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In this issue:
SLAC Readies for Large Area Telescope Operations
Richter Presents at AAAS Conference
Bibliography-Generating Tools Lessen Citation Frustration

SLAC Today

Tuesday - February 20, 2007

SLAC Readies for Large Area Telescope Operations

Members of the ISOC department gathered last Tuesday to rehearse Large Area Telescope operations for the first time in the newly built LAT Operations Facility in the Central Lab Annex (Building 84).

When the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) rockets into orbit later this year, a group of people will be monitoring and commanding the Large Area Telescope (LAT) instrument onboard GLAST from the newly built LAT Operations Facility in SLAC's Building 84.

Last Tuesday, more than a dozen members of the LAT Instrument Science Operations Center (ISOC) gathered in the new facility for their first rehearsal.

The ISOC and the broader LAT Collaboration will use the facility to monitor the health and safety of the LAT and to communicate LAT commands to the GLAST Mission Operation Center at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.

"We're starting to get familiar with the LAT monitoring displays and the procedures we will follow for participating in GLAST operations," said ISOC manager Rob Cameron.  Read more...

Richter Presents at
AAAS Conference

Evoking themes as disparate as 19th century literature and neutrino oscillation, SLAC's Burton Richter spoke about the future course for elementary particle physics at last weekend's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in San Francisco.

"It is the best of times and the worst of times," Richter said. "We are in the midst of a revolution in understanding, but accelerator facilities are shutting down before new ones can open, and there is great uncertainty about future funding."

The next 15 years are likely to answer some questions and raise new ones, Richter said. Physicists hope to find what lies beyond the Standard Model, what dark matter is made of and what drives the accelerating expansion of the universe. The next few years may even see an experimental test of multi-dimensional theories such as string theory. Yet, according to Richter, none of this can happen without new experiments and new machinery. In choosing which experiments to fund, the particle physics community must make choices that will severely limit the pace of discovery in some areas.

"This is a time where we cannot afford the merely good, but must focus on the really important if we are to continue our quest to learn what the universe is made of and how it works," Richter said. "There's a huge opportunity here. We need to get the really important done even if it takes longer than we would wish. The results will tell us much more about the universe and how it works."

Bibliography-Generating Tools Lessen Citation Frustration

(Photo - Librarians Travis Brooks and Nicole Thomas)
Travis Brooks and Nicole Thomas use BiblioTools in the SLAC library.

Citing papers and arranging bibliographies can cause major headaches. When a SLAC physicist needed to generate a 400-citation paper last year, he asked Travis Brooks at the SLAC library to help spare him some strife. Brooks scanned limited programs he found on the internet before designing his own. "Biblio Tools" is Brooks' homegrown citation and bibliography-generating service, which has cultivated a devoted following.

"Those who use the Biblio Tools program swear by it," Brooks said. "It saves a lot of the trouble of looking up cites yourself."

The service scans the SPIRES database, a gold mine for particle physics and astrophysics papers, turning LaTeX shorthand into ordered, updated, full bibliographies. Or, it can generate an up-to-date bibliography for those who prefer to use BibTex.

The SPIRES database contains only particle and particle astrophysics papers. But SLAC librarians can help employees who need to reference other papers to produce their own bibliographies and proper citations. Visit the SPIRES Bibliography website or email the SLAC librarians for more information.

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