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In this issue:
PULSE Moves In
Dorfan Today: SLAC Summer Institute
Davis-Bacon Act
Safety Firsts

SLAC Today

Monday - July 23, 2007

(Image - Phil Bucksbaum)
Philip Bucksbaum in the PULSE Center's new hallway.

PULSE Moves In

Summer is upon us, but for Stanford's Photon Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering (PULSE) center at SLAC, the days ahead will be far from lazy. For over a year SLAC's newest research center has called home a collection of disparate offices at SLAC and on Stanford's main campus, but soon the Center will actually have a center. Although the group will maintain lab space on the Stanford campus, this month members of the PULSE team are gathering themselves in preparation for a consolidating move into their main offices at SLAC's Central Lab.

"This will turn us into a real, cohesive center," said PULSE director Philip Bucksbaum. "Now we'll actually be down the hall from each other. It'll be great. Physical collocation is one of the most important features of a research center."   Read more...

(Director's Column - Dorfan Today)

SLAC Summer Institute

The SLAC Summer Institute (SSI), which begins next week, is one of SLAC's great traditions and one of the laboratory's many innovative and effective educational activities. Each summer, students from all over the U.S. and beyond spend two weeks listening to lectures, taking part in discussion groups, mingling with preeminent researchers, going on tours and participating in the social events—not forgetting the famous soccer matches. Taking part in SSI is an unforgettable experience—it certainly was for me when I was a student and postdoc. Participants leave enriched with new knowledge, having savored the unique spirit and atmosphere at SLAC, while setting up friendships that will likely span their professional lives.

Looking back on the topics covered by SSI over the years provides a mini history of the development and evolution of particle physics. Recently, and especially since the setting up of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC), the scope has broadened to include gravity, cosmology and particle astrophysics. It is not only the SSI topics that provide a historical snapshot; the list of speakers reads like a Who's Who of particle physics—Richard Feynman, Alan Guth, BJ Bjorken, Haim Harari, Carlo Rubbia, Bjorn Wiik—to name but a few.

My thanks to the present and the past SSI committees with a special thank you to David Leith, who set up SSI in 1972 and was the head of the organization committee for 25 years thereafter. The SSI organizational staff does a heroic job running this unique event. It demands great attention to detail in the preparation stages and total commitment during the two weeks of SSI.  Read more...

Davis-Bacon Act

The Davis-Bacon Act requires paying locally prevailing wages—as determined by the Secretary of Labor—for public works projects. All construction, alteration or repair work at SLAC costing over $2,000 dollars is covered by the Act.

SLAC and the Department of Energy (DOE) meet this legal obligation by encouraging the appropriate use of subcontractors (union or non-union; Davis-Bacon does not require hiring union subcontractors) to perform work covered by the Davis-Bacon Act.

It is very important for SLAC to strictly adhere to the Act in order to avoid violating federal law. If you are undertaking any activity other than routine recurring maintenance (replacing like for like) or are adding capacity, re-arranging, building new features, and so on, you may be subject to the Davis-Bacon act provisions, and this work cannot be performed by SLAC employees or visitors.

In order to assure that all planned construction work, outside of recurring maintenance, is performed in compliance with the DBA, the Stanford Site Office (SSO) must issue a written determination of all exceptions. It is very important that the DOE SSO approves the requested Davis-Bacon exception prior to the start of work; otherwise the work will be in violation of Federal Law and subject to enforcement actions as specified by the Act.

Safety Firsts

About a year ago, I was looking out the window of my United flight waiting to take off at San Francisco, and noticed a plane about to land on the runway that the air traffic control person had just told our pilots to cross. Our pilots did not move but asked the controller if that was really what he wanted, and he caught his mistake. I actually called the FAA hot line, and was pretty dumfounded by their reaction.

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