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In this issue:
PEP-II and BaBar Back Online
Colloquium Monday: The Search for Extraterrestrials
ILC Detector Concept Report Needs Feedback
2007 Globies Awarded
Photo: Local Science Teachers Visit SLAC

SLAC Today

Friday - May 18, 2007

Inside the BaBar detector, crews replaced a damaged magnet last week. (Image courtesy of Diana Rogers.)

PEP-II and BaBar Back Online

Electrons and positrons returned to the PEP-II rings early Wednesday morning, and by 2:00 p.m., colliding beams filled the BaBar detector again. A planned one-week shutdown for repairs had unexpectedly turned into two weeks when a magnet near the interaction region overheated, requiring its removal and replacement.

On Thursday, operators began delivering usable luminosity to BaBar after only 24 hours of "scrubbing" the beam pipe. During scrubbing, the beam knocks gas molecules off the beam pipe walls and the molecules bounce into the vacuum pumps. This lowers vacuum pressure and reduces backgrounds in the detector. As of yesterday, beam currents and luminosity started approaching normal values as the vacuum improved and machine tuning progressed.

"It is so good to see the two rings full of current so quickly after this down!" said Jonathan Dorfan. "My deep appreciation to all those who worked so hard, tirelessly and safely to overcome this unexpected hurdle."

Big thanks go to all the groups—Alignment Engineering, Magnetic Measurements, Power supplies and Electronic Maintenance, Conventional and Experimental Facilities, Controls, PEP-II Operations and especially Mechanical Fabrication Department (MFD) Mechanical and MFD Vacuum—who helped take the accelerator apart in order to remove the damaged magnet, and then reassembled the accelerator in one of the most difficult areas of PEP-II. A special thanks also goes to the team of safety officers who kept a careful eye on all of the activities in IR-2 during day and swing shifts.

Colloquium Monday

The Search for

Image courtesy of SLAC InfoMedia

Could there be intelligent life elsewhere in the universe? Recent research suggests that other planets and moons in our solar system might have inhabitants, but if so, those inhabitants are probably smaller than a pinhead. Nonetheless, hundreds of billions of other planets may be scattered throughout the vast starfields of the Milky Way. How many of these other worlds sport life able to send messages into space, or perhaps to travel between the stars?

Project Phoenix, an ambitious scientific effort to search out civilizations around nearby stars, is now eavesdropping on possible alien radio traffic using the Arecibo Radio Telescope. Six hundred star systems have already been scrutinized, and new technologies promise to extend this search a thousand-fold in the next decade.

In next Monday's colloquium, the SETI Institute's Seth Shostak will explain how SETI researchers sift the wheat from the chaff, filtering out the telecommunications industry's increasingly interfering signals. He will also discuss the chances of success. Don't miss The Search for Extraterrestrials this Monday at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium.
Learn more...

ILC Detector Concept Report Needs Feedback

A simulation of a particle event in the ILC that would enable physicists to determine whether the decays display evidence for the Standard Model Higgs or something else. (Image courtesy of Norman Graf, SLAC)

Research Design Report, meet your other half. A draft version of the Detector Concept Report (DCR) for the International Linear Collider is now available online. In February, the Global Design Effort published the draft Reference Design Report (RDR), providing the first detailed technical snapshot of the accelerator. The DCR completes the picture and makes the physics and detector case for the ILC.  Read more...

2007 Globies Awarded

(Photo - 2007 Globie winners)
Click on image for larger version. See more photos of the event here. (Images courtesy of Diana Rogers.)

On May 15th, the 2007 Employee Recognition Awardees were treated to lunch at the Stanford Faculty Club. Laughter filled the room as they got to know each other and share experiences. After lunch, Jonathan Dorfan gave his own personal congratulations and explained how much presenting these awards means to him. As portions of the nominations were read, offering a glimpse of why each recipient was chosen for the award, Jonathan handed each awardee his or her Globie and certificate with a handshake and his thanks.

In true Globie-winner fashion, several recipients remarked that the most enjoyable part of the luncheon was hearing why everybody else was selected. Some quotes from the awardees follow.

"To be at the luncheon brought it home what this was all about. Hearing quote after quote of the nice things that people had said in the nominations, and seeing all the other awardees, was an uplifting and rewarding experience. We so often hear about things that go wrong, that to hear so many things that were good was wonderful."

"When the Director talked to us, I realized how much he cares. One of the things he said was that the recognition awards were pure since they were given by our peers rather than our managers, and it struck me how real this was. We were sincerely being honored by those we work with. It makes working at SLAC great, to be appreciated like that."

Congratulations again to all the winners! 

More photos of the event are available online.

Photo: Local Science Teachers Visit SLAC

(Photo - Teachers at SLAC)
Click on image for larger version.

Local high school science teachers participated in an educational outreach meeting at SLAC on Saturday, May 12th. The teachers enjoyed a 3-D tour of the universe conducted by John Wise, Ji-hoon Kim and Fen Zhao in the Kavli Building's visualization lab. Michael Toney led a tour of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory which included opportunities to talk to graduate students about their current work. This was followed by an overview of SLAC's current research, provided by Wells Wulsin. At the end of morning, the teachers discussed their needs with the SLAC Education Team to further develop their partnership.

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