SLAC Today is available online at:
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In this issue:
symmetry: The Search for Dark Energy
Dorfan Today
SLAC's Les Cottrell and Collaborator Awarded "Best Software" Prize
Safety Firsts

SLAC Today

Monday - June 18, 2007

Cartoon courtesy of Roz Chast.

symmetry: The Search for Dark Energy

The universe is expanding faster and faster, but no one knows why.

Now researchers are proposing a host of ambitious experiments to measure dark energy, the mysterious phenomenon that is thought to be driving the acceleration. They'll be looking for clues in exploding stars; ancient, frozen sound waves; and the way massive objects in space bend and distort light.

Scientists want to know precisely how much dark energy there is, and whether its effects evolve over time. To that end, there are nearly 30 experiments proposed or under way, according to the Dark Energy Task Force, a committee established by the US National Science Foundation, the US Department of Energy, and NASA.  Read more in symmetry...

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

For those interested in learning what goes on at SLAC, nothing comes close to the experience of visiting the lab. Seeing the tools of discovery close up and absorbing the enthusiasm of SLAC staff always leaves a lasting and positive impression on our visitors. On Monday we look forward to a visit from Tony Chan, Assistant Director for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division at the National Science Foundation.

This past Saturday, more than 500 Stanford graduates and their families visited SLAC as part of the university's commencement activities. Visitors escaped the heat aboard five tour busses that each made several trips around the site, stopping at the Klystron Gallery and the Linac Coherent Light Source construction overlook.

The event was a resounding success. My thanks go to all those who helped with this event and with the countless other visits that take place each month. Our tour program is booming, with more than 1,100 people visiting the laboratory in May 2007. This month looks on track to easily exceed that number.

Our thriving tour program is part of how we fulfill our obligation to help educate the public about frontier science. At the same time, it strengthens the laboratory's role within Stanford University. By bringing hundreds of Stanford graduates to the lab each year, we enhance yet further the strong bridge between the main campus and SLAC. Other examples of how we have widened this bridge in recent times are through the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), the Photon Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering (PULSE) Center and the X-ray Laboratory for Advanced Materials (XLAM). The integral connection of SLAC to the core of Stanford’s research infrastructure, supported so strongly by our federal sponsor the DOE, fosters SLAC's ability to develop groundbreaking technologies and scientific methodologies that, as history has taught us, rapidly translates into the tools for monumental discoveries.

My congratulations go to the 2007 graduating class, to their parents, and to all at SLAC who gave their time so generously to organize and lead the 2007 commencement tours.

SLAC's Les Cottrell and Collaborator Awarded "Best Software" Prize


NUST student Faran Javed (left) accepts the prize at last month's All Asia Software Competition.

At this month's SOFTEC All Asia Software Competition, a project run by SLAC's Les Cottrell, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) collaborator Faran Javed and his supervisor Umar Kalim won the "best software" prize in the category of "International Software Competition" and a cash award of $1000.

The project, Trilateration Utility for Locating IP hosts (TULIP), is a network monitoring software that seeks to determine the physical location of a specified target host.

"This software can be used, for example, to locate where in the world a particular piece of SPAM may have come from," said Cottrell.

Javed, Cottrell and others have been working on the project for a little over a year, and are currently evaluating how well the tool works.

"There's a lot of work still to do," said Cottrell. "But it's a valuable project that increases our ties to NUST."

Javed will be spending a year at SLAC starting in late 2007 as the most recent link between SLAC and NUST.

Congratulations to Cottrell and Javed!

Safety Firsts

Much to the apparent distress of some of our SLAC pilots, I have mentioned over the last nine months several safety practices used in aviation to prevent accidents, all of them based on lessons-learned from crashes. Forty-five years ago I was taught almost all of these techniques, but it had nothing to do with flying. Many of you may have been similarly taught—can you recall the circumstances?

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