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In this issue:
ILC Physics: The Analysis Has Already Begun
In Award Season, Symmetry Cleans Up
The SLAC Research Library, At Your Service

SLAC Today

Friday - February 9, 2007

ILC Physics: The Analysis Has Already Begun

(Photo - Decay simulation)
A simulation of what the decay of a Higgs particle will look like in a detector. (Image courtesy of ATLAS, CERN.)

For the proposed International Linear Collider, physicists are trying to both design the most precise calorimeter ever and still be able to afford it. A calorimeter measures the energy of particles in a detector, and is typically the single most expensive part. If you reduce its performance slightly to reduce costs, how much have you sacrificed?

One way to answer that question is to calculate the mass of the undiscovered Higgs particle. It may sound like a non sequitur, but analyzing data produced from simulated particle collisions gives a good idea of how sensitive the experiment remains to important physics.

"We are studying physics processes that are sensitive to the new detection method that the calorimeter will use," said physicist Tim Barklow. "We want to know how important it is to achieve the unprecedented precision in the calorimeter that we're attempting to achieve." Read more...

In Award Season, Symmetry Cleans Up

(David Harris)
David Harris with the Davey Award.

Last year proved a smashing success for symmetry, the joint publication of Fermilab and SLAC. The magazine recently added a "Davey Award" to its host of design accolades. Named for the story of David and Goliath, the award honors "Creative Davids" whose work presents ideas with great design and a small budget.

"One of the goals of symmetry is to reach out to non-scientists and share the excitement of the science that we all do," said Editor-in-Chief David Harris, who launched the magazine in October 2004. "That's why it's great to be recognized for our efforts by communication professionals outside of science."

Members of the International Academy of the Visual Arts judged more than 3,500 entries worldwide in the 2006 competition. Symmetry was among the top 10% of contestants, earning a Silver Award in the Editorial category for its February 2006 cover.

The magazine was selected for a number of other awards last year, including one makes the May, August, September and October 2005 issues permanent fixtures in the Chicago Design Archive collection. This collection, managed by the Society of Typographic Arts, recognizes the work of outstanding Chicago designers.

Symmetry magazine explores concepts and developments in the field of particle physics, and how they relate to other aspects of science, policy and culture. It includes commentaries, essays, and graphical explorations of the devices, people and history of particle physics and related sciences.

View the latest issue of symmetry here.

The SLAC Research Library, At Your Service

Research Librarian Abe Wheeler helps Dumitru Ciorbea scan a database for information.

With a reading room, study area, and rows of books, it looks like any place you'd go to delve into the latest issue of Science or Physical Review Letters. But the library at SLAC is much more than just a cache for science publications.

"We are here to save researchers time so they can do more science," said Librarian Abe Wheeler. "When given a problem, we'll spend whatever time is needed to deliver the answer."

SLAC librarians can locate information from anywhere within the Stanford library system or from libraries around the world. Librarians can help visitors access a rich collection of 35,000 books and more than 6,000 journals in print and online.

"Our mission is getting people whatever information or service they need, no matter how obscure it may seem," Wheeler said. "We've helped with all kinds of research, from finding information on mycobacterium to locating materials on pyramids and salt mines."

The librarians are experts at trolling through the abundance of materials for information, but they'll offer as much or as little assistance as a visitor wants. They can also direct a visitor on how to pursue non-scientific research on his or her own.

Library services are available to all SLAC employees, as well as members of the Stanford Community. It's staffed during regular working hours, but employees can access the facility 24 hours a day by asking security to unlock the door. Those who prefer not to hike to the library, located on the second floor of Building 40, can send an e-mail or submit a request form for work-related queries.

Find more information about the SLAC Research Library here.

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