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In this issue:
Under Pressure
Science Today: Using PEP-II as a Low-energy Machine : An Unexpected Use of BaBar Data
Kavli Foundation Website Features New Astrophysics Videos
Don't Forget the Holiday Giving Drives

SLAC Today

Thursday - November 29, 2007

Naturally occurring materials called clathrates can clog offshore gas pipelines, as shown above, but one day researchers may be able to engineer them to store enough hydrogen to fuel cars. (Image courtesy of Petrobras.)

Under Pressure

Wendy Mao uses gem-quality diamonds as vise grips to put materials under severe pressure while exposed to brilliant x-ray beams.

In this way she can learn how materials change during extreme conditions, allowing scientists to probe materials near the center of Earth while also looking for new energy-related materials.

"The diamonds are transparent to x-rays, so you can probe the sample at high pressure," said Mao, who is a new assistant professor, jointly appointed in SLAC's Photon Science Department and Stanford's Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. Mao is also a principal investigator at SLAC's X-Ray Laboratory for Advanced Materials (XLAM).

One of the intriguing materials she studies is a collection of polyhedral ice cages made of water molecules, which are stable when guest molecules occupy the cages. Called clathrates, these full cages occur naturally on the ocean floor and in permafrost regions, where there are low temperatures, high pressures, or both. Clathrates can form in gas pipelines on the ocean floor, causing major economic and safety headaches.  Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

SLAC's Increased Involvement in the LHC

SLAC's traditional electron and photon based science program has been diversifying to the high-energy frontier over the last few years, with efforts on both the accelerator and the ATLAS detector at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Both of these efforts are expected to ramp up over the next few years. On the accelerator side, Tom Markiewicz has become the Accelerator Systems leader for the U.S. LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP) and also heads the newly created LARP department in the Accelerator Research Division (ARD).

Underscoring this increased involvement in the LHC, SLAC recently hosted the 9th LARP Collaboration Meeting on October 17-19, 2007. About 60 participants from Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), CERN, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the University of Texas joined their SLAC colleagues in animated discussions of current and future work. At a session devoted to new proposals, SLAC speakers presented eight proposals for new efforts that would leverage SLAC experience and expertise to the benefit of the LHC and U.S. Accelerator R&D. SLAC is actively working with LARP management to find a way to permit at least some of these efforts to go forward. Read more...

Kavli Foundation Website Features New Astrophysics Videos

(Still shot from new video)

The Kavli Foundation, which endowed the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at SLAC and Stanford, has created two new videos discussing current fronts in observational and theoretical astrophysics.  The videos, narrated by Alan Alda, are now available on the Kavli Foundation website.  

Don't Forget the Holiday Giving Drives

For the past two weeks, barrels and boxes scattered across the lab have slowly begun to fill with canned food, warm coats and blankets. But local residents and families still need your help. Tuesday, December 18 is the last day to add your contribution to the Second Harvest Food Drive and Thursday, December 20 is your last chance to donate to the SLAC Blanket and Coat Drive.

The SLAC Community is also showing its generosity this year by participating in the Family Giving Tree. Don't forget to pick up a Wish Card from the Family Giving Tree and bring a gift to a child who would otherwise go without. The Family Giving Tree will end on Friday, December 14.

Thanks for giving!

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