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In this issue:
SSRL Research Gets the Creepy Crawlies
Science Collaboration Opportunities with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope
Celebrate Jonathan: Dinner Registration Deadline
The Beautiful Game: Not Just for the Pros

SLAC Today

Monday - July 14, 2008

SSRL Research Gets the Creepy Crawlies

The fangs of Araneus diadematus, the European garden spider. The frames (2x2 micrometers) show deposits of zinc (upper right), magnesium (lower left) or both (lower right). The metals strengthen the spider fangs.
(Image courtesy of Robert Scott.)

Researchers at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) are looking at the things that creep and crawl and sting. Spiders, scorpions, crabs, worms and more are under examination on the nanoscale as part of a search for deposits of metal atoms in the creatures' claws, jaws and fangs. These metal deposits are an evolutionary feat of engineering—they make the structures significantly stronger and longer lasting. Researchers Robert M. S. Schofield of the University of Oregon, Michael H. Nesson of Oregon State University and Robert A. Scott of the University of Georgia are working at SSRL, on the microprobe at beam line 2-3. Together they are surveying a range of small invertebrates—mostly arthropods—shedding light on the development of these unique structures, and searching for common ancestors of these highly varied creatures. Read more...

Science Collaboration Opportunities with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope

The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) is inviting members from the U.S. astronomy and physics communities to take part in shaping the science for the LSST through membership in LSST Science Collaborations.

Over the course of ten years, the LSST will perform a six-wavelength, multi-epoch visible-light survey of half the celestial sphere, which will provide major leaps for studies of dark energy and dark matter via studies via studies of gravitational lensing, distant supernovae, and the large-scale distribution of galaxies. The LSST will cover the sky with an unprecedented combination of speed and depth. The Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5), which recently developed a long range plan for particle physics in the U.S., explicitly endorsed the continued construction of the LSST under all funding scenarios that it considered. The present plan is for LSST “first light” in 2014. More information about the LSST and its science goals can be found online at and

The Science Collaborations are opening their membership to the U.S. science community to help develop and document the science opportunities provided by the LSST, finalize the design of the system and observing strategy, undertake end-to-end simulations, commission instrument and data management systems, and develop and ultimately perform science analyses. These collaborations are intended to work closely with the LSST construction project, although they are autonomous ventures.

Those who wish to join one or more of these collaborations are asked to submit a proposal for review by the Science Collaboration leadership and an independent panel of astronomers and physicists. Further details and information on applying for membership are available here.

The application deadline is August 29, 2008.

Celebrate Jonathan:
Dinner Registration Deadline

Be sure to register for Jonathan Dorfan's Symposium. If you would like to join the dinner celebration, your registration is needed by 5:00 p.m. this Wednesday.

The Beautiful Game:
Not Just for the Pros

(Photo - soccer on the green July 10, 2008)
July 10, 2008 going-away game for Glenn Scheitrum.
(Photo courtesy of John Van Pelt. Click image to enlarge.)

For those of you who have wondered, those folks out on the green playing soccer at lunch time are not professionals. Some have "learned" from scratch here at SLAC. If the game seems out of your level, it’s mostly luck—with occasional flashes of brilliance. Bottom line: it's just a bunch of SLAC employees enjoying some exercise, relieving work stress and most of all developing camaraderie through a common enjoyment of that "beautiful game."

While the game may seem fast, players can determine their own level of intensity, for example, by playing in the periphery, while still developing passing, trapping and strategy skills as well as aerobic fitness. Skill levels vary from semi-professional to beginning; this is a very supportive environment where even an attempt on a goal or a good pass may draw applause.

It's also a good way to get to know co-workers from all areas of SLAC. Don't let inexperience keep you from coming out! By the way, it is co-ed—women and men are encouraged to participate.

We play Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at noon. Contact Lou Garcia (x2351) or Rafa Miranda (x4471) for more information.

SLAC Name Change

  • Members of the SLAC community can share their comments and suggestions about the plans for a new name for SLAC here:


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