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In this issue:
People: Shoucheng Zhang's Practical Philosophy
Let Stanford Help You Save for Retirement
WIS Seminar: Economics 101 for an Age of Financial Crisis

SLAC Today

Wednesday - January 21, 2009

Shoucheng Zhang's Practical Philosophy

(Photo by Lauren Schenkman.
Click for larger image.)

When he talks about physics, Shoucheng Zhang waxes philosophical. His carefully chosen words map out neat avenues of logic as late afternoon light suffuses his Stanford office, a spacious room with a thick autumn-toned rug and deep leather couches that invite long conversations. And having conversations about science is one of his biggest hobbies, admits the Stanford professor and Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science physicist. "I love talking to people," he says. "I like looking for good analogies to explain science and make it accessible." When asked about his research, Zhang zooms out—way out. He says he sees his work as part of a tradition that dates back to the Greeks—the search for what is "elementary."

This search, Zhang says, has branched into the separate disciplines known as high energy physics and condensed matter physics. High-energy physicists stalk the Alice-in-Wonderland quantum world for the "elementary particles"—which can't be divided into yet smaller parts—hidden inside atoms. Meanwhile, condensed matter physicists aren't looking for new building blocks, but new buildings. Beyond forming the familiar states of solid, liquid and gas, atoms often exhibit extraordinary collective behaviors. For Zhang, studying matter is part of our journey toward the elemental; high-energy physics and condensed matter physics aren't really as separate as they seem.  Read more...

Let Stanford Help You Save for Retirement

This is a good time of the year to evaluate your retirement savings contributions and make adjustments for the New Year. If you have been at Stanford for at least a year, you are enrolled in the Stanford Contributory Retirement Plan, or SCRP. Stanford automatically contributes to this plan on your behalf depending on the number of years of employment.  Read more...

WIS Seminar:
Economics 101 for an Age of Financial Crisis

(Photo - Kevin Swanson) (Image - WIS logo

Are you conversant with the new economic concepts and terms that are being invented as the economy continues to spiral downward? Are you still thinking that a TARP is for covering your pool, hedges are for trimming, or toxic paper is what you get when you clean up motor oil? What does a "high-yield" investment mean nowadays? What, exactly, is a subprime mortgage security?

Please join the Women's Interchange at SLAC next Wednesday, January 28th, for "Economics 101 for an Age of Financial Crisis: Terms and Concepts" from noon to 1:00 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium. Kevin Swanson from the Integrated Wealth Management company will describe these and other financial concepts and explain how they are affecting our investments. Swanson provides wealth strategy and investment counseling for individuals and small businesses in the Bay Area. He will answer your questions about new financial concepts and how you might respond to the bewildering markets. Everyone is welcome—bring your lunch and a friend!


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