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In this issue:
SLAC Welcomes Jochen Schneider to the LCLS Team
People Today: Energy for Sunshine
Snakes Underfoot!
Conservation Tip of the Week

SLAC Today

Wednesday - June 25, 2008

SLAC Welcomes Jochen Schneider to the LCLS Team

This month SLAC welcomes Jochen Schneider, the most recent addition to the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) team. Schneider initially came to SLAC last January as a visiting professor. His appointment as new director of the Experimental Facilities Division for the LCLS marks a big step toward making the LCLS a scientific reality.

"We've just had the first workshops for users, which worked out very nicely," Schneider said. "I think it's a very exciting time to get moving."

Schneider has a long career with free electron laser research, having developed the research program for the FLASH (Free electron LASer in Hamburg) facility at the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron laboratory (DESY) in Germany. Schneider now brings that expertise to SLAC to create the scientific research and user program for the LCLS.

As director of the Experimental Facilities Division for the LCLS, Schneider's primary responsibility will be organizing the transition from construction to user operations. In June, the organization hosted the first two user workshops designed to help potential users prepare research proposals—the Atomic, Molecular and Optical and the X-ray Pump-Probe workshops. Schneider says the workshops are crucial for ensuring the LCLS begins producing science as soon as commissioning is complete.

"I am thrilled that Jochen has accepted this responsibility," said SLAC Director Persis Drell. "He is an invaluable resource to the laboratory in this role and will be critical in helping us to ensure outstanding early science from LCLS when it turns on."

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Energy for Sunshine

Ruth and Warren McDunn say their new solar panels are well worth the investment.

Ruth McDunn and her husband, Warren, recently installed solar panels on their roof, to compete with the growing energy crisis and their own increasing energy bills. They're glad to be doing their part for the environment, while still enjoying the electric heater for their pool.

When their electricity bills were well exceeding $300 a month, McDunn and her husband decided to bite the bullet and invest in solar panels. They had room for a total of 18 panels, which will supply a little more than half of the electricity that the homeowners use.

The panels are directly connected to the PG&E electricity grid through a time-of-use meter, rather than a battery or storage device. Whenever the sun is shining the panels collect sunlight and feed the energy into the grid. McDunn and her husband are credited for this collected energy, and can use that credit whenever they are at home. PG&E pays higher rates for peak hours (1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.) so the McDunns get more credits for energy collected during those hours when they are usually at work.

The solar panels cost McDunn and her husband around $22,000, after a California government rebate. They will also get a sizeable federal tax refund next year. McDunn says the panels should pay for themselves in just six years, but even if they don't, she's happy to be using an alternative energy source.

McDunn says the feedback she's received from friends and neighbors has been mostly positive. People who see the panels on the house will often stop and ask questions, and she's talked to other people who want to make the investment. She says there have been a few people who were quick to point out that solar panels aren't the most efficient form of alternative energy, but she's quick to shoot back, saying "Well, maybe not, but we've got an awful lot of sunshine in California"—enough sunshine to drop her electric bill to less than $50 a month.

Snakes Underfoot!

(Photo - Snake)
A baby rattlesnake was captured in the Klystron Gallery last week.
(Photo courtesy of Roland Kurz.)

Employees working in the Klystron Gallery had an unexpected visitor last week: a baby rattlesnake. The snake was found on the concrete floor of the Gallery. Fortunately, nobody stepped on it, and the correct protocol was followed: security personnel at the main gate were called, and the snake was caught and released back to the wild at Jasper Ridge.

Snake encounters occur more frequently in the hot, dry months of summer, so anyone working outdoors should keep a particularly watchful eye. If confronted by a snake, remember to keep a distance of at least six feet, call security (x2551), and warn others of the danger, if you feel comfortable enough to stay in the area.

To avoid coming into contact with a snake, take extra care around noisy environments where the sound of a rattlesnake may not be heard.  Read more...

Conservation Tip
of the Week

Last week, I received a good suggestion from David Masaki, who requested an article on public transportation options and ride-sharing opportunities. With gas prices continuing to rise, at a seemingly exponential rate, this topic is near and dear to all of our hearts and our wallets.

First off, there is a surplus of information available on alternate transportation if you just go to the SLAC benefits webpage. Once there, you’ll find everything from Cal-train schedules to Muni schedules to free tickets being offered by many of the various public transportation agencies.

Also, please note that pre-tax commuter options are available, in various forms, and paid for through the Stanford payroll deduction program. You can realize actual savings on your commuting costs of up to 40% or $1,500 annually. It's definitely worth a look if you're contemplating moving toward public transportation on a regular basis. You can contact our Benefits Office for more information.


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