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In this issue:
Viewing the Future: ILC Simulations
Director's Column: The Role of Peer Review in Guiding Choices for our Future
Volunteer Training for Science Bowl Offered
Safety First
Spare the Air

SLAC Today

Monday - January 29, 2007

Viewing the Future: ILC Simulations

This simulation shows how the ILC would detect the production of two Z bosons. Each of the Z bosons decays into a pair of jets. (Image courtesy of Norman Graf.)

Even though it will still be several years before the International Linear Collider (ILC) comes online, scientists have already conducted millions of collision experiments, using detectors that have not been built yet. This is not the result of a new field of clairvoyant physics, but the power of computer simulations.

Scientists at SLAC and around the world are working on four detector concepts for the ILC: the silicon detector (SiD), the European-based Large Detector Concept (LDC), the Asian-based Global Large Detector (GLC), and a yet unnamed 4th detector concept. Instead of spending expensive resources on prototypes, researchers are using computer simulations to conduct virtual experiments. By doing so, they can optimize detector designs to yield the best science possible.

"We can design the detector on paper, but we make computer simulations and see if these designs are right," said John Jaros, one of the co-leaders of the SiD concept, which is being developed at SLAC. "Are we measuring what we want to measure? Are we measuring them well enough?"  Read more...

(Director's Column)

The Role of Peer Review in Guiding Choices for our Future

Most of you have read about or participated in the process of peer review. The principle of peer review is that a group of peers (that is, individuals knowledgeable in the particular area or subject of the review) provide an external and independent evaluation that is then used in decision making. Peer review may take many forms—from individual "mail reviews" to complex organized site visits and "panel reviews." Peer review is applied in many ways and tailored to the particular situation at hand—for example, reviewing original science submitted for publication in manuscripts, evaluation of scientific or technical proposals, or providing detailed reviews of technical and construction aspects of complex projects, and is often performed under confidentiality measures.

At SLAC, peer review is an integral and fundamental aspect of almost everything we do. At the highest level, the SLAC Policy Committee formally reviews the laboratory and advises Stanford President Hennessy on the operation and performance, and SLAC's strategic plans for the future. The Environment Safety and Health (ES&H) Advisory Committee provides, among other mechanisms, review and oversight of our ES&H program. One of our most valuable commodities, beam time and accelerator access, is allocated based on peer review committees (for example the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory [SSRL] Proposal Review Panel and the Particle and Particle Astrophysics [PPA] Experimental Program Advisory Committee). Projects like Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) depend heavily on peer review for evaluation and advice across a range of areas, from civil construction to technical systems. There are easily a dozen or more external peer review committees that cover SLAC's programs and operations.  Read more...

Volunteer Training for Science Bowl Offered

SLAC's DOE Regional Science Bowl is just around the corner and we still need your help! All are welcome to support our brilliant competitors at the competition, which takes place at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 10, by volunteering to serve as timekeepers, scorekeepers, scientific judges or runners.

The first of two training sessions (attendance at one session is mandatory for all volunteers) will take place from 10 a.m. until noon in Panofsky Auditorium tomorrow. Competition is healthy and intellectual dominance is fun, so join us there! For more information please see the Science Bowl website or contact Melinda Lee at x8547.

Spare the Air

(Image - spare the air)Today is a Spare the Air Day in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Bay Area Air District is asking residents to refrain from burning wood in their fireplaces and woodstoves, and to drive less.

Winter air pollution is mainly caused by small particle pollution, or particulate matter (PM). The two major winter sources of PM in the Bay Area are residential wood burning and motor vehicles.

This advisory is in effect for the next 24 hours.  More information...

Safety Firsts

Have you ever been driving and suddenly found that the cars in front of you have stopped and you did not notice, or change lanes only to find a car in the other lane? Recently we had the poster-child for this kind of inattention. Can you name it?

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