC workers moved strips of grass Thursday to access and replace a drainage system under the lawn near the auditorium breezeway. The current system does not drain the area and has turned outdoor events into mudfests. The work is scheduled to be completed within two weeks.

symmetry Highlights Large Hadron Collider

(Image - symmetry)The most recent issue of symmetry magazine will arrive in mailboxes this week. It focuses on the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator set to go online at CERN in 2007.  The machine will allow access to physics at an energy scale about ten times higher than has been open to exploration so far.  The issue includes a description of the construction, physics and data analysis on this exciting new project.
Read symmetry online...

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