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In this issue:
First Gamma Sky Map from GLAST—Now the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope
People Today: SULI Students 2008
Reminder: SLAC Blood Drive
Conservation Tip of the Week: Idle Time

SLAC Today

Wednesday - August 27, 2008

(Photo - new mission logo)

First Gamma Sky Map from GLAST—Now the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope

The Department of Energy and NASA yesterday presented the first all-sky maps from the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope. In the morning press conference, project leaders also announced that the observatory would now take the name Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in honor of high-energy physics pioneer and Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi.

For two months following the mission's June 11, 2008 launch, scientists tested and calibrated its two instruments, the Large Area Telescope and the GLAST Burst Monitor. "What impressed me the most is that everything went by the book," said Peter Michelson, LAT principal investigator at Stanford University. "We're elated." The LAT has already verified sources found by other gamma-ray detectors—and discovered more.

The all-sky image from the onboard Large Area Telescope shows the glowing gas of the Milky Way, blinking pulsars and a flaring galaxy billions of light-years away. The map was created using only 95 hours of "first light" observations, compared with past missions that took more than a year to produce similar images. SLAC played a key role in assembling the instrument and now plays the central role in LAT science operations, data processing and making scientific data available to collaborators for analysis.

The NASA mission was made possible by collaboration with many U.S. and international partners. "The DOE-NASA collaboration on this new observatory has been very successful and shows what can be accomplished when we work together," said Dennis Kovar, DOE Associate Director of Science for High Energy Physics. "We look forward to the scientific discoveries it will enable in both particle physics and astrophysics."  

Read more in the full DOE press release and NASA mission Web site.

(Weekly Column - Profile)

SULI Students 2008

The Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program officially wrapped up last week, and its bright young students headed back to their home institutions. The summer was full of hard work, but also fun, excitement and new friendships. For nine weeks, SULI participants worked alongside their SLAC mentors in areas including astrophysics, accelerator science, synchrotron science, social science, and science writing. The students concluded the summer with talks and papers outlining their summer research.

"My summer was filled with meeting awesome people and writing an awesomely efficient code for simulating reionization," quipped SULI student Shuenn Patrick Ho. "My favorite part about SULI was not only being a part of a successful project, but also seeing how I could do it in a fun place and a comfortable environment. SLAC rocks!" Ho attends Princeton University and did astrophysics simulations of ionized hydrogen bubble growth during reionization with computational cosmologist Marcelo Alvarez of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.

At the SULI farewell barbeque two weeks ago, SLAC Director Persis Drell spoke to the students and their mentors about the many researchers she has met who got their start in the SULI program. Drell wrote in her weekly SLAC Today column, "As our visitors return to their home institutions for the fall term, we wish them well and look forward to meeting them again as they pursue their careers, enriched, we hope, by their summer with us."  

See photos and read more...

Reminder:
SLAC Blood Drive

Give a pint, get a pint! Today's the day for the SLAC Blood Drive. Donors will receive a coupon for a free pint of Baskin Robins ice cream.

Conservation Tip of the Week: Idle Time

I often see car engines idling when turning off the engine could save energy and money—at the teller machine, at the quick mart, at the grog shop, in traffic delays, in parking lots... It's not necessary. It does use extra gas and impact our environment. Fortunately, it's easy to remedy. Here are some benefits of shutting down the car’s ignition, and tips for when turning that key "off" can save gas and money, and reduce environmental impact.

Breathe easier. By turning off your vehicle's engine when parked, you and others around you—especially children and people with respiratory problems—won't have to breathe unhealthy exhaust fumes. Fumes can trigger asthma attacks and cause respiratory illnesses. Exposure to most auto pollutants is higher inside the vehicle than outside. Toxic fumes from idling vehicles that are drawn into buildings through the ventilation system cause indoor air pollution.

Save money. More than 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine. Idling a medium-duty vehicle for even 5 minutes a day wastes more than 13 gallons of gas a year. Just by turning your key you can save money.

Reduce engine wear and tear. Excessive idling can damage engine components, including your vehicle's cylinders, spark plugs and exhaust system. Only 30 seconds of warm-up time is needed on cold winter days. Once the vehicle is running, the best way to warm it up is to drive it. Many components, including wheel bearings, tires and suspension systems, warm up only when a vehicle is moving.

Protect our climate and air. An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling 32 miles per hour. By turning off your engine, you can help stop global warming, acid rain and smog.

Spread the word that the 10 second rule adds up to cleaner air, cost savings and longer engine life. For more details, see this myth buster from the Florida section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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