SLAC Today is available online at:
http://today.slac.stanford.edu
In this issue:
From the Director: SLAC, the Site Office, and Stanford University
SLAC Hosts CIFAR Meeting and Linde Fest
Word of the Week: Qubit
A Trifecta Holiday for the Left-brain Crowd
Correction: Lock Your Computer
Building the LCLS: Weekly Update

SLAC Today

Friday - March 14, 2008

(Photo - Persis Drell)

From the Director: SLAC, the Site Office and Stanford University

Many things have changed at this lab in the past six months, but one of the more profound changes has been in the relationship between the laboratory, the Department of Energy Stanford Site Office and Stanford University, which manages the contract to operate the lab for the Department of Energy.

On Wednesday, December 5th, management teams and representatives from SLAC, Stanford University and the Department of Energy met offsite to discuss specific actions that would promote an effective working relationship between the three parties. We acknowledged that trust and the working relationship between the Department of Energy and SLAC have eroded over time and we discussed what we should do to improve it. We were especially eager to engage in this dialogue because we have new management at the lab, at the site office and at Stanford, with the newly created position of Vice President for SLAC at Stanford. We all felt it was important to address how we wanted to work together in the most constructive fashion possible to ensure the best outcome for all of us.

We drafted two documents at the retreat: an operating model that defines the responsibilities of the three partners, and a partnership commitment that Vice President for SLAC at Stanford Bill Madia, Department of Energy Stanford Site Office Manager Paul Golan and I have signed that articulates our common goals and how we intend to achieve them.

We agreed that, with our staff, we needed to work together in partnership, we needed to communicate more frequently and openly, and that we all had to recognize that success is only possible if we work together. This retreat was a step toward building a productive, trusting, and forward looking relationship. We still have a long way to go but Paul, Bill and I are very optimistic and indeed fully expect that we will be successful and that the success of the partnership will enable our laboratory to become a better place to work.

SLAC Hosts CIFAR Meeting and Linde Fest


One of the more than 60 talks given at last week's CIFAR conference.

Last week, researchers from all around the globe visited SLAC to attend the annual Cosmology and Gravity Meeting of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and to celebrate the 60th birthday of Stanford Physics Professor Andrei Linde.

"This has been a spectacular meeting, with great people and great talks," said Program Director and CIFAR Fellow Richard Bond. "Combining our annual meeting with Andrei's birthday has made for a stellar conference."

The meeting included more than 60 talks focusing on everything from string theory to gravitational waves. 

"In large part because it was Andrei's birthday, we had more great people accept our invitation to speak than we could ever have imagined," said Bond. "We were confronted with an embarrassment of riches."

Learn more about CIFAR online...

Word of the Week:
Qubit

Just as a "bit" is the base unit of information used by modern computers, a "quantum bit," or "qubit," is the base unit of information used by quantum computers. But whereas a bit represents either a 1 or a 0, a qubit can represent a 1, 0, or both at the same time. Quantum computing, although it is still in its infancy, could solve problems much faster than classical computers.

Correction:
Lock Your Computer

The "Lock Your Computer" article in yesterday's edition of SLAC Today contained an error: anyone with a centrally managed Windows desktop wishing to avoid an automatic screen saver that goes into effect after 15 minutes of computer inactivity must receive a written exception from the Computer Security Officer, not the Chief Safety Officer.

A Trifecta Holiday for the Left-brain Crowd

Not all careers are created equal in the realm of public appeal. Athletes get the glory. Politicians get yard signs.

But do they have their own day? Nope. But you do.

Tomorrow heralds the first Talk Like a Physicist Day. The new holiday will crowd onto March 14 along with Albert Einstein’s birthday and International Pi Day to create a trifecta event for the left-brain crowd.

You have a whole day to freely, and with pride, talk in algorithms and spew esoteric engineering terms about machines that only exist in a few places on the globe.

The idea grew from a challenge thrown out by Jennifer Ouellette in her blog Cocktail Party Physics. Musing on the fact that a Talk Like a Pirate Day exists, Ouellette dared the world's modern day explorers to mark a day on the calendar to take their own linguistic liberties.

A new Web site, TalkLikeAPhysicist.com picked up the gauntlet this year, announcing it's ready to take physics-quality phrase submissions to launch the new holiday.

So have fun. Use as much jargon as possible. Revel in laboratory lexicons. Strive to turn arcane physics speak into the terminology of the uber-hip. Who knows, maybe soon the winter refrain of the befuddled, "Sorry. My brain's not superconducting today," will take over the world.

Building the LCLS: Weekly Update

Highlights from this week's Linac Coherent Light Source construction activities include continuing seismic installations in the Near Experimental Hall (NEH), along with insulation, drywall and stairs at the loading dock. Crews are working on underground storm drain and domestic water plumbing in the NEH parking lot, and underground storm sewers associated with the Far Experimental Hall. Backfilling continues around the Front End Enclosure, Beam Dump and NEH.

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