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In this issue:
Jug Band History at SLAC
People Today: Veronique Ziegler
Welcome, David Michael Nelson!
Conservation Tip of the Week: Carbon Feet?

SLAC Today

Wednesday - August 6, 2008

(Photo - The Grinnin Dawgs in 1981)
The Grinnin Dawgs: (left to right) Alan Spragens, Bebo White, Peder Jones on the jug and Bruce Erickson play at SLAC in 1981.
Photo courtesy of Bebo White.
(Click images for larger versions.)

Jug Band History at SLAC

Cigar boxes, trash cans and washboards may be nothing but junkyard fodder for most people, but for the Tarantulas Jug Band, these are the makings of great music. The genre had its heyday in the late 1920s, but it is still alive and well in the Bay Area: The 3rd annual San Francisco Jug Band Festival will be held August 15–17, 2008. The 6th International Jug Band Festival will take place September 27–28 in Sutter Creek. These sights and sounds may be familiar to some SLAC employees who recall several jug bands that have played, and formed, at SLAC.

The community of SLAC employees, with its wide variety of interests and talents, brought together a previous jug band, way back in 1981. SLAC employees Bebo White, Alan Spragens and Bruce Erickson were introduced through friends who recognized their common love of this down-home style of music. Together they formed The Grinnin' Dawgs Jug Band. The group made jug band fans out of many SLAC employees when they played at a few SLAC functions, including Family Day 1981. Many years later, another band of White's called the Loose Licks played at Family Day 1994. These days, White is associated with the Tarantulas, a nine-member band that made its most recent SLAC appearance in 2006, at the International Conference on Web Engineering (ICWE) dinner.  Read more...

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Veronique Ziegler

Veronique Ziegler is fierce with data analysis. (Photo by Calla Cofield.)

Don't be fooled by Veronique Ziegler's delicate appearance: she is fierce with data analysis.

Ziegler is a petite woman, with a calming voice and soft French accent. Her features are somewhat hidden behind her draping black hair and glasses; but her face lights up as she talks about particle physics. Clearly, science is running in her veins.

After graduating from a small university in Iowa with a master's degree in physics, Ziegler worked as a programmer and data analyst for a phone company. "Pretty soon, though, I realized maybe this wasn't what I wanted to be doing," she says with a smile. Ziegler pitched an idea for a paper on plasma and soliton physics to a friend's graduate adviser. She spent her free time and weekends doing the mathematics for the paper, which she and her friend published together. For her work Ziegler earned a strong letter of recommendation to return to school for her doctorate.

Ziegler joined the BaBar collaboration in 2002 as a graduate student at the University of Iowa, where she explored hyperons and hyperon resonances. After graduation, she came to SLAC to do her postdoctoral work on three-body decays from D mesons. When asked about her work, she grabs a paper and pen and presents a fluid deconstruction of the complex topic.

When the ηb ("eta-sub-b") analysis began a few months ago, Ziegler was recruited for her superior data skills. "This wasn't like what I normally do. But I saw that it was one of the core analyses that needed to be done," she says. "When we started the ηb project, we didn't know if we were going to find a signal. But we found a big peak. The ηb analysis was very exciting." While her native language is French, she is not only fluent in English, but easily explains the work she carried out on the ηb data.  Read more...

David Michael Nelson!

Silke Nelson holds her new son David Michael Nelson, born July 10. (Photo courtesy of the Nelson family.)

On Thursday, July 10, Silke and Tim Nelson welcomed their new son David Michael Nelson into the world. David was born just shy of 3 days after his mother and the SLAC ηb analysis group submitted their bottomonium results for publication. He came in at 9 pounds, 11 ounces and 21¼ inches long.

Congratulations to the whole family!

Conservation Tip of the Week: Carbon Feet?

I was doing some research on leaving a "carbon footprint" and ran across this very handy little tool developed by the University of New Hampshire. UNH is one of the nation’s leaders in developing a sustainable learning community. They got there by asking themselves a few basic questions and initiating measurement processes that are meaningful.

For instance:

• How can I model and teach the principles of sustainability?

• How can my research integrate with that of others to help address the global issues we face today, contributing to making our world more sustainable?

• How can I help make my activities more sustainable?

• How can I save energy and emissions?

• How can I use fewer resources?

• How can I help my community to become more sustainable?

These questions may seem daunting, but you can begin simply by measuring your own carbon footprint using one of the online tools below. Then, include members of your immediate family. The old saying, "If you can measure it, you can manage it..." has never had such significant consequences.

A typical household can reduce its carbon footprint by as much as 10,000 lb (12%) per year without too much effort. Accept the challenge; measure your own carbon footprint today using the online calculator from UNH or Pacific Gas & Electric.

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