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In this issue:
SLAC All Over the ATLAS
People Today: SLAC's Beam Operators: A Balancing Act
Panofsky Symposium Tomorrow
Conservation Tip of the Week

SLAC Today

Wednesday - April 9, 2008

SLAC All Over the ATLAS

The pixel detector installed at the core of ATLAS will help track particles in the massive detector. (Click image for larger version. Photo: CERN)

Thousands of scientific visitors regularly descend upon the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the newest and largest particle accelerator, makes CERN a frequent destination for visiting collaborators, many of whom are from SLAC.

"I end up spending more time at CERN than I do at SLAC," physicist Charlie Young said. "I wouldn't do all this traveling, if it weren't for the physics."

One particular center of SLAC's involvement at the LHC is the A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS (ATLAS) experiment, one of six detectors situated at collision interaction points. Nearly 2,000 ATLAS collaborators worldwide are busy finalizing the detector, which will scour data from the uncharted high-energy frontier. Read more...

(Weekly Column - Profile)

SLAC's Beam Operators: A Balancing Act

(Photo - Beam Operators in the MCC)
Beam operators and colleagues in SLAC's Main Control Center. (Click for larger version. Photo: Brad Plummer)

The title of "beam operator" might be misleading to some—it conceals complexity by implying simplicity. This is rarely the case for the rotating shifts of beam operators found, both day and night, working their stations at SLAC's Main Control Center (MCC).

There, beam operators monitor accelerator activity and orchestrate beam performance. Thousands of signals—on phase, power and temperature data—are routinely scrutinized. Crews carry out scheduled accelerator programs by optimizing luminosity, adjusting beam energy, steering or any number of parameters in order to give particle physicists a better chance to decipher clues to universal mysteries.

"Operators have to be generalists in that they have to understand the purpose and key signals of varying subsystems in an accelerator," Supervisor of MCC Engineering-Operators-in-Charge Mike Stanek said. "We look for people who are inherently curious about the in-and-outs of accelerator hardware and software."

Beam operators are introduced to a dizzying array of systems and subsystems when they start at the MCC. Some technicians use the broad introduction to find a concentration, only staying temporarily. Others find that their passion for the control room extends into a life-long career and stick around. Those that do stick around find that there is always something new to learn.

The upkeep of an accelerator involves constant technical challenges. Physicists and engineers are always improving their methods, and beam operators have to follow suit. Throughout running PEP-II, beam operators adapted to numerous new tools and systems.

"An operator regularly has to learn a new assortment of accelerator physics concepts," Stanek said. "And, like anything else, that mastery evolves."

Panofsky Symposium Tomorrow

(Image - Panofsky Symposium)

Starting tomorrow, the remarkable professional life of Pief Panofsky will be the subject of a day-long symposium that will comprise a series of speakers who will summarize Pief's achievements as a scientist and humanitarian. The event will take place in two locations: the Arrillaga Alumni Center on the Stanford campus, where the presentations and discussion will be held; and the Panofsky Auditorium at SLAC, where a real-time broadcast of the talks will be shown.

Space is limited, but registration is still available for the broadcast at SLAC and can be completed the day of the event at the Panofsky Auditorium. SLAC staff must obtain permission from their supervisors to take time off to attend.

All registered attendees are welcome at the 5:30 p.m. reception at Arrillaga tomorrow after the event.

Conservation Tip
of the Week

(Image - Faucet!)

Now that summer is almost here, let's review some water conservation tips. Listed below are the top 10 tips from the Mono Lake Water Conservation page.

1. Set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. (~750-1,500 gal/mo)
2. Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints. (~20 gal/day per leak)
3. Use a bucket to wash your car. (~150 gallons each time)
4. Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. (~500 to 800 gal/mo)
5. Only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. (~300 to 800 gal/mo)
6. Reduce showers by one or two minutes. (~700 gal/mo)
7. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks. (~150 gal/each time)
8. Don't use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. (~400 to 600 gal/mo)
9. Capture tap water. Catch your warming flow in a watering can to use later on plants. (~200 to 300 gal/mo)
10. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands where it belongs. (~500 gal/mo)

Don't forget, by making simple changes in our everyday lives we can make a world of difference.


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