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In this issue:
Ancient Secrets in Busted Dishes
Profile: Former SLAC SULI Intern Finds Success
SLAC's Blue Book Goes Digital Photo: LCLS Barbecue

SLAC Today

Wednesday - July 25, 2007

Phillipe Goudeau (left) and Phillipe Sciau visited SSRL in early July to study fragments of ancient pottery. Here, Sciau holds a replica of the clay pots.

Ancient Secrets in Busted Dishes

Call it old-school outsourcing—more than 2,000 years ago, the Roman Empire exploited the labor of artisans in southern Gaul (modern-day France) to mass-produce a particular style of Italian pottery craved by the Roman populace. Now, synchrotron light is helping to detail the particulars of how this pottery was produced and how the method of production and quality of the ware reflects the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

"This pottery and how it is made—how the technology developed and declined—gives us clues about the end of the Roman Empire," says Philippe Sciau, one of two visiting researchers from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France.

The design of the pottery originated in Northern Italy, but as demand rose, factory ovens for mass production were built in southern Gaul. The Romans conscripted Gaulish workers to fire as many as 30,000 pieces at a time in these enormous ovens.  Read more...

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Former SLAC SULI Intern Finds Success

(Image - Anatoly Spitkovsky)
Anatoly Spitkovsky. (Click on image for larger version.)

If history is any indication of the future, SLAC can expect great things from the Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) students who arrived a few short weeks ago. But does the SULI program attract future scientists already bound for success or does the program create future successful scientists? According to former SLAC SULI intern Anatoly Spitkovsky, it is both.

Spitkovsky participated in the SULI internship program during the summer of 1993. As a prelude to his junior year at the California Institute of Technology, he spent the summer working in the accelerator theory department. The research he conducted there on monitoring beam size using electron/positron pair production rates whetted his appetite for the field.

"The SULI program started my career in science," said Spitkovsky. "It jump-started my interest both in physics and computer simulations."

Aside from practical experience in the lab, Spitkovsky was introduced to the many branches of science being investigated at SLAC through weekly lectures.

"Every week we'd listen to presentations from different people at SLAC on various areas of research," recalled Spitkovsky. "I learned quite a bit and they got me excited about physics."

After his internship experience, Spitkovsky went on to graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley before returning to SLAC for postdoctoral work at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC). He is currently an assistant professor of astrophysics at Princeton and continues to collaborate with KIPAC by creating simulations of various plasma astrophysics phenomena.

"The SULI program was really a defining moment in my career; I can trace everything I'm doing now to what I did in SULI," said Spitkovsky. "I'm really grateful that this program exists and am very happy that it continues on."

SLAC's Blue Book
Goes Digital

After years of copyright struggles, the SLAC Blue Book is now posted online. First published in 1968, the Blue Book is an all-encompassing 1169-page, more-than-ninety-author work that thoroughly documents all facets of SLAC's linac.

The Blue Book has always been in high demand as a historical document, and with planning for the International Linear Collider underway, the need for the book continues to increase. Because most SLAC library copies have either been lost over the years or are currently checked out, there are simply not enough books to fully meet demand. In addition, no new copies are available from the publisher.

In reaction to this problem, SLAC library personnel have created a digital version of the book and made it available to all within the SLAC community. But it wasn't as easy as it sounds.

Although the technological aspect of the digitization was easily accomplished with the Stanford University scanning robot, the real difficulty was in securing the legal rights to use the book. The Blue Book is a perfect example of an "orphan work."  Read more...

Photo: LCLS Barbeque

(Photo - cars)
Click on image for larger version.

What do Mexican-style barbecue and classic cars have in common? Both can make you salivate and both were found outside Building 280 yesterday afternoon. Several SLAC employees brought their classic cars for an impromptu car show and barbecue to celebrate... Tuesday.

"We wanted to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but missed it," said Le Anne De Wan, who organized the event. "But I knew classic cars, music, and barbecue would draw a crowd no matter the day, so we did this instead."

Among the cars on display were a silver 1967 Shelby GT-350, a red 1965 Sunbeam Tiger, a white and blue 1965 Mustang GT-350, a purple 1969 Camaro RS, and a green Austin Healy Sprite.

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