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In this issue:
Near Experimental Hall—Dig This!
Colloquium Monday: Mapping the Heavens
Photo of the Day: Hoisting an Undulator
SLAC Library Now Offers Touch Screen Checkout

SLAC Today

Friday - December 1, 2006

Photo courtesy of Bob Law.
Click on image for larger version.

Near Experimental Hall—Dig This!

Construction on the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) continues apace with the excavation of the Near Experimental Hall (NEH). The underground NEH will ultimately house three experimental hutches, workshops, and preparatory space for scientists working with the LCLS.

In mid-November, workers began excavating the underground facility by digging a pit layer by layer. A drilling rig gouges out rows of 40-foot-deep angled holes into the walls of each layer, into which steel anchoring rods are cemented to support the structure. Shot-crete—a sprayable concrete—is then applied over a welded-wire mesh to form a solid wall. Excavators then dig the next layer and the process begins again. When complete, the open pit will be four stories deep.  Click here to see photos of this process.

Colloquium Monday

Mapping the Heavens

(Image - Courtesy of SLAC InfoMedia)In next Monday's colloquium, Joshua Frieman will provide an overview of results from the on-going Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)—the most ambitious mapping of the Universe yet undertaken—focusing on those with implications for cosmology. His talk will include a virtual fly-through of the survey that reveals the 3-dimensional large-scale structure of the galaxy distribution. Recent measurements of this large-scale structure, in combination with observations of the cosmic microwave background, have provided independent evidence for a Universe dominated by dark matter and dark energy as well as insights into how galaxies and larger-scale structures formed.

Frieman will also describe early results from the SDSS Supernova Survey, which aims to provide more precise constraints on the nature of dark energy.

The colloquium takes place Monday at 4:15 in Panofsky Auditorium. All are invited to attend. Learn more...

Photo of the Day: Hoisting an Undulator

(Photo - undulator)
(From left) Scott Jansson, Yurii Levashov, Ed Reese and Eric Lundahl prepare one of 13 new LCLS undulators currently undergoing testing and calibration in the Magnetic Measuring Facility. These undulators, built by Argonne National Laboratory, weigh roughly a ton and contain rows of magnets 30,000 times stronger than the earth's magnetic field. When completed, the LCLS will comprise 33 undulators like this one to produce coherent x-ray laser pulses.

SLAC Library Now Offers Touch Screen Checkout

(Photo - Travis Brooks)
Travis Brooks demonstrates the library's new touch screen self-checkout system.

Check it out! SLAC Research Library users can now check out books using our new touch screen self-checkout system. The touch screen checkout system is intended to increase accuracy of book lending records, to save the time of the reader, and to align the SLAC Research Library with its high-tech surroundings. It's not as fast as an accelerator, nor as brilliant as a free electron laser, but as an experiment, touch screen borrowing has been a success.

With the new system in place, the SLAC Library Services team can now focus most of its energy on what it does best: using its research expertise to uncover the impossible and unearth the unfindable. Response to the new system has been positive, with engineers, physicists and administrators alike enjoying the challenge of the new technology.

To use the new touch screen (which is located in the library) simply find your directory listing by typing in your first or last name using the touch screen keyboard (your user name is okay too) and verify the information that pops up on the screen. Then, scan the barcode of each book you wish to check out. Touch "done" and you're done. That's it. The titles of all the books you have scanned will appear on the screen. If what you see is not correct, you may go back to correct errors. A paper notepad is available if you prefer to check out your book selections by hand.

Give it a try the next time you borrow a book.

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