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In this issue:
Director Search Committee Seeks Input
Profile Today: SLAC Sails San Francisco
Awards Program Recognizes Commitment to Service

SLAC Today

Wednesday - March 21, 2007

Director Search Committee Seeks Input

(Photo - Research Yard)
The Research Yard.
Image courtesy of Peter Ginter.

The search for a new laboratory director has already taken a step forward. Earlier this week, members of the search committee were announced by Stanford University President John Hennessy. This committee will conduct an open, international search for an outstanding scientist who is recognized in photon science, particle physics, or particle astrophysics. The candidate must also have a proven record of managing an enterprise as diverse as SLAC.

"The committee faces the daunting task of finding the right person to carry on the excellence that the laboratory has achieved under the leadership of Panofsky, Richter, and Dorfan," said Persis Drell, Chair of the Search Committee.

Advertisements for applications and nominations will soon appear in leading scientific journals. The committee is also open to recommendations for suitable candidates from the SLAC community. Lab employees and stakeholders are encouraged to send nominations and suggested qualifications to Focus groups will also be organized to solicit input from lab staff; a schedule for these will be published soon.

The committee will first meet on April 9, when they will begin the process of identifying candidates to recommend to the President of the University, who will make the final selection. The committee would like to conclude the search and have a new director chosen by this fall.

(Weekly Column - Profile)

SLAC Sails San Francisco

(Photo - Sailing)
Image courtesy of Mariah's Eyes Photography.

Looking out on the San Francisco Bay, you often see sailboats gliding on shimmering blue water. Chances are good that one of those is the Synchronicity, a 25-foot vessel belonging to SLAC physicists Steve Smith and Terri Lahey. Along with SLAC physicists Tom Markiewicz and Sean Walston, they form a dedicated group that spends most weekends cruising or racing around the bay. Most recently, they are basking in the glow of victory after winning the Berkeley Midwinters last month.

The event, which ran from November through February, consisted of four monthly races that looped around the central bay for 10 miles. The team placed third in the first round, but came back by winning the last three.

"It's exciting," Smith said. "You cross the line, the gun goes off, and we all scream—it's great."

The Synchronicity has competed in many races over the years, first winning the Midwinters in 2003, and placing second or third a few times. While winning is exciting, what the team relishes most is the opportunity to master a challenging skill and the sheer thrill of speeding across the water, Smith and Markiewicz said.

Having pursued this passion together for 10 years, the physicist-sailors boast their share of fishy adventures.

"Once, a halibut jumped onto the boat," Markiewicz recalled. "But, it jumped off before we could eat it."

Awards Program Recognizes Commitment to Service

(Image - Service Awards Logo)
Unpaid service doesn't have to go unrecognized. Now, the Department of Energy (DOE) is certified to grant Volunteer Service Awards on behalf of the President. These awards thank and honor Americans who inspire others to volunteer by commitment and example.

The awards—which include a certificate of achievement, a congratulatory letter from the President and the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, and an official President's Award pin—are given for various levels of service, from 100 volunteer hours in a consecutive 12-month period to 4,000 hours in a lifetime. DOE employees and their families, contractors, and members of the general public are eligible to apply, and the DOE is currently accepting applications.

Visit the Volunteer Service Award Program for more details, or write to Daniel Broehl at the DOE Office of Civil Rights and Diversity.

Greene and Krauss to Debate String Theory
in Washington, D.C.

Is all of nature really made up of tiny bits of vibrating strands of energy? String theory could bridge the gap between classical and quantum physics, and could explain some of the universe's biggest questions, such as the origin of space and time. Critics, however, say the theory has no empirical foundation. The DOE Office of Science and the Smithsonian Institution will co-sponsor a debate between string theory proponent Brian Greene and skeptic Lawrence Krauss on Wednesday, March 28, at 7:00 p.m. at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The debate will be moderated by University of Chicago cosmologist Michael Turner. General admission tickets are $25. Call 202-357-3030 or visit the website for details.

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