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In this issue:
Popular Microprobe on Beamline 2-3 Moves to Full-time
The Global Climate and Energy Project
Staff LCLS Tour
Holiday Food Drive
Computing Tree Contest

SLAC Today

Monday - December 8, 2008

Popular Microprobe on Beamline 2-3 Moves to Full-time

(Photo - microprobe)
The Beamline 2-3 microprobe studies the tiny chemical details of environmental, biological and archaeological samples. (Photo courtesy of Sam Webb. Click for larger image.)

Metal-tipped spider fangs, ancient Roman pottery shards and arsenic-sipping ferns have one thing in common. They've all been studied by the X-ray microprobe on Beamline 2-3 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.

For the past two years, the microprobe has been available part-time for SSRL users to map specific locations of chemicals on their samples. The probe was originally designed for environmental scientists to study chemical contamination, but now users include biologists and archaeologists. Due to this growing popularity, the microprobe became a permanent fixture at SSRL in early December.

"Beamline 2-3 went from being one of the least popular beamlines to being one of the top five requested, most oversubscribed beamlines," said Sam Webb, the SSRL scientist in charge of the microprobe. "Users from many fields have seen how useful the microprobe is and are eager to use it in their experiments."

The device is one of only a handful of X-ray microprobes in the nation. The other comparable microprobe on the West Coast is installed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Advanced Light Source.  Read more...

Colloquium Monday

The Global Climate and Energy Project

(Photo - Sally Benson)This afternoon, Stanford University Professor of Energy Resources Engineering Sally Benson will discuss the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford. Benson is executive director of the project, which aims to foster the development of global energy solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The colloquium will take place at 4:15 in Panofsky Auditorium, and is open to the public. See the colloquium Web page for more information.

Staff LCLS Tour


The first stop on the tour: the Beam Transport Hall. (Photo by Brad Plummer. Click for larger image.)

More than 500 lab employees signed up for a firsthand look at the newly constructed facilities for the Linac Coherent Light Source during last Thursday's LCLS tour.

Tours began in the Beam Transport Hall, where electrons from the linac will enter the machine. Participants proceeded through the Undulator Hall, where a series of magnets will jostle the electrons so that they emit X-rays. The next stop was the Beam Dump, where the electrons will be separated from the X-rays and carefully discarded. The 3/4-mile walk finished with the Near and Far Experimental Halls that will house the X-ray laser's scientific instrumentation. A 200-meter X-ray Tunnel separates the Near Experimental Hall from the Far Experimental Hall. Each hall contains three experimental stations, in separate shielded hutches. Some experiments, such as those using lower-energy X-rays, benefit from being near to the X-ray source, while others, such as those exploiting the coherence of the LCLS X-ray pulses, benefit from being farther away. The Near and Far Halls will enable a full range of experiments.

Read more and see photos from the tour.

Holiday Food Drive

As part of holiday celebrations, SLAC is rolling out the barrels for the Second Harvest Food Drive, now through December 19. Barrels are located across the SLAC campus, and this year the lab will again offer the Virtual Food Drive for those who would like to donate directly. Please see the full announcement for details and contact information.

Computing Tree Contest

(Photo - the computer memory tree)
Mysterious parts decorate a tree constructed in 1983 to honor John Ehrman's retirement. (Photo by Calla Cofield. Click for larger image.)

Do you have a love of vintage computers? Can you remember the names of parts and pieces no one has used in twenty years? That dusty knowledge may come in handy.

When SLAC Computing Director Emeritus John Ehrman retired in 1983, his group wanted to personalize the tradition of giving long-time employees a beam tree. So the group created their own "memory tree" using various computer parts. Old punch cards and dial-in modems dangle like Christmas ornaments on the bent wire trunk that stands about four feet tall. Twenty five years after the fact, some of these items are so out-dated that SLAC archivists are having trouble identifying them. To keep the memory tree alive, the SLAC Library and Archives Office has announced a contest to identify the old parts.

The tree is on display in the SLAC Library in the lobby of Building 50. About half of the objects have been identified, but archives won't reveal which ones are which. Points are given for identifying objects on the tree, with double points for those items not yet identified by archives. Prizes will be awarded and anyone can enter. Creative answers are encouraged, but wrong answers may be penalized. Submit your answers in the library by December 17. Winners will be announced in SLAC Today.

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