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In this issue:
SLAC Theoretical Physicist Stanley J. Brodsky Awarded Sakurai Prize
Dorfan Today: SLAC Helps Enable Chemistry Nobel
Cavalieri and Fritz Share 2006 W.E. Spicer Award
Safety First

SLAC Today

Monday - October 9, 2006

SLAC Theoretical Physicist Stanley J. Brodsky

(Image - Stan Brodsky)
Stan Brodsky

Awarded Sakurai Prize

SLAC offers its warmest congratulations to Theoretical Physicist and faculty member Stanley J. Brodsky, recipient of the 2007 J. J. Sakurai Prize for Theoretical Particle Physics. The Sakurai Prize is awarded annually by the American Physical Society to recognize and encourage research in particle physics and is one of the highest honors given in the field of high energy physics.

Brodsky's work has deepened our knowledge of the nature of quarks and gluons within protons and neutrons, and his analyses of how these subatomic particles behave have improved our fundamental understanding of matter. An important set of principles which bears his name (developed at SLAC with colleague Glennys Farrar) are the Brodsky-Farrar Counting Rules, which help researchers predict how subatomic particles behave during high-energy collisions. A fundamental basis for the counting rules within the theory of quarks and gluons—quantum chromodynamics (QCD)—was established by Brodsky and his former student at SLAC, G. Peter Lepage. Brodsky has also developed other physical principles underlying QCD, novel experimental tests of fundamental theory, and new methods of theoretical analysis.  Read more...

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

SLAC Helps Enable Chemistry Nobel

Congratulations to Roger Kornberg for winning the 2006 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. As Kornberg stressed at the press conference on campus last Wednesday morning, many people helped with and contributed to the research projects that led to the prize. Indeed the development of the key elements and tools extended over many years starting with Kornberg's doctoral thesis. And SLAC played an important role in the research by providing the tools for imaging the protein complex that is responsible for transcription.

Since the early 1990s, Kornberg and his group studied transcription at SSRL, in particular taking advantage of the unique properties of beamlines 9-2 and 11-1. By passing the lab's extremely bright x-rays through crystallized samples of a large multi-protein complex and watching how the x-rays scattered, they were able to reveal the three-dimensional atomic structure of the constituent proteins. This high level of detail allowed Kornberg to view these complex structures and offered the first real understanding of the defining elements of transcription.

At the press conference Kornberg expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to make full use of SSRL's unique resources: "We could not have solved the problem that was noted in the Nobel Prize announcement without the exceptional facilities given to us by SLAC. They were indispensable." It is very gratifying when a research project we are associated with is accorded the highest prize in science and the SLAC staff can be justifiably proud to have contributed to this breakthrough research

The scientific productivity of SLAC-based science has been prodigious and of exceptional quality leading to three Nobel Prizes in Physics. But this time it's different. Last week's prize was awarded for Chemistry, not Physics, and the culminating measurements were done on an x-ray beam line rather than with high-energy particle beams. As earth moving machines forge the outline of the LCLS, I am filled with hope that SLAC's first contribution to a Nobel Prize using x-ray beams is the beginning of a new tradition.

Congratulations again to Roger Kornberg and his team.

Cavalieri and Fritz Share 2006 W.E. Spicer Award

(Cavalieri and Fritz)
David Fritz (left) and Adrian Cavalieri

The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) and the SSRL Users' Organization are pleased to announce that Adrian L. Cavalieri and David M. Fritz have been chosen to receive the 2006 William E. Spicer Young Investigator Award. The joint award, which consists of a plaque plus a shared $1,000 prize, will be presented at the 33rd Annual SSRL Users' Meeting awards dinner on Thursday, October 12. The following day, during the Young Investigators' Session, Cavalieri and Fritz will deliver presentations about their work: Clocking Femtosecond X-rays and Mapping the Excited State Potential Energy Surface of Bismuth, respectively.

Although they have just begun their professional careers, Cavalieri and Fritz have contributed greatly to synchrotron research. They have worked on many revolutionary experiments and have authored or co-authored several peer-reviewed publications in prestigious journals.

Cavalieri receives this award for adapting the electro-optic sampling technique to the SLAC linear accelerator, sensing each high-energy ultrashort electron pulse and providing femtosecond-level information about the pulse shape and arrival time. This work takes a great step towards solving one of the most difficult technical issues associated with the use of linear accelerators as ultrafast x-ray sources, providing a basis for precise synchronization between the x-ray source and experimental dynamics.

Fritz receives this award for developing a data-collection method which uses an electro-optic sampling technique to time-stamp x-ray diffraction data taken with the Sub-Picosecond Pulse Source, and for demonstrating the utility of this method in a seminal study of the laser-excited transient state in bismuth. This work greatly expands the scope and precision of time-resolved experiments using linac-based x-ray sources by exploiting their natural timing jitter to explore the full time range of interest, while maintaining a resolution commensurate with the femtosecond-level pulse length.

Safety Firsts

Most of our time is spent—and nearly all of our injuries occur—doing familiar, common, seemingly low risk activities. Is there some simple way to enhance the safety of these activities?

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