SLAC Today

Winter Shutdown, 2007-2008

(Image - Winter frost)

Happy Holidays

In this last SLAC Today of 2007, let me wish you and your families a wonderful holiday. I hope the break is enjoyable and restful.

A lot can happen in one year. 2007 has been a year of change—change at a speed that this lab has probably never seen before. We all know that change is unsettling and sometimes challenging, but it has also had many positive aspects for SLAC as the lab begins to once again reinvent itself to ensure an exciting and scientifically productive future. Let's look back on this eventful year.

Perhaps most notably, SLAC's science has been changing. This continued throughout the year as programs continued to evolve, with ultra fast science at SLAC ramping up and particle astrophysics now firmly established.

Over the past year, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC) researchers shed light on the fundamental processes that drive galactic evolution and developed an elegant explanation for how galaxies come to be dominated by dark matter, among many other results.

The Photon Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering (PULSE) center hosted SLAC's first Ultrafast X-ray Summer School to disseminate information about scientific opportunities in ultrafast science and to train students and postdocs on the new free electron laser facilities. Lectures covered everything from attosecond physics to pump-probe chemistry—the lab is learning a new vocabulary to go along with the new science!

The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) and the B-Factory continued to generate outstanding scientific opportunities for the SLAC user communities. SSRL commissioned a new beamline for Structural Molecular Biology, funded by the Moore Foundation. BaBar observed D-meson mixing for the first time.

In addition, the management of the lab has been changing. In March, Jonathan announced that he was stepping down. In September, he left the position of Director and I was asked to take over as Acting Director. The senior management of the lab has been restructured and many new faces are now in the Directorate.

We have a new head of the Department of Energy Stanford Site Office, Paul Golan. The strong help and strong support of the Site Office, under Paul's leadership, are essential elements of our future success.

A much sadder change for all of us was the passing of Pief. He was SLAC's iconic figure. We will miss him but are very grateful we had the opportunity to know him.

So much change in 2007, and more than a few surprises. At the beginning of this year, I announced my intention to step out of lab management. I certainly did not expect to be writing to you at the end of the year as Director!

We ended 2007 with a commitment to face our future as one lab. There are difficulties ahead. The House and Senate have passed an appropriations bill with an Office of Science budget that will challenge all of the laboratories greatly. We are still in discussion on the impacts at SLAC. I will hold an All Hands meeting for the laboratory staff on Monday, January 7, in which I should be able to let you know some details of our FY08 allocated budget and its impacts on the laboratory program and staffing. We will be challenged, but I know, as one lab, we will face the challenges, overcome the difficulties and produce science unrivaled by any establishment in the world. There may be storm clouds on the horizon and hidden shoals to navigate, but we know where we are sailing. It is a wonderful prospect and I, for one, am impatient to move forward into this new era for SLAC.

Happy Holidays.

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