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Google Me This
Symmetry: Particle Physics Benefits: Adding It Up

SLAC Today

Tuesday - January 13, 2009

Entering the SLAC Main Gate using Google's online Street View utility. (Image courtesy of Google.)

Google Me This

As of this month, there's a new way to visit SLAC—from the comfort of your easy chair. A Google maps van, which takes photos for the Google Street View utility, visited the laboratory several months ago. As a result, anyone with an internet connection can now take a virtual tour of the site's main roads.

To see for yourself, type "Stanford Accelerator Center, Menlo Park" into the Google maps search box (it seems that Google doesn't quite have the lab's name—new or old—down yet). Click on the orange icon in the top left corner of the map to reveal a street-level photo. Drag the photo to rotate your view and click on the white arrows to advance up or down the road. The photographs include much of the site, including Alpine Gate, half of PEP Ring Road, a bit of the Research Yard, a section of Loop Road, and the Main Gate.

Happy touring!

Particle Physics Benefits: Adding It Up

(Photo - Benefits of Particle Physics)

As a lead machinist at Argonne National Laboratory, Frank Meyer recognized the need for industry to supply complex equipment for scientific research. So in 1966 he started Meyer Tool & Manufacturing on a part-time basis in his garage. Three years later, he left Argonne to expand his machine shop into a full-time manufacturing facility.

Around the same time, Fermilab, then called the National Accelerator Laboratory, began construction. The fledgling Meyer Tool became the lab's key supplier of cryogenic equipment needed to cool the accelerator’s superconducting magnets.

Today Meyer Tool’s list of customers includes CERN in Geneva, Switzerland; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California; the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center in Taiwan; and the Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon, Canada.

Particle physics has many episodes like this. They are real and sometimes very powerful stories. But in a time of severe fiscal challenges, individual stories are not enough.

"What does the US lose if we trade away elementary particle physics?" asked Mike Holland of the US Office of Management and Budget at Fermilab's Users' Meeting in June. "My guess is that the nation would be less competitive and innovative without you, but I don't have anything other than a few anecdotes to make that case."
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