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In this issue:
Imaging the Universe
People Today: SLAC Restructures and Strengthens CGS Department
Fermilab Today Director's Corner: Solidarity
Conservation Tip of the Week

SLAC Today

Wednesday - January 9, 2008

Lance Simms at the controls of the Kitt Peak 2.1 Meter Telescope.

Imaging the Universe

Lance Simms yawns and takes a sip of his "morning" coffee. It is 2:00 p.m., and he is slowly waking up, beginning to prepare for the long night ahead. The 26-year-old SLAC researcher and graduate student scrutinizes the checklist taped to the desk where he sits. He knows that, a few hours from now, one wrong flick of a switch could damage the multi-million-dollar machine of which he will have full command.

After eating "breakfast" and doing some final organization, Simms powers up this beast, one of Kitt Peak National Observatory's mammoth telescopes. When he tells it where to focus its six and a half-foot-wide eye, the photon-collecting "light bucket" whines, protesting the command to stare at a big, white spot inside its protective dome.

Simms runs this drill as the sun sets in Tucson, Arizona. The test ensures every part of the telescope is working properly, especially the new digital imager Simms attached to it. Only after these trials can the grad student unleash the telescope and his experimental picture-making device to catch the light of distant stars.

This imager, Simms says, could revolutionize how astronomers use telescopes to capture pictures of stars and galaxies, and it might one-day improve digital photography in the commercial world—if it lives up to its potential.  Read more...

(Weekly Column - Profile)

SLAC Restructures and Strengthens CGS Department

(Photo - New faces at ES&H)
From left to right: Terry McMahon, Steve Hauptman, Lance Lougee, Brian Sherin and Ralph Kerwin. (Click on image for larger version.)

In November 2007, the Chemical & General Safety Department (CGS) of SLAC's Environment, Safety & Health (ES&H) Division undertook plans to restructure and strengthen their department. As part of these improvements, the SLAC community welcomes Lance Lougee and Terry McMahon to the lab, and congratulates Steve Hauptman and Ralph Kerwin on their newly expanded roles.

Last Spring, Brian Sherin took on the role of CGS Department head. Since then he has been restructuring the organization. "Our goal is to have a top notch people to provide safety and emergency management support to SLAC's operations. The new staff and organization helps build upon previous accomplishments and move us in the right direction." Sherin said.

One of the first steps was the restaffing of the Fire and Emergency Management Group. With Bob Reek's retirement in October, Ralph Kerwin has now taken on the role of Fire Marshal. "The changes are challenging to put into place, but they will greatly strengthen our programs," said Kerwin.

Assisting Kerwin is Lance Lougee, who joins SLAC as Assistant Fire Marshall and Emergency Management Coordinator. "My primary role is to support the fire protection program and coordinate disaster preparedness and response recovery," he said. Lougee comes from both an entrepreneurial and professional emergency response background and is looking forward to applying his skills to SLAC. "I saw this as a great opportunity," he said. "It's exciting to work for Stanford on a brand new program."

Terry McMahon joins SLAC as the Deputy Department Head where he oversees both the ES&H Training Group and Industrial Safety. "My goal is to get our ES&H training program functioning as well as it can and ensure we're offering the required courses and quality training material," he explained.

"Terry was a great find for SLAC," said Sherin. "He has a lot of experience managing ES&H services, including work with other DOE labs."

Likewise, McMahon is eager to embrace his new role. "I'm looking forward to working with the ES&H training committee, and ensuring that we're incorporating feedback from line organizations in all of our training."

Read more...

Fermilab Today Director's Corner: Solidarity

(Photo - Pier Oddone)Yesterday the director of SLAC, Persis Drell, had an all-hands meeting to explain the consequences of the FY2008 budget. They are very serious for particle physics at SLAC, the nation and our international relations. They lead to the almost immediate shutdown of the B-factory at the beginning of March and to 125 layoffs in the High Energy Physics funded areas of the lab. In proportion to the size of the High Energy Physics program at SLAC, these cuts are even more severe than those at Fermilab.

SLAC is our principal national partner on the International Linear Collider (ILC) R&D program. SLAC has made the ILC the keystone of their future accelerator program. SLAC's leadership has demonstrated the highest standard and commitment in supporting the ILC as a national priority even though the facility would be built at Fermilab and not at SLAC. We owe our colleagues at SLAC our strongest efforts to help deal with the problems created by the FY08 budget. A hit to our partners at SLAC is also a hit on our future.

The termination of the B-factory is one factor that allows the program at the Tevatron to remain fully productive in FY08 despite all the problems we face. It places an even greater responsibility on us to deliver on that program and make the sacrifices that will be necessary. On a personal note, I worked for many years on the B-factory at SLAC with great colleagues from SLAC and from national and international institutions. Of special concern to me for our future international collaborations are the abrupt changes that our funding process imposes on our collaborations with international scientific partners. Even formal international agency agreements, as in the case of ITER, do not protect programs against abrupt changes of direction. We must fix this process if we are to regain the trust of our partners and our international standing in the scientific community.

The true measure of a person or an institution emerges in the hard, not the easy, times. SLAC, Fermilab and our particle physics community have been handed a truly hard and difficult time. The way we respond in the days and weeks ahead will define our laboratories and our field. I am convinced that together we will demonstrate the value of the science we do, science that will remain an inspiration for generations to come.

Conservation Tip
of the Week

(Photo - Paint bucket)Paint and decorate in light colors. Dark colors absorb light. Light colors reflect light. The lighter the colors, the less artificial lighting is required to illuminate the area.

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