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In this issue:
SSRL Awards Honor Soltis, Schlotter
SSRL Recognizes Outstanding Students
Colloquium: LIGO and the Search for Gravitational Waves
HR Training Needs Assessment
Nature: Did the Big Bang Boil?

SLAC Today

Friday - October 13, 2006

SSRL Awards Honor Soltis, Schlotter

Mike Soltis (left) and Bill Schlotter were honored last night at SSRL's awards dinner. (Photo courtesy Diana Rogers. Click on image for larger version.)

Congratulations to scientist Mike Soltis and graduate student Bill Schlotter, recipients of the Farrel W. Lytle Award and the Melvin P. Klein Scientific Development Award. The two awards were presented at the 33rd Annual Stanford Synchotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) Users’ Meeting yesterday evening.

The Lytle Award, given annually since 1998, recognizes technical or scientific achievements in synchrotron radiation-based science as well as efforts to promote collaboration and efficiency at SSRL. Soltis received the honor for his leadership in developing and implementing advanced robotics and remote-access systems at SSRL's crystallography beam lines, and for developing many now-common techniques for cryo-cooling of crystals. Soltis, who has led the SSRL Macromolecular Crystallography Group since 1999, was also recognized for his role in establishing a world-renowned user-support program at SSRL.

"Mike Soltis represents perfectly what the Lytle Award represents," says Linda Brinen, a structural biologist on the faculty at UC-San Francisco and an SSRL user. "His dedication to making top-notch science succeed is constant, as is his unfailing ability to work with both staff and users. He is a true professional." Read more...

Colloquium Monday

LIGO and the Search for Gravitational Waves

(Photo - eye)

A Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

Gravitational waves, predicted to exist by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity but as yet undetected, are expected to be emitted during violent astrophysical events such as supernovae, black hole interactions and the coalescence of compact binary systems. Their detection and study should lead to a new branch of astronomy.

In Monday's Colloquium, Stanford's Norna Robertson will give an introduction to the topic of gravitational wave detection and, in particular, review the status of the LIGO project, which is currently taking data. Robertson will also look to the future to consider planned improvements in sensitivity for such detectors, focusing on Advanced LIGO, the proposed upgrade to the LIGO project. All are invited to attend. 

HR Training Needs Assessment

Please take a few minutes and complete the HR training needs assessment. This survey will help the Human Resources Training & Organizational Development (T&OD) office identify what educational courses or activities should be provided to employees. Your name will not be linked to the answers you provide.

Thank you in advance for your help.

SSRL Recognizes Outstanding Students

(Photo - Poster awards)
From left: Christopher Lentini, Wei-Sheng Lee, Alexandra Zidovska, Cori Demmelmaier (Photo courtesy Diana Rogers. Click image for larger version.)

Outstanding student work was recognized last night at the SSRL33 Users' Meeting awards dinner. Of the 70 posters presented during Thursday's poster session, 4 students were selected by a panel of SSRL Users' Organization judges for their noteworthy research in the fields of biology, environmental and materials science.

This year's recipients were Alexandra Zidovska, for her work in biology; Christopher Lentini, for his work in environmental science; and Wei-Sheng Lee and Cori Demmelmaier, who each conduct research in materials science. Each student will recieve a certificate and $100.

Nature: Did the Big Bang Boil?

Standard theories tell us that, at some point in the Universe's evolution, free quarks and gluons must have become bound together into the hadronic matter we see today. But was this transition abrupt or smooth?

The idea of phase transitions — abrupt changes in the state of matter — is familiar from such common sights as the bubbling water in a boiling kettle. Phase transitions on a grand scale may have taken place in the early Universe, both enriching and complicating Big Bang cosmology. For example, the early Universe's gas of quasi-free quarks and gluons must at some point have condensed into composite particles bound together by the nuclear strong force. Read more...

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