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In this issue:
Colloquium: Gamma Ray Bursts and Cosmic Rays
People Today: Velo-SLACer Keeps on Cycling
Certificate in Supervision Series to Begin Oct. 16
MCAP Applications Due Friday, October 5

SLAC Today

Monday - October 1, 2007

Colloquium: Gamma-ray Bursts and Cosmic Rays

In this afternoon's colloquium, the first of the 2007-2008 series, CERN's Alvaro De Rújula will discuss the origins of non-solar cosmic rays and long-duration gamma-ray bursts.

De Rújula will argue that cosmic rays and gamma-ray bursts come from "cannonballs," relativistic puffs of plasma that are launched into space by supernovae in much the same way that cannonballs are launched by accreting black holes and neutron stars. As the traveling cannonballs hit ambient matter and light, they create the observed gamma-ray bursts and cosmic rays. De Rújula will argue that that this cannonball model has high predictive success requiring only simple physics.

The colloquium will take place today, Monday, October 1, at 4:15 p.m. in the Kavli Auditorium (please note the location change).  More information is available on the Colloquium Series website.

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Keeps on Cycling

Tim Montagne (foreground) competes at the 2007 USA Cycling Masters Track National Championship. Although he appears frozen in the photo, he is cycling at 40 miles per hour.

It is 12 seconds of the most intense cycling in the world. The races require months, if not years, of training for just 200 meters of all-out effort. But the sacrifices necessary to compete at this level of sprint cycling is worth it to Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) Design Engineer Tim Montagne, who recently took two third place finishes in his age group at the 2007 USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania.

"Not bad for a 50-year-old," mused Montagne sporting a wry grin.

Montagne has plenty of practice competing at the highest levels, having cycled competitively since 1980. Although he took 13 years off to go to school and pursue other activities, he recently returned to competitive events in 2003. Since then, Montagne has competed in Masters and Elite level cycling events, open to only those who qualify, pitting him against other qualifiers, professionals and even next year's Olympic team.

Competing at such a high level requires a massive amount of very specific training. Long, slow rides up to 50 miles are mixed in with short interval sprint training, power lifting, plyometrics and core conditioning. Many other SLAC employees including Manny Abela, Jeff Chan, Bill White, John Arthur and Jim Welch accompany Montagne on training rides.

"I'm either riding really slow or really fast and they put up with it and ride with me," said Montagne. "It helps tremendously."

Montagne has been training since last October for the Masters Track National Championships and the Elite Track National Championships, which will take place on October 3 through 7 in Carson, California.

Even though 200 meters may seem like a short race, a tremendous amount of training is required. It is difficult for even the best conditioned sprint cyclists to maintain top speed for a full tournament. Plus, the competition events can last a full eleven hours, during which competitors must ride multiple heats, including warm-ups, cool-downs and easy rides to just stay loose. The experience can be draining.

"Some competitors can be wicked fast in the morning but die out by the end. It requires training, eating and drinking right. It's kind of a science," said Montagne. "After the race, I'll probably take some time off and chill. You just can't maintain that level of training intensity continuously."

Certificate in Supervision Series to Begin Oct. 16

The most recent recipients of Certificates in Supervision. (Click on image for larger version and a complete list of names.)

The eighth annual Certificate in Supervision series will begin on Tuesday, October 16. This popular series consists of nine classes designed to teach supervisors and those interested in becoming supervisors effective leadership skills to meet the demands of an ever-changing workplace at SLAC and to promote optimal performance from employees. The interactive and lively classes are taught by both outside facilitators and the Human Resources training staff. More than 250 people have completed the series, earning their Certificates in Supervision.

Supervisors with fewer than 2 years of supervisory experience at SLAC are required to take at least four specific sessions in the series: Introduction to Supervision at SLAC, Understanding Legal Issues, Establishing Performance Expectations, and Creating a Safe and Sound Work Environment.

Anyone who is interested in participating in the series, or in single classes, may register by going to the Human Resources Web page, Training & Development and click on Certificate in Supervision. Detailed information about the series and a schedule of classes can also be found here. Please contact Training and Development Specialist Charlotte Carlson at x2265.

MCAP Applications Due Friday, October 5

Applications for Stanford's Medical Contribution Assistance Program (MCAP), which lowers the amount an employee pays to cover his or her dependents under a medical plan, are due on Friday, October 5.

The program is available to employees with a combined Adjusted Gross Income on their most recent Federal income tax return of $60,000 or less. Applications dropped off at the Stanford Benefits Office (not the SLAC Benefits Office) must arrive before 5:00 p.m. on October 5. Mailed applications must be postmarked October 5 or earlier.

Applications are available on the Stanford Benefits website and in both the campus and SLAC benefits offices.

For further information, please contact the SLAC Benefits Office at (650) 926-2356.

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