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In this issue:
European XFEL at DESY on the Way
Profile: Ron Chestnut and the Art of Aikido
Summer T&OD Course Registration Now Open
NASA's Top Administrator Fields Students' Questions

SLAC Today

Wednesday - June 6, 2007

Keith Hodgson presents DESY Research Director Jochen Schneider (center) and Chairman of the DESY Directorate Albrecht Wagner (right) with a token of congratulations during launch ceremonies marking the start of construction for the XFEL project in Hamburg. (Click on image for larger version.)

European XFEL at DESY on the Way

SLAC extends its warmest congratulations to our colleagues at the German Electron Synchrotron Laboratory, DESY, and its international partners, who have received the official green light to begin construction on the European X-ray Free-Electron Laser (XFEL). Commissioning of the laser is scheduled to begin in 2013.

Upon completion, the 3.4-km-long European XFEL project will comprise a superconducting accelerator, and will ultimately house as many as 10 research stations, all supported by a collaboration of 13 countries. Among other projects, DESY is currently home to FLASH (Free-electron LASer in Hamburg), a free-electron laser that generates ultra-violet light and that has served as a pilot project in advance of the European XFEL.

The European XFEL will share much in common with SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), scheduled to begin operation in 2009. Both lasers will have the capability to gather images of incredibly minute structures on the atomic scale. Such fourth-generation light-sources are also expected to revolutionize our understanding of the fundamental properties of nanostructured materials and chemical reactions by enabling the study of atomic and molecular motion—events that happen on time-scales measured in quadrillionths of a second.

More information about the start of the European XFEL construction is available on the European XFEL website.

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Ron Chestnut and
the Art of Aikido

(Image - Martin Bernt)
Ron Chestnut practices Aikido in the Arrillaga Family Sports Center.
(Click on image for larger version.)

Deputy Head of the Controls Department Ron Chestnut is an expert in harmony and internal energy moving along the correct path. This may sound like designing, implementing, and maintaining hardware and software for SLAC experiments, Chestnut's job, but it's actually a literal translation of the Japanese martial art Aikido, his passion.

Chestnut began taking Aikido lessons on his 46th birthday for exercise. He had been an adamant volleyball player, but felt he had "mastered" the sport. "In other words," he said jokingly, "my trickery was no longer enough to overcome youth."

He began learning Aikido from Frank Doran, one of the preeminent instructors in the United States who taught lessons at Stanford, and immediately fell in love with the sport, taking lessons five days a week.

"I went nuts and had a ball," said Chestnut.

According to Chestnut, Aikido is a soft, internal art, as opposed to martial arts such as Karate; a hard, external sport. The goal of Aikido is to first be aware of an attack and then to resolve the confrontation with neither party injured nor the attacker having gained a thing.

Beginners first learn to fall without injuring themselves. "If a student walks away after one semester of classes and has learned to roll instead of face planting, that is a skill that is useful for life," said Chestnut.  Read more...

Summer T&OD Course Registration Now Open

Whether you want to hone your professional skills or explore a topic to enrich your life, Stanford Training and Organizational Development (T&OD) offers something for everyone. Summer 2007 courses are available for registration now.

The T&OD website offers complete course information. To register for a course, log in to the Stanford Training and Registration System (STARS) and click on the training tab. Use the search function to look for a specific class by title or view T&OD courses using the browse function under the Organizational and Employee Effectiveness category.

Not sure what courses to take? Consider seeing a career counselor through the Career Counselor Network program

NASA's Top Administrator Fields Students' Questions

Should we go to the moon before going to Mars? Considering the virtues of robots, are humans still needed in space exploration? What's NASA's role in the private spaceflight industry?

Stanford students got a chance to ask these questions and more Friday in Braun Hall during an informal session with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin and Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Research Lisa Porter. After an informal breakfast with 22 faculty members in engineering, physics and statistics, the administrators met with about 60 undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates for two by-invitation-only sessions. Parviz Moin, the Franklin P. and Caroline M. Johnson Professor of Mechanical Engineering, hosted the sessions.

"It was my hope that [Griffin] would inspire the students to tackle national grand challenges," Moin said in a phone interview before the event. These include hard-core science and engineering problems not necessarily connected to consumer products, he said.  Read more...

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