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In this issue:
Francois Le Diberder Becomes BaBar Spokesperson
Science Today: A New Type of Superconductor
LCLS/SSRL User Conference
SLAC Softball This Sunday!

SLAC Today

Thursday - October 2, 2008

Francois Le Diberder Becomes BaBar Spokesperson

(Photo - Francois Le Diberder)
Francois Le Diberder.
(Photo by Brad Plummer.)

Yesterday was Francois Le Diberder's first day of work as the new spokesperson for the BaBar collaboration. A professor at both Paris Diderot and Stanford universities, Le Diberder is not new to BaBar; he started working on the project even before an official collaboration existed.

"It's an honor and a pleasure to take on this position," said Le Diberder. "BaBar is a fantastic success. The collaboration is like a Swiss watch: all the parts are working very nicely and the gears are running very smoothly."

The BaBar spokesperson oversees the experiment, which brings together more than 500 physicists from 10 different countries. The role includes working very closely with other members of the BaBar senior management, who coordinate the physics, computing and technical aspects of the experiment. The spokesperson also communicates the results of the project to supporters and the public.

Both Le Diberder and former spokesperson Hassan Jawahery expressed pride in BaBar's accomplishments, and said they look forward to many more. "As we continue the current phase of the intense analysis program, our work is very exciting," said Le Diberder. "With over 500 collaborators, many of whom are relatively early in their careers, BaBar is a young and lively collaboration."

Jawahery, who is now back at the University of Maryland as a professor, agrees. "This intense analysis program will complete the initial goals of the experiment," he said. "There are about 100 key measurements that we need to perform and publish using our full data set, and this is what we are in the process of doing right now." 

(Daily Column - Science Today)

A New Type of Superconductor

Materials made with iron (left) and copper (right) appear to achieve superconducting properties via different mechanisms.
(Images courtesy of Amethyst Gallery. Click for larger image.)

The recent discovery of superconductivity in iron-based layered compounds known as iron oxypnictides has renewed interest in high-temperature superconductivity. These compounds, which transfer electric currents without resistance, may offer a low-cost option for electrical transmission, magnetic levitation and other applications.

For decades, only copper oxides were known to superconduct at relatively high temperatures. Then, in April 2008, researchers in Japan published an article in Nature announcing that they had made an iron-based oxide superconduct at 43 kelvin by applying pressure to the material. Soon after, the record was raised to 55 kelvin by a Chinese research group using another iron-based compound. These records ended the monopoly of copper oxides in the family of high-temperature superconductors, and provided a new direction in the study of high-temperature superconductivity.

Now, SLAC and Stanford researchers have furthered the quest to understand this iron compound. In a recent paper published in Nature, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory scientist Donghui Lu, with colleagues in SSRL and Stanford, reported on the mechanism behind the superconductivity of a lanthanum-oxygen-iron-phosphorus compound, or LaOFeP, one of the new iron-based superconducting materials.  Read more....

LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting and Workshops

(Image - LCLS/SSRL logos)Early registration closes tomorrow, Friday October 3, for the 2008 LCLS/SSRL Users' Meeting and Workshops.

The meeting convenes October 15–18 at SLAC. This annual event is a valuable opportunity for scientists to learn about the latest plans, new developments and exciting user research at the Linac Coherent Light Source and Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. It is also a great time to interact with other scientists, potential colleagues and vendors of light-source-related products and services.

See the event Web site for details and registration.

SLAC Softball This Sunday!

(Photo - The Drell-Richter Trophy)
The Drell-Richter trophy.

It's Accelerators versus Research at the SLAC annual softball game, this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Who will win the coveted Drell-Richter trophy? Come find out—or help determine the outcome!

Everyone is invited, whether to play or cheer. Warm-ups start at 1:00 p.m. at Roble Field on Stanford's main campus. Refreshments will follow the game. For more information, visit the SLAC Annual Softball Game Web site or contact Mike Woods. (See also "Calling All Softball Players.")

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