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In this issue:
Let the Celebration Begin!
Science Today: A Droll Stroll Through the Periodic Table
SLAC Kids Day Registration Deadline

SLAC Today

Thursday - July 24, 2008

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Let the Celebration Begin!

Let's Celebrate Jonathan! The symposium honoring Jonathan Dorfan's career and leadership as SLAC's third laboratory director is underway today, with a full day of talks and festivities here on the SLAC campus.

All SLAC staff are invited to a celebration on the Green, starting at 2:45 p.m. Come enjoy cake and ice cream, and hear talks celebrating Jonathan Dofran's contributions to the laboratory and the broader scientific community. This is a great chance to thank Jonathan for his friendship and years of service to the laboratory. See you there!

(Daily Column - Science Today)

A Droll Stroll Through the Periodic Table

Chemists at the University of Nottingham have made a series of short videos, one for each element of the Periodic Table, and they are a hoot. Not that they’re silly; no, they are quite solid (when not liquid or gaseous) and demonstrate actual properties of these most basic substances. But they’re definitely put together with a twinkle of the eye.

Take sodium: A scientist in lab coat and safety googles removes a cylinder of the reactive metal from a jar and cuts off a piece to show how shiny it is. He and a colleague carry a big chunk outside and drop it into a stoneware dog bowl full of water: Sizzle! Smoke! Flame! Pop! Little chunks fly out of the bowl—one pasting itself onto the camera—and the scientists chuckle like schoolboys. These demonstrations are intercut with shots of Professor Martyn Poliakoff in his cluttered, book-bound office, explaining why sodium is unique and important. It has a warm spot in his heart, he adds, because its chemical symbol is Na, which was his mother’s nickname.

Part of Poliakoff’s considerable charm is his cloud of gray hair; a cross between Einstein and Afro, it seems poised to take off on an adventure of its own. According to his Wikipedia entry, Poliakoff recently won an award for best hair on the Internet. While I’d take that claim with a grain of sodium chloride, you can see how it might be possible.  Read more in symmetry breaking...

SLAC Kids Day Registration Deadline

SLAC Kids Day 2007 activities.
(Photo by Diana Rogers.)

Tomorrow is the final day to register for Take Your Kids to Work Day 2008. The event, which will take place on Friday, August 15, is open to kids 9–16 years of age who are sponsored by a member of the SLAC community.

Kids Day 2008 will include science talks and project workshops hosted by SLAC staff. Nearly 250 kids attend this event each year, keeping about 50 SLAC volunteers busy guiding children to their activities and handing out lunches, snacks and T-shirts. (See "SLAC Kids Day 2008," SLAC Today July 7, 2008.)

Hydro Rockets—Bottles Needed

In one workshop, the kids will build and launch water-powered soda-bottle rockets. The Kids Day volunteers are seeking about 120 empty two-liter soda bottles for the workshop. If you have some two-liter bottles to give away, please contact Michelle Steger at x3011 to arrange your contribution.

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