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In this issue:
From the PPA Director: Evolution of the U.S. High Energy Physics Program
Open Enrollment for Health, Life Insurance Plans Begins Today
Word of the Week: "Monochromator"
Are You Cyber Aware?

SLAC Today

Friday - October 26, 2007

From the PPA Director:
Evolution of the U.S. High Energy Physics Program


Much like SLAC, the American high energy physics program is in a state of transition. With the shutdown of the SLAC's B-factory late next year and of Fermilab's Tevatron in either 2009 or 2010, the United States will be entering a period when there is no major accelerator facility for high energy physics research operating on American soil. This is happening at a time when there is much excitement in the field. It is widely expected that the turn-on of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN will enable a plethora of new discoveries, potentially including the long-sought detection of one or more Higgs bosons and conclusive evidence for the existence of supersymmetry. Parallel discoveries in particle astrophysics related to the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy may also greatly augment our current understanding of the structure and evolution of the universe.

Most American high energy physicists look to the International Linear Collider (ILC) to eventually provide the path for the U.S. to regain leadership in this field. The ILC can provide the opportunity to make precision measurements at the TeV scale—following up on the LHC discoveries to yield a detailed understanding of the anticipated new phenomena. Fermilab is one of three potential sites for this facility under consideration by the world-wide community. SLAC has been heavily involved in the R&D and preliminary engineering design efforts for the ILC, and this project is viewed as a key component of our future research program in the lab's Particle Physics and Astrophysics Directorate.  Read more...

Open Enrollment for Health, Life Insurance Plans Begins Today

Open Enrollment begins Friday, October 26, and runs through Thursday, November 15. During this time, benefits-eligible employees can make changes to health and life insurance plans for the upcoming calendar year, and retirees can make changes to their medical and dental coverage.

This is the only opportunity to make changes, unless a participating individual experiences a life change such as getting married or giving birth.

The benefits office launched a redesigned website on September 22 that includes a new section dedicated to Open Enrollment. The section contains all the information that employees and retirees in years past received via packets mailed to their home. To contribute to the campus-wide sustainability movement, the benefits office is relying on the website and a postcard and newsletter mailed earlier this month to inform and update employees. (Retirees still received packets in the mail.)

As in years past, the university bases its contribution for medical benefit plans on the lowest cost plan. Kaiser remains the lowest cost plan, and for employee-only coverage, the university pays the entire cost. Stanford also contributes 82% of the full cost of coverage for dependents. Read more in the Stanford Report...

Grief Counseling Available at Help Center

Our SLAC community has experienced the unexpected and untimely death of two employees this week. Such events can be very difficult to handle. On Monday, the Faculty Staff Help Center will offer a presentation on what to expect when a loss is suffered and, for any employees who would like a chance to discuss their feelings of loss and grief, the counselor will remain onsite to answer questions and give people a chance to talk if they wish. This presentation will take place on Monday, October 29th from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. in the Orange Room.

The Faculty Staff Help Center is always available to meet with individual employees as well. Appointments can be made by calling the SLAC Medical Department at x2281 or the Help Center at 650-723-4577.

Word of the Week:

Much of the research conducted at a synchrotron lab requires x-rays of a specific energy. Using specially prepared silicon crystals, a monochromator filters the x-ray beam much like a prism splits sunlight into a spectrum of colors. In this way researchers can select the specific x-ray energy of interest to them.

Are You Cyber Aware?

(Logo - Computer Security)What would you do if you found a USB drive laying around?

Did people really give up their passwords for an Easter Egg?

What is the preferred encryption level for your home wireless network?

Can you identify a phishing webpage in 5 seconds or less?

What are the characteristics of a good password?

If you have been reading the daily articles posted to the computing website this month, you know the answers to these questions and more.

Over the past four weeks, SLAC computer security has covered a wide variety of topics on the website. Week one articles were written to raise cyber awareness at work and at home. Weeks two and three covered best practices and hardware/software lockdown. Week four is currently in progress and offers tips on how to use the internet more safely.

Please take a few moments out of your busy day and read a few articles to help raise your cyber awareness.

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