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In this issue:
Colloquium: Slowing Global Warming
Director's Column: SPEAR3 Turns Three and a Personal Note
President's 2008 Budget Announced Today
First GLAST Symposium Kicks Off This Morning
Safety Firsts

SLAC Today

Monday - February 5, 2007

Colloquium: Slowing Global Warming

(Image - Colloquium)
Energy Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld

With the spotlight on global warming, legislators are starting to place greater emphasis on improving energy efficiency. California has long set the pace for policies and technologies that encourage efficiency, making it the least energy consuming state.

"Efficiency standards are so easy, and few people even notice them," said California Energy Commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld. "Energy efficiency is the cheapest, fastest, most reliable way to reduce the emissions of CO2."

In today's colloquium, Rosenfeld will explain how small improvements in efficiency standards save money and slow the process of global warming.  Read more...

(Director's Column - Director's Column

SPEAR3 Turns Three
and a Personal Note

Many of us remember the dedication ceremony for SPEAR3 on January 29, 2004. It was a joyful event celebrating a lot of planning, hard work and skillful execution. On SPEAR3's third birthday, it's good to take a few moments to reflect on the accomplishments since that beginning over three years ago.

First, it's a remarkable thing to consider that the final phase of the SPEAR3 project, including removal of the old accelerator and installation of new hardware, along with commissioning for users, all took place in less than a calendar year. This was truly an outstanding achievement, and that pattern of efficiency continues to this day with SPEAR3 operating extremely reliably (delivering about 96% of scheduled beam to users since 2004).

The new storage ring offers many improvements over SPEAR2. SPEAR3 creates a lower emittance beam that is much brighter, which ultimately means a much smaller x-ray spot size of higher intensity that improves the range of possible research. And now, with the recent upgrade to the fast orbit feedback system, this high-quality beam is more stable than ever.

High brightness enables investigations such as those with the x-ray microprobes at Beamlines 6-2 and 2-3, which reveal the chemistry and molecular arrangement within a diversity of materials with spatial resolution on the micron scale. This year researchers used these tools to characterize samples returned from space during the Stardust mission, and fly brains affected by an Alzheimer's-like disease. In addition, ongoing research is helping scientists characterize the behavior of environmental contaminants like uranium. 

The beam flux and stability of SPEAR3 has vastly improved and streamlined macromolecular crystallography research at SSRL. This field of research is yielding discoveries in biology and medicine that could lead to new treatments for disease and are deepening our understanding of the human genome. The new Beamline 12-2 developed in partnership with CalTech and the Moore Foundation saw initial commissioning in late fall 2006. Beamline 12 takes optimum advantage of SPEAR3's performance to serve SSRL's first in-vacuum undulator. This undulator produces hard x-rays for high-throughput protein crystallographic studies that will further deepen the impact of this important research. And perhaps most notably, in September of last year, Stanford's Professor Roger Kornberg was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his decoding of the molecular mechanism of RNA transcription—research in which synchrotron-enabled macromolecular crystallography largely done at SSRL played a central role.  Read more...

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...

President's 2008 Budget Announced Today

(Photo - Bodman)The President's 2008 budget rolls out today. All staff and lab users are invited to watch a live broadcast of Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman's press conference in the auditorium at 11:00 a.m. this morning.

First GLAST Symposium Kicks Off This Morning

(Photo - aerial of Sand Hill Road)
An artist's conception of GLAST. (Image courtesy of NASA)

This week, Stanford University hosts the first symposium for the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST). The meeting, which has attracted researchers from around the world, will highlight GLAST's scientific potential, its instrumentation, and opportunities for guest investigators.

Planned for launch late this year, GLAST will explore a vast array of high-energy astrophysics. Scientists hope to make dramatic strides in understanding phenomena such as black holes, powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts, the origin of cosmic rays, and the mysterious identity of dark matter.

The conference, which will be held at Stanford's Frances Arrilliga Alumni Center, will feature daily talks and poster sessions.

As a part of the symposium, SLAC and Stanford physics professor Andrei Linde will give a public lecture entitled The Origin and Fate of the Universe. The talk is tonight at 8 p.m.

More information about the symposium is available here.

Safety Firsts

A report was recently issued on the tragic death of one of the most famous personalities in the modern world. Can you name the ignored safety practice that would have prevented this person from dying?

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