SLAC Today is available online at:
http://today.slac.stanford.edu
In this issue:
GLAST Satellite Lodging in Comfortable, "Clean Room"
Dorfan Today: Wildland Fire Danger
NOVA to Feature LHC
A Place for Us: SLAC's Policy Repository

SLAC Today

Monday - July 9, 2007

GLAST Satellite Lodging in Comfortable, Clean Room

Technicians pose in the General Dynamics clean room. (Image courtesy of NASA and General Dynamics.)

As the Gamma-Ray Large Area Telescope (GLAST)—which now includes the SLAC-built Large Area Telescope (LAT)—awaits its December launch date, it's currently being checked and tested in a clean room at General Dynamics in Gilbert, Arizona.

The clean room was designed to have low levels of environmental pollutants including aerosols, chemical vapors, dust, and airborne microscopic organisms. To accomplish this, the clean room filters air as it enters, and continually runs all room air through additional filters. In addition, members of the GLAST team wear protective bunny suits whenever they are inside the clean room. The suit prevents dirt and dust on clothing from entering the room.

"Working in these bunny suits is inconvenient, but necessary," said Steve Ritz, GLAST Project Scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. "With a million channels of electronics and high-tech sensitive instrumentation, we must avoid contamination. Although the cleanliness requirements for GLAST are relatively modest, an unwanted piece of every-day junk in the wrong place could cause a big headache later in the mission. Dust never sleeps."  Read more...

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

Wildland Fire Danger

The devastating power of a wildland fire was brought home to each of us recently when 254 homes were lost in Lake Tahoe's Angora fire. Northern California has emerged from its driest winter in at least 20 years, and the wildland fire danger in and around SLAC will remain at high levels through at least October. The quantity of dry, burnable vegetation in the San Francisco Bay Area is above normal and its dryness is already at levels not normally seen until late August. SLAC's one-acre grass fire in May, followed by two recent grass fires near the Stanford Dish underline our unusually high vulnerability. This means all of us at SLAC must be particularly vigilant and take every measure to reduce fire risk.

SLAC is taking a number of vegetation management measures this summer. In particular, dry grass has been mowed and dead brush has been removed from around buildings, roadways and property lines.

Although we cannot change the weather or climate, there is one factor that each one of us can directly control—the very careful use of potential ignition sources around dry vegetation and other combustible materials. Common examples of sources for ignition include welding, brazing and sparking activities (all of which are covered at SLAC by a permit system), cigarettes, barbecues, and the use of powered machinery (including vehicles) in and around dry grass. Dry, windy days are particularly hazardous: the wind will carry sparks that can ignite a fire quite a distance from the source and wind, of course, will fan any combustion that does occur.

On the most fire-prone "red flag" days, we will notify employees and visitors by posting special signage at the entry gates, with a warning notice in SLAC Today and through other means. For such days, we are considering imposing restrictions on high risk outdoor activities and will keep you informed as to what is decided.  Read more...

A Place for Us: SLAC's Policy Repository


It's been a year since SLAC Today announced the online access point for SLAC's policies, procedures and all-hands memos.

Guess what! It's still available and slowly growing as the one-spot collection point for new and updated policies. Not only does it store the policies or point to the right location to access policies, it also includes guidance on how to generate, disseminate, and maintain easy-to-understand and readily accessible policies. The Policy Repository is guided by the Policy Steering Committee with immediate assistance provided by Frank Topper, Policy Coordinator.

Save time by using the Policy Repository to find out what you need to know—right now.

NOVA Features the LHC


In tomorrow evening's broadcast, the magazine-style television program NOVA scienceNOW will cover what it calls "the mother of all particle accelerators": the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In addition to describing this 16-mile-long circular accelerator, the program will explain what's known about the never-before-detected Higgs particle.

NOVA scienceNOW will be broadcast Tuesday, July 10 on most PBS stations. Check your local listings to confirm when it will be broadcast near you.

Learn more about tomorrow's episode....

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