SLAC Today is available online at:
http://today.slac.stanford.edu
In this issue:
Synchrotrons Help Reveal the Nature of Comets
Colloquium Monday: High Performance Neural Prostheses
Blood Drive Today
Great Holiday Gifts for Sale in the Guest House Gift Shop
ILC NewsLine: On the Road to Developing U.S.-Indian ILC Collaboration

SLAC Today

Friday - December 15, 2006

Synchrotrons Help Reveal the Nature of Comets

Sean Brennan used synchrotron x-rays to study samples from comet Wild 2. The image on the monitor shows a magnified view of a cometary particle track embedded in aerogel. (Click on image for larger version.)

Cometary particles returned to Earth by the Stardust spacecraft are yielding precious information about the origin of the solar system, thanks in part to a collaboration that includes the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) and several other of the world's synchrotron light-source facilities. Although the particles are tiny, the x-ray beams available at synchrotrons can be even smaller, enabling researchers to illuminate the cometary material and in some cases determine the distribution of elements within the particles without damaging them. These results describe the overall chemistry of the samples returned by Stardust, and are published as part of a special series of papers in the Dec. 15, 2006, edition of the journal Science.

"Information from this comet is important because it should be close to the starting material from the beginning of the solar system," said SSRL researcher Sean Brennan. These materials, which have spent most of their time in the distant reaches beyond the orbit of Jupiter, have remained unaltered by the intense environment of the inner Solar System. "As soon as you turn on the nuclear reaction called the Sun, you start changing the material close to it," he says.  Read more...

Colloquium Monday

High Performance Neural Prostheses


Neuron image by Galeria Maxon

The body's seemingly effortless ability to reach out and swat a fly or grab a cup belies the sophisticated neural computations of the nervous system. It has long been recognized that, before moving, the body somehow prepares neural activity to create the desired movement. But the goals of movement preparation and the underlying neural mechanisms remain poorly understood.

In next week's colloquium, Stanford Professor Krishna Shenoy will describe his recent investigations into how the cerebral (pre-motor) cortex prepares and helps execute movements. He will also discuss real-time electronic systems which are capable of translating neural plans into prosthetic movements.

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

ILC NewsLine:
On the Road to Developing U.S.-Indian ILC Collaboration

At the National Academies of Sciences' US-India Conference in June 2006, U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman delivered a speech about the benefits of US-Indian collaboration on science and technology. Referencing the bilateral Agreement on Science and Technology, signed by the U.S. and India in October 2005 to establish a framework for the exchange of ideas, information, skills and technologies, Bodman encouraged collaboration between the two countries on the proposed International Linear Collider. Read more...

Blood Drive Today

(Logo)SLAC will host a blood drive in the Panofsky Auditorium Lobby today from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. This drive is open to all members of the SLAC community and the general public.

All donors will receive a free t-shirt featuring artwork from children at the Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. Additionally, two random donors will receive a gift certificate for four AMC movie tickets, candy, popcorn and a drink.

To donate blood, you must:
- Be at least 17 years of age
- Weigh at least 110 pounds
- Be feeling healthy
- Be well hydrated
- Eat before donation

To schedule an appointment online, log onto the Stanford Blood Center website and click on "Find a Mobile." Below the list of cities, next to "Search by Sponsor Code," enter SLA5323. Click on the date of the drive and then follow the prompts to schedule your appointment.

Appointments will be given priority, but walk-ins are always welcome!

Please contact Lauren Barbieri with questions.

Great Holiday Gifts in
Guest House Gift Shop

(Photo - caps)
The shelves at SLAC's Stanford Guest House are overflowing with newly-arrived SLAC logo items. The logo item selection includes caps, toddler, youth and adult tees, polos, denims, sweatshirts, sweatpants, mugs, pens, and solar calculators.

The Gift Shop will be open through Thursday, December 21st. For operating hours and other information, call the Guest House front desk staff at x2800.

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