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In this issue:
From the Director
NASA Contest to Rename GLAST
Word of the Week: "Attosecond"
Building the LCLS: Weekly Update

SLAC Today

Friday - February 8, 2008

(Photo - Persis Drell)

From the Director

This week, the laboratory is focused on the layoffs that are being announced. We received final approvals from Stanford University and the Department of Energy to proceed late on Tuesday afternoon. Within 30 minutes, word went to all of the laboratory staff with a schedule by directorate and department as to when individuals would be notified. I have been impressed and deeply moved by the stoic and professional attitude of the lab staff during this horrible period of uncertainty since the layoffs were announced on January 7. I am relieved to bring the uncertainty to an end.

Other events seem to pale in comparison to the immediate actions we are taking this week. And yet, this week has also marked the very important announcement of the DOE Office of Science performance assessment of SLAC based on the criteria established in our FY07 Performance Evaluation and Measurement Plan (PEMP). The SLAC grades are posted, along with the grades for the other Office of Science laboratories, on the DOE website. The full PEMP report has been issued to the laboratory and soon will be posted where staff can access it. These grades evaluate the laboratory in FY07 (the period of Oct 1, 2006 through Sept. 30, 2007).

The overall grades for SLAC are B+ for Science and Technology performance and B- for Management and Operations performance. These grades are very similar to the grades we received for FY06. I have three important messages for the laboratory with respect to the PEMP process and our evaluation.  Read more...

NASA Contest to Rename GLAST

NASA announced yesterday that members of the general public from around the world will have a chance to suggest a new name for the cutting edge Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) observatory before it launches in mid-2008. The satellite will observe some of the most powerful forces known in the universe with the onboard Large Area Telescope, which was integrated at SLAC.

"The idea is to give people a chance to come up with a name that will fully engage the public in the GLAST mission," said Steve Ritz, the mission's project scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The mission's scientific objectives are to:
- Explore the most extreme environments in the universe, where nature harnesses energies far beyond anything possible on Earth
- Search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter
- Explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed
- Help crack the mysteries of the stupendously powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts
- Answer long-standing questions about a broad range of phenomena, including solar flares, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays


Word of the Week:

An attosecond is a sliver of time equivalent to one billionth of one billionth of a second. It is as short, compared to a full second, as a second is short compared to the age of the universe (about 14 billion years). The LCLS is designed to produce pulses of light that last in the femtosecond range, about a thousand times longer than an attosecond, but scientists hope to one day tweak the machine to operate in the attosecond range.


Building the LCLS:
Weekly Update

Highlights from this week's Linac Coherent Light Source construction activities include:

- Hoisting the walls and roof for the service building 2.3 to the top of the Beam Transport Hall.
- Installing overhead racks and welding boxes in the Beam Dump and Front End Enclosure.
- Installing sprinkler systems, doorframes and drywall in the Central Utilities Plant.


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