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In this issue:
LSST Gets Real
People Today: Plane Plans
SLAC Earth Day Events
Conservation Tip of the Week
Wednesday - April 16, 2008
LSST Gets Real
Loading and evenly spreading 51,900 pounds of glass into a gigantic rotating furnace—by hand—marked the initial steps in the mirror fabrication process for the world’s most powerful survey telescope, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). The process, performed by workers at the Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory (SOML) in Tucson, Arizona, is not simple by any means; the mirror fabrication will take five years from start to finish.
Private donations in the neighborhood of $40 million enabled the mirror fabrication as well as research and development of other key components.
"We've been the recipient of generous private funding," said Steve Kahn, Director of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at SLAC and LSST deputy director. "Seeing this project move forward has been exciting." Read more...
Craig Jordan hasn't had any time to build model airplanes since he was appointed central lab supervisor. But a quick look at his office and that fact is hard to believe.
Jordan's office, which sits in SLAC's oldest machine shop, is an appropriate place for this self-proclaimed history buff to showcase scale model aircraft, which crowd shelves and hang from the ceiling.
"My dad use to ask mockingly about my 'toys,' I told him about one that I bought for five dollars and is worth at least 10 times that," Jordan said, "now he buys them any chance he gets."
Jordan doesn't collect and build the planes for the sake of money. To him they are all priceless. He regularly patrols auctions, garage sales and aviation museums for memorabilia.
With a spare bedroom filled with 1,300 untouched model kits—which Jordan calculates would take 25 years if he built one a week—it's good that his wife encourages his hobby. In fact, she served as a guide when they toured Chinese air museums.
Jordan said his China trip was remarkable, but he was shocked at the shabby conditions of planes—many had flat tires, broken windshields and ample rust. He wasn't shy about telling the curator his impression.
"I told him he had a junkyard, not a museum," he said. "In the U.S., many air museums depend on war veteran volunteers to do maintenance, but in China many of these older folks end up raising their grandchildren."
Jordan might just be their man. When he retires he plans to return to China to repair battered planes to a condition that makes them look brand new.
"There's not much about aircraft that I don't know," he said. "When I retire I'm going to have all sorts of time—I'd almost restore their planes for free."
Earth Day at SLAC!
SLAC will celebrate Earth Day in the Auditorium Breezeway between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. next Tuesday. Vendors will be on hand from companies like Grainger, Universal Building Services and Akeena Solar to discuss a range of topics and promote green products and consumer choices leading to a green lifestyle at home and the workplace. Activities will include product displays, free giveaways and raffles.
A special prize will be given to the first 140 arrivals, so don't miss out!
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