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In this issue:
Cryo Crash Test
Science Today: A New Eye on Sulfur in Living Tissues
Luncheon Celebrates 2008 Globie Awardees

SLAC Today

Thursday - June 19, 2008

A module-shaped crash test dummy.
(Click on image for larger version.)

Cryo Crash Test

Particle physicists have the reputation that they need to smash things up in order to find out what they are about. Sometimes accelerator physicists get to smash stuff up, too: a group of engineers and technicians recently crash-tested a full cryomodule. They wanted to find out what the 12-meter piece of kit would look like if somebody happened to use the beam pipe as a stepladder, drive a tunnel vehicle into a flange or decide to rip out a vacuum pump.

For those readers who don't have much patience: sorry, the module did not look much different from the outside—the test showed that they are rather robust.  Read more in ILC NewsLine...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

A New Eye on Sulfur in Living Tissues

Sulfur is essential for life, playing important roles in metabolism and protein structure and function. Although information on sulfur biochemistry is highly desirable, it is an element that is difficult to study as it is not easily accessible with most biophysical techniques. However, sulfur X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) is one such method and has become increasingly used for the study of sulfur in biological systems. Recently, a group of researchers from Stanford University, the University of Saskatchewan, SSRL, and ExxonMobil used SSRL Beamline 6-2 for an in situ sulfur XAS study of living mammalian cell cultures.

The scientists examined the uptake of taurine in specific cells as a function of time, dose and polarity. Taurine is a sulfur-containing (sulfonic) acid which is present in high concentrations in animal organs and which has been implicated as a component in diverse physiological actions, in particular in osmoregulation (the active regulation of the pressure/cell volumes in bodily fluids).  The cells were of a common biological cell line known as Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. This cell line develops into a specially arranged single layer of cells that exhibits the characteristics of kidney cells when cultured on polycarbonate membranes. Significant information was retrieved by following the "sulfonate feature" of taurine in the XAS spectra of the cell cultures, demonstrating that there was a considerable amount of taurine accumulation within the cells as a function of time, and that the uptake was mainly taking place at a certain location at the cell surface.

Luncheon Celebrates 2008 Globie Awardees

The 2008 Globie awardees.
(Photo courtesy of Brad Plummer.
Click on image for larger version.)

Yesterday afternoon, the 2008 Employee Recognition awardees were treated to a special lunch at the Stanford Faculty Club. The group had a delightful time meeting each other, enjoying the delicious food and trading various "I don't know why I'm getting this award" remarks (our awardees are a very unassuming group this year!). As desserts were savored, Persis Drell came to the front to give her own personal congratulations and to thank everybody for promoting a positive and harmonious work environment within the laboratory. As portions of the nominations were read, Persis handed each person his or her Globie and certificate with a handshake and her thanks.

In true Globie-winner fashion, the recipients were full of smiles, kindness, and respect for each other. Several people remarked that it was a very humbling experience; they were used to being in the background and it was amazing to receive a Globie. Showing the spirit that won them the award, they said:

In this last week, so many people have come up to congratulate me... I hadn't known, and it's truly humbling.

I think the people who took the time to write in and nominate me should have the Globie—they're the ones who are special!

I've never won so much as a $5 lottery, and now to receive a Globie? I still can't believe it!

Our 2008 awardees truly are good citizens of SLAC. Congratulations again to all the recipients!


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