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In this issue:
Public Lecture: Making Molecular Movies
Director's Column
Sprucing up for the Holidays
Safety Firsts

SLAC Today

Monday - December 11, 2006

Public Lecture: Making Molecular Movies

(Image - Public Lecture poster)
Image courtesy of SLAC InfoMedia

Movies have transformed our perception of the world. With slow motion photography, we can see a hummingbird flap its wings, and a bullet pierce an apple. The remarkably small and extremely fast molecular world that determines how your body functions cannot be captured with even the most sophisticated movie camera today. To see chemistry in real time requires a camera capable of seeing molecules that are one ten billionth of a foot with a frame rate of 10 trillion frames per second.

With the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), SLAC has embarked on the construction of just such a camera. In tomorrow's public lecture, "Making Molecular Movies: 10,000,000,000,000 Frames per Second," Kelly Gaffney will discuss how this molecular movie camera will work and how it will change our perception of the world. The lecture takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 12, in the Panofsky Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.

(Director's Column)

What an exciting week it's been. The lab has been humming with activity, and everyone must have felt a bit of the buzz—whether it was in the packed meeting rooms, the intense discussions on the walkways, or at the overflowing Linear CafĂ©. At the very least, everyone is sure to have noticed the very full parking lots. All this bustle is exciting not only for the energy it brings, but also because it indicates that SLAC is at the center of international research.

The BaBar collaboration meeting successfully wrapped up on Saturday after five productive days. Collaborators discussed an abundance of recent physics results, this Fall's PEP-II upgrade work, the just-completed muon upgrade project and a preliminary report on the plan for analysis beyond September 30, 2008, when the detector is scheduled to stop taking data. The BaBar collaboration continues to be strong, shown by the large international turnout for this year's meeting. The number of languages heard onsite must have doubled during the past week.

Across the quad, a very different kind of planning took place all last week in the Kavli Building, where more than 100 attendees of the LSST All-Hands meeting carefully considered how to build their program. Over the course of five days, the group discussed the funding, the structure, the engineering and, of course, the science of this ground-based telescope. This meeting was especially important for the collaboration not only because it was the largest yet, but also because it was the first to include non-U.S. scientists—a first step toward LSST becoming an international project.

Finally, two South Arc Beam Experimental Region (SABER) reviews took place last week. SABER is the proposed relocation of the FFTB to the south arc of the SLC and would allow the lab to continue high energy electron beam experiments with very short, intense bursts of electrons or positrons.

The Experimental Program Advisory Committee (EPAC) met early last week for an in-depth examination of the first experiments that would be done at SABER. The experimental proposals were well received by this international committee of high-level scientists from around the world. Later in the week, the Department of Energy brought a group of accelerator physicists to review the relocation proposal. They were complimentary of the plans and enthusiastic about the science opportunities of SABER. These reviews were an important step toward making SABER a reality, and I would like to thank everyone who participated for their hard work.

—Keith Hodgson

Sprucing up
for the Holidays

(Photo - Frank Topper)
Frank Topper decorated the halls of the A&E building this year.

It may not be so apparent from the sunny weather, but it's that time of year, and decorations are going up around the site to help get you in the mood.

Frank Topper in the Business Services Division had spruced up the top floor of the Administration and Engineering Building with swaths of wrapping paper, tissue paper constructions, and festive bows in unlikely spots. For the last seven years, Topper has been fishing for the best way to deck the halls. The first year he hung crepe paper from the ceiling, then experimented with cards, before finally settling on rolls of wrapping paper.

"It looks nice, and it's a whole lot easier," said Topper. Right before the holidays, people mark the wrapping paper with their names to take it home to reuse.

Kathleen Ratchiffe's office.
(Click on image for larger version.)

Over in Building 280, LCLS injection manager Kathleen Ratcliffe has suspended about 80 ornaments from her office ceiling and strung Christmas lights around the room. "It's great therapy," she said. "It was a great way to take my mind off the stress and brighten up the day of people who pass by." Ratcliffe, who is finishing her 22nd year at SLAC, has been decorating every season since she moved to her current office two years ago. "It gets more foot traffic, and I was inspired," she said.

Safety Firsts

When you plan your work, do you consider what you will do if something does not go as planned? Airplanes have to burn off or dump fuel if something goes wrong and they need to land just after takeoff, since their maximum landing weight is much lower than their takeoff weight. Can you guess how many pounds of fuel the newest Airbus plane needs to dump? (Hint: It's a big number)

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