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In this issue:
SLAC Family Day This Saturday
Profile Today: Nicole Thomas: Bonsai and Muscle Cars
Safety Discipline Report
CERN Switches on Beam to Gran Sasso
Ray Davis: Indefatigable Neutrino Pioneer

SLAC Today

Wednesday - September 13, 2006

SLAC Family Day This Saturday

(Photo - Family Day)
Help make Family Day even better this year by registering or volunteering today.

The big biennial bash is upon us: SLAC Family Day takes place this Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. here at the lab.

Not registered yet? While there are no tickets for Family Day, the committee does ask that those attending RSVP online to ensure we have an accurate count for the catering.

This year's event offers activities for all: great BBQ catered by Jeff Machado Elegant Cuisine, fun crafts for kids in the Kidz Korner, Midway games, an inflatable slide, a volleyball tournament, a variety of classic and unique vehicles, and more. The main stage will feature DJ'd music and a flamenco and belly dancing performance by Cecilia Glower and her dance group. The afternoon will also include the debut performance of an original song about SLAC. There will also be live science demonstrations and tours of the lab.

Volunteers are still needed, especially from noon to 3:30 in the Kidz Korner, where kids will create unique buttons, superhero masks and candy necklaces. Sign up to volunteer online. Even one hour can help make the day a success.

There's still time to get front row parking! Simply register your unique or classic vehicle with Barbara Hemstad.

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Nicole Thomas:
Bonsai and Muscle Cars

(Image - Nicole Thomas)
(Click on image for larger version)

Not many car enthusiasts can claim allergies brought them to a career at a library. But SLAC Research Specialist Nicole Thomas is not your typical car enthusiast—or your typical librarian.

Thomas, an Oregon native, moved to the Bay Area with her husband Phil four years ago and has worked as a research specialist for the last two years.

"I used to want to be a mechanic, but I found I was allergic to grease," Thomas says. "I loved putting things together, making them fit."

Last December, Thomas said goodbye to her beloved 1965 Mercury Comet, a car she credits with saving her life. Its sheer bulk, she says, minimized the impact during a wreck that could have been much worse. But, she admits, fuel prices and other factors made keeping the Comet an impracticality, thus bringing to a close the most recent chapter of Thomas' love of auto mechanics.

But such a loss to the world of car repair has been SLAC's gain. Thomas fits the role of research specialist well, having traveled around the globe, while keeping ever busy with a stable of diverse interests. Most recently, she and her husband have undertaken bonsai, or the cultivation of dwarf trees.

"I guess when you live in small places, you look for small things to decorate with," she says. "One thing we learned is you end up killing a lot of them, trying to make them do something they don't want to do."

Despite the pangs of her missed career in auto mechanics, Thomas says she has wanted to work in a library all her life. In her role at SLAC, she and her coworkers chase down often obscure threads of information for researchers as far away as CERN and KEK.

"Most of all I just love books," she says. "But this is a special library. It's neat seeing where in the world people write in from."

Safety Discipline Report

During the last two quarters, two SLAC staff were terminated for safety reasons related to the misuse of alcohol. No other safety discipline was taken during this period.

CERN Switches on
Beam to Gran Sasso

CERN has switched on a new neutrino beam, aimed through the earth to the INFN Gran Sasso Laboratories some 730km away near Rome. This is the latest addition to a global endeavour to understand this most elusive of particles and unlock the secrets it carries about the origins and evolution of our Universe. The start of the project was marked today by a ceremony at the Gran Sasso Laboratories attended by Italian Minister for Universities and Research, Fabio Mussi, and CERN Director General Robert Aymar.

"CERN has a tradition of neutrino physics stretching back to the early 1960s," said Dr. Aymar, "this new project builds on that tradition, and is set to open a new and exciting phase in our understanding of these elusive particles."

The CNGS beam and the experimental devices constructed in the Gran Sasso Laboratories to study neutrino interactions are part of a project aimed at shedding light on the mysterious phenomenon of the oscillation of these particles. Read more...

Ray Davis: Indefatigable Neutrino Pioneer

(Image - Peter Rosen)Author S. Peter Rosen is a senior science advisor for the Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy. He is on temporary assignment to the National Science Foundation. In this article, he looks back at the man who brought his deft chemical touch to the study of neutrinos, and created one of the iconic experiments of the 20th century.

(Image - Raymond Davis)Raymond Davis Jr., discoverer and grand pioneer of Raymond Davis the solar-neutrino problem, died on 31 May at the venerable age of 91. In 1968 he discovered the solar-neutrino anomaly and more than three decades later he received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Read more...

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