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In this issue:
Talk Like a SLACer
Public Lecture to Explore Antimatter, B Factory, Nobel
From the SCCS Acting Director

SLAC Today

Thursday - October 23, 2008

(Photo - Jean Deken)
SLAC archivist Jean Deken manages SLACspeak, the database that lists just about every acronym used at SLAC and more.
(Photos by Calla Cofield. Click for larger image.)

Talk Like a SLACer

Acronyms will fly at the B Factory Symposium next week: Do you know what a PAC is? Or the difference between a DCH and an RPC? If not, don't panic. You can look up all those pesky acronyms on SLACspeak, the online database that lists just about every acronym used at SLAC, as well as other befuddling science terms, and words and phrases from the history books.

SLAC archivist Jean Deken has managed SLACspeak for 12 years, and has seen it grow to include more than 5,000 entries. She says a new word or acronym is submitted about once or twice per week. New employees, who aren't familiar with the local jargon, are often the ones to point out terms that haven't been added yet.

Why so many acronyms? "I think people here just don't have time," says Deken. "Everyone is busy and they need to communicate faster." New acronyms and terms often pop up as an experiment or project begins. The Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope collaboration created its own database of terms and acronyms, because the sheer volume of additions from that project would have overwhelmed SLACspeak. The FGST was previously known as the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope, so GLAST is now one of many historical words listed in SLACspeak.  Read more...

Public Lecture to Explore Antimatter, B Factory, Nobel

At the next SLAC public lecture, SLAC physicist Aaron Roodman will present "Antimatter: what is it and where did it go? Lessons from the SLAC B Factory and this year's Nobel Prize."

In this talk, Roodman will explore the mystery of antimatter. Why is the universe made up of only matter, with no observable antimatter? And why does the universe have any matter left in it anyway? The SLAC B Factory was built to answer these questions. Over the last decade, almost a billion B mesons were created and studied at the B Factory to search for subtle differences between matter and antimatter—differences that lie at the heart of the antimatter mystery. Roodman will explain the matter-antimatter discoveries made at the B Factory, and their connection to this year's Nobel prize in physics.

Come to Panofsky Auditorium next Tuesday, October 28, at 7:30 p.m. for the lecture and post-talk refreshments. No prior knowledge is required; just bring your curiosity. For more information, see the public lecture Web page.

From the SCCS Acting Director

Steffen Luitz has been named acting head and director of SCCS. Richard Mount is now leading the efforts to establish SLAC’s future role in ATLAS computing. 

I am pleased to be serving the SLAC community as the acting SCCS director and chief information officer. First and foremost, I would like to assure the community that we will continue to do our very best to provide all of the critical information technology support that SLAC needs to fulfill its mission—and do much more than just maintain the status quo.

We in the Scientific Computing and Computer Services Division are working with our customers, lab management and the newly formed sub-councils for IT and scientific computing to understand the lab's future IT and scientific computing needs. Our goals are to define the best strategies to meet these needs and to become the lab-wide partner of choice for scientific computing and IT. We are participating in the development of business plans and costing models that will allow these partnerships to evolve according to the needs of a multi-program laboratory. In our responsibility for computer security, we are working to maintain and improve a balanced cyber security program that enables SLAC's mission while protecting the lab's information resources in accordance with Department of Energy regulations.

The SCCS management team and I are looking forward to working with you on IT related matters. Please free to access the SCCS organizational chart and to contact me at any time by e-mail or telephone (x2822).


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