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In this issue:
Big Science Gets Small
Safety Today: Staying Healthy as the Weather Changes
Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Standard/Pro

SLAC Today

Tuesday - March 4, 2008

Big Science Gets Small

Joy Andrews (left) and Sean Brennan with the new nano-imaging X-ray microscope at SSRL Beamline 6.

The size of big science at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) just got a little smaller, thanks to a new X-ray microscope installed last fall at Beamline 6. As one of only a handful of such instruments in operation around the world, the new microscope offers SSRL researchers and users a new set of eyes for peering into the three-dimensional chemistry and structure of a range of materials from meteorites to mouse bones.

Spearheaded by Piero Pianetta and built by X-ray equipment supplier Xradia, the otherwise commercially available microscope takes advantage of the SPEAR synchrotron's incredible brightness to quickly capture three-dimensional images of structures as small as 40 nanometers, or about the size of the smallest virus.

"It's just like a typical microscope, but instead of looking with light, which has a relatively large wavelength, we're looking with X-rays, which have a very small wavelength," said Joy Andrews, SSRL staff scientist. "That way we can look at much smaller things." Read more...

(Column - Safety Today)

Staying Healthy as the Weather Changes

It seems like the Bay Area has seen more than its fair share of people sick with pneumonia this year. Even as the weather changes, it's important to consider ways to keep viruses at bay.

Pneumonia is primarily transmitted via contaminated surfaces and direct person-to-person contact. A major factor is the close proximity of people to each other. The same phenomenon is seen on cruise ships, at scout camps, and in military recruit bases, no matter what the weather. Here are some suggestions for minimizing your risk of seasonal infections:

Exposure avoidance
Sick people should avoid well people, and vice versa. Cough or sneeze into disposable tissues or on your upper arm. Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. Disinfect commonly-contacted surfaces between uses.

Self care
Rest. If your temperature is 100-101°F or more, use a fever reducer. Acetaminophen is usually the first choice fever reducer because it's easy on the stomach. Hydration is also useful in respiratory infections to help thin mucous. Start re-hydration with water and move to sugar-containing drinks, especially if solid food is not tolerated. When able, try small amounts of bland solid foods, and then gradually return to your regular diet.

Outside help
Seek professional help if you have trouble breathing, a severe headache or stiff neck, severe weakness or dizziness, an extremely high fever or a fever that lasts more than three days.

Alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Standard/Pro

Recently, Scientific Computing and Computing Services (SCCS) has been approached by many users needing to create PDF files but who would prefer an alternative to Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional, either because of cost or because of ongoing security problems with Acrobat. A possible alternative is PDF-Xchange Pro, a much less expensive product that has similar features without Acrobat's history of vulnerabilities.

PDF-Xchange Pro can now be purchased through SCCS for $20.00 per seat.

PDF-Xchange Pro allows users to create and manipulate fully compatible Adobe PDF files from any Windows application. It has a variety of features including:

- Microsoft Office direct integration on the toolbar

- Automatic Bookmark creation

- Job management

- Scan to PDF

- PDF to Microsoft Word/RTF formats and content extraction

- Merge files

- Office to PDF batch conversion

- Watched folders

To obtain a copy, submit a SLAC Software Bulk Purchase Request Form and you will be added to the group authorized to download the software from Xweb.

Users should contact their administrators if they don't have adequate privileges or need help installing the software. For more information on PDF-Xchange Pro, contact your desktop admin or visit


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