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In this issue:
What Will GLAST Tell Us?
Safety Today: Walking Safely
WIS Lecture: Creating a Kindness Revolution
Statistics Lecture: Bootstrap Basics

SLAC Today

Tuesday - January 23, 2007

(Image - GLAST simulation)
A simulated image of gamma-ray sources from dark matter annihilations in a model galaxy. Image courtesy of James E. Taylor and Arif Babul.

What Will GLAST Tell Us?

The identity of dark matter—the mysterious stuff that makes up a quarter of the universe—continues to elude scientists, even decades after they first inferred its existence. The leading candidate that might explain the fundamental make-up of dark matter is a hypothetical particle called the weakly interacting massive particle (WIMP). Soon, with the Gamma-Ray Large Area Telescope (GLAST) built in part at SLAC and scheduled for launch this Fall, scientists may finally find clear evidence that dark matter is indeed made of WIMPs.

Gamma-rays—the most energetic form of light—originate from a multitude of mysterious sources, like black holes or exploding stars. But current theory suggests they can also come from WIMPs. Scientists believe WIMPs can interact with themselves, annihilating each other and releasing a flurry of secondary particles as well as gamma-rays. Using GLAST, scientists hope to find these high-energy signatures of dark matter in our galaxy. If they succeed, this discovery would help solve one of astronomy's grandest puzzles.

"With GLAST, we hope to actually see individual dark matter annihilations," said Michael Peskin, professor of theoretical physics at SLAC. Ted Baltz, a Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) researcher who also works on the GLAST project, added, "GLAST has the real possibility of making a fundamental contribution to understanding what galaxies are made of."  Read more...

(Column - Safety Today)

Walking Safely

Cartoon courtesy of Jean-Charles Castagna

Stepping on a crack won't break your mother's back—but if you're not careful, it might break yours. We often forget that ever-lurking hazards, like stairs and uneven or slippery pavement, can cause serious injuries. Since October, five employees have fallen and injured themselves while walking at SLAC.

"It's important for people to stay alert when walking, even when on routes they routinely use," Business Services Division ES&H Coordinator Rick Challman said. "Most accidents occur when employees are walking on site or going up and down stairs. The myth that 'office people' don't have accidents just isn't true."

Most of these falls are attributed to inattention and wandering eyes. "Paying attention is very important. Employees should be keeping their eyes on the path and staying alert to avoid a slip, trip, or fall," Challman said.

Though not all falls break bones, any injury requiring first aid care should be immediately treated at the SLAC Medical Center, located on the first floor of the Administration and Engineering building. Injuries should be reported to supervisors right away.

The ES&H web-based Course 294 Walking and Work Surfaces is a recommended resource course for those who frequently walk around the site.

WIS Lecture: Creating
a Kindness Revolution

(Photo - Cats)
Image courtesy of Robert Barbutti Photography

If you stumbled across a colony of 200 feral and homeless cats, what would you do? Look the other way? Report it to animal control? When Cimeron Morrissey was faced with this challenge in Foster City, she didn't even know what a feral cat was. She quickly learned and, using her business skills, she devised a uniquely effective and humane way to manage the cats.

Morrissey, co-founder of the innovative homeless animal program Project Bay Cat, will present tomorrow's WIS lecture, titled "Creating a Kindness Revolution." An articulate writer and inspiring speaker, Morrissey will explain how she co-created and manages this high profile cat rescue program. She will also discuss how the program has become a model for many other programs around the world, changing the way that people around the world manage feral and homeless cats.

The lecture will take place at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 24, in Panofsky Auditorium.  Learn more...

Statistics Lecture:
Bootstrap Basics

Tomorrow afternoon, Stanford Professor Bradley Efron will present an introduction to the bootstrap statistics technique. This lecture is suitable for people with no or little previous experience in the technique, and will take place at 4:00 p.m. in the Orange Room. Learn more...

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