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Science Today: Strong Dynamics Saves the WIMP
All-Hands Safety and Security Briefing Tuesday
Thursday - October 30, 2008
The Facilities Department is upgrading the heating, ventilating and cooling systems for Building 15 and replacing chilled-water piping to several buildings around campus. Both projects are part of the department's ongoing renewal work to meet the heating and cooling needs of SLAC's aging and changing campus.
"Because of the age of this site, some of our HVAC equipment is in service beyond its useful life," said Liam Robinson, the Facilities Department head. "So, it needs to be replaced." The HVAC system for Building 15 hadn't been upgraded in the building's lifetime. Cooling needs have also changed through the years as the building transformed from the magnet factory into offices for the power conversion group. The increased demand on the system and the equipment's age led to frequent repairs. "It's like your car," Robinson said. "You can nickel and dime to death on an old car or just get a new one."
Facilities is also installing newer, larger pipes for chilled water between the central utility plant, Building 23, and the computer center, Building 50. These new pipes will increase the capacity of the HVAC systems in Building 50, which is filled with temperature-sensitive servers. The Building 40 parking lot and portions of Loop Road were closed over the summer as crews installed the new pipes.
Facilities Department staff weighs multiple factors when deciding which buildings to prioritize. Considerations include the age of the building's systems, the maintenance record of the equipment and the scientific needs of the building. Robinson said the current renewal projects are critical in supporting the scientific mission of the lab. Maintaining the right temperature not only protects sensitive scientific equipment, but also supports people's productivity.
The Building 15 project will be completed by the end of November and the chilled water pipe replacements and upgrades will finish in April.
Strong Dynamics Saves the WIMP
The Standard Model of particle physics is in excellent agreement with scientific observation, but there are several pieces of evidence indicating that the model is incomplete. Most concretely, the abundant cosmological evidence for dark matter indicates that the universe contains additional particles that comprise the dominant fraction of all matter, yet are not described by the Standard Model. A new addition to theoretical models for the mass and behavior of this particle provides a compelling candidate for the dark matter while staying consistent with current observations.
Among the leading candidates for dark matter are Weakly Interacting Massive Particles, or WIMPs. Theory predicts that the Big Bang would produce a particle which interacts through the Standard Model's weak force and has a mass near the weak interaction energy scale, and that this particle would have a density in the present era compatible with cosmological observations for dark matter. This coincidence—that the energy scale for compelling dark matter is the same as the energy scale of the weak interactions—is striking. The weak interactions also raise their own questions, among them the existence and nature of the Higgs boson. Such questions will soon be probed with data from the Large Hadron Collider; the concordance of energy scales is good reason to hope that the LHC will give evidence on the nature of dark matter as well. Read more...
Benefits Fair Today
Don't forget the SLAC Benefits Fair today in the Building 3 training room from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. In addition, a benefits workshop will take place next Thursday from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Building 41 Yellow Room.
All-Hands Safety and Security Briefing Tuesday
Everyone in the SLAC community is asked to attend the Annual Safety and Security Briefing on November 4th. SLAC Director Persis Drell and Department of Energy Site Office Manager Paul Golan will give the opening presentations. They will be followed by several speakers who will discuss the importance of integrating safety and security into all aspects of both our work at SLAC and our personal lives.
Four 75-minute sessions will be held in Panofsky Auditorium. To help ensure that there are enough seats for everyone, please attend alphabetically by family name if possible:
A–F: 8:30–9:45 a.m.
G–L: 10:30–11:45 a.m.
M–R: 1:30–2:45 p.m.
S–Z: 3:30–4:45 p.m.
Supervisors are expected to make the accommodations necessary for their staff to attend one of these sessions. Information about SLAC's Safety and Security Integrated Management Program will also be available at tables set up in the auditorium breezeway throughout the day.
Subject matter experts will be manning the tables to answer questions about such topics as computer security, counterintelligence, site security, bicycle safety, energy conservation, environmental management, medical services, emergency response, property management and fire protection. If you have questions, please contact Doug Kreitz (x4550).
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