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In this issue:
Symmetry: BaBar's Window on the Weak Force
Safety Today: Stormwater Regulation
Physicists Offer Perspective at Energy Crossroads

SLAC Today

Wednesday - February 28, 2007

symmetry: BaBar's Window on the Weak Force

(Image - BaBar Window)
Image courtesy of Reidar Hahn

The sun is shining; the Earth is warm instead of icy. Life is good, thanks to the weak force.

One of the four known forces that shape the universe, the weak force sustains our lives, driving the nuclear reactions that power the sun and heat the Earth's core. It's also tremendously useful. The weak force drives radioactive decays that diagnose disease and treat cancer, make your smoke detectors work, and indicate the age of ancient skeletons and tools.

Providing a window on the weak force are the two "B factory" experiments—BaBar at SLAC and Belle at KEK in Japan. They have made landmark discoveries in their first eight years of operation. Now entering the final two-year home stretch, the experiments are racing to learn even more about the weak force’s sometimes-odd behavior, and open gateways to the big mysteries of the universe. The weak force still holds secrets, and BaBar and Belle are seizing their unique opportunities to decipher them.  Read more...

(Column - Safety Today)

Stormwater Regulation


Image courtesy of the Vermont Stormwater Program.

The past few days have brought much rain to the SLAC site. In times of heavy downpour, the lab's stormwater drains take on an important role. If not properly managed, stormwater flowing through industrial activity areas, such as those on the SLAC site, can carry pollutants into local water bodies. SLAC's Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) department takes great care to regulate stormwater through attentive monitoring and a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP).

Anyone engaging in activities or using materials that may impact stormwater, the storm drain system, or the San Francisquito Creek watershed is reminded to work with ES&H to ensure that proper procedure is followed. A recently revised ES&H chapter describes all permits and requirements pertaining to stormwater pollution prevention.

Physicists Offer Perspective at Energy Crossroads

"Decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels is the defining challenge of our nation, our world, and our generation," declare the organizers of the upcoming Energy Crossroads conference at Stanford, to be held March 1-3.

Student activists created the conference to build a coalition of campus groups and individuals championing clean energy. SLAC Physicist Burt Richter and Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu will join 20 other experts on energy, technology, business, academia and nonprofit advocacy. Stanford staff and faculty, including SLAC employees, can register for free.

"There are already students working on the problem; the Green Dorm Project is a good example," said organizer Lyuba Wolf, a senior in International Relations. "We hope to raise awareness of these efforts and support each other."

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, will give the keynote address, "Green is the New Red, White and Blue," at 1 p.m. on March 2 in Memorial Auditorium. Richter will be in the first panel, "Clean Energy Solutions: Setting Priorities," on March 2 with Chris Flavin, president of The Worldwatch Institute, Mark Delucchi from the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and Jeff Goodell, author of Big Coal.

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