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In this issue:
Particle Physics Roadmap Includes SLAC Projects
Science Today: Black Holes Made with Silicon
Benefits Fair Tomorrow
C'mon and Take a Free Ride (on the Marguerite)

SLAC Today

Thursday - November 9, 2006

Particle Physics Roadmap Includes SLAC Projects

(Image - P5)

How did the universe come to be? Are there extra dimensions of space? What is dark matter? These are just a few of the key questions the field of particle physics must answer in the future to determine what the universe is made of and how it works.

Now, a recent report by the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) lays out a roadmap for pursuing the answers to these questions. The report includes recommendations for developing and using new, more powerful scientific instruments, several of which have connections to SLAC and Stanford.

"It's an important document and an important panel," says Steve Kahn, deputy director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, "and it demonstrates that the field's priorities closely match SLAC's own priorities."  Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

Black Holes Made
with Silicon

This series of pictures show the inner 60 light-years of the first galaxy and are centered on the densest structure, which might form a supermassive black hole that contains thousands of solar masses. The colors highlight the volumes with similar densities.

Supermassive black holes existed even when the universe was less than one billion years old, and power some of the most luminous objects in the universe: quasars. But how do they form? Do small black holes, left behind by the earliest stars, feed continuously from the surrounding gases to grow in mass some 100 million fold? Well, that's one theory.

The other possibility is that they form on rare occasions. When an unusually large amount of material is compressed in the center of a galaxies, it may collapse very rapidly. In fact, this can happen so fast that it does not have time to break up into smaller lumps and form stars. Instead, the gaseous cloud attempts to make a star many thousands of times the mass of our sun. The huge inward gravitational pull of this enormous mass cannot be countered by even the thermal pressure from nuclear fusion in the center of the cloud. As a result, the mass collapses. In this complicated process, it could be that the cloud flattens into a disk and then breaks up into smaller pieces: stars. Their explosions could push the rest of the gas out of the system, leaving just some regular stars and a few small black holes orbiting each other. It has been difficult to study any of these processes theoretically. One needs to follow regions thousands of light years across from where the gas contracts to scales much smaller than a star. Read more...

Benefits Fair Tomorrow

The Open Enrollment period is coming to a close, ending SLAC employees' chance to change their benefits choices for the upcoming year. To learn more about your options, attend the SLAC Benefits Fair tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in the Panofsky Auditorium Breezeway. View the schedule...

C'mon and Take a Free Ride (on the Marguerite)

(Map - Marguerite shuttle)
(Click on image to view a real-time map of the shuttle's location.)

Some traditions never die—they just change form. Since the days of its construction in the 1880s, Stanford has been providing the university community with free transportation—first by horse and buggy, and later by electric streetcar.

These days, of course, the tradition carries on in the form of the free Marguerite shuttle. The Marguerite—named after a horse that is said to have belonged to the Stanford family—is open to Stanford users and the general public, providing transportation both on and around campus.

Two Marguerite routes serve SLAC. The regular SLAC shuttle runs to and from Hoover Tower on the Stanford campus, arriving at each stop along the route every 40 minutes. This shuttle operates weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., with the earliest arrival at SLAC at 7:48 a.m. and the last departure from SLAC at 8:30 p.m. The route includes three stops at SLAC: near the rear of the Kavli Building on Loop Road, in Parking Lot E, and in front of the Guest House.

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