SLAC Today is available online at:
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In this issue:
From the Director: Change Has Come
Energy Secretary Looks to Labs for the Future
Lead Purchases: Old Policy, New Controls
Word of the Week: Pulsar

SLAC Today

Friday - January 23, 2009

SLAC site map planned for the end of 2014

From the Director: Change Has Come

At 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 20, a very significant fraction of the lab's staff were glued to their computer screens. Some watched alone. Others gathered in small groups. In the Director's suite, we spontaneously delayed our 9:00 a.m. meeting and crowded into Keith Hodgson's office (he had the foresight to get streaming video set up before the network got bogged down) to watch and hear our 44th President take the oath of office and deliver his inaugural address. We had a 30-second delay between the video and audio feeds, but it didn't matter. It was a great moment.

Two days later, the new Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, gave an all-hands broadcast that we watched in Panofsky Auditorium. We had the same 30-second delay between video and audio feeds, but again, it didn't matter. As Secretary addressing the Department of Energy staff and contractors, Chu displayed the candor, directness and eagerness to communicate that are familiar to his scientific colleagues. The meeting was followed immediately by a teleconference with all national laboratory directors.  Read more...

Energy Secretary Looks to Labs for the Future

The Department of Energy's new leader, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, quite literally wants the organization to help save the world.

"The DOE will have to be the go-to organization for what we face in this country," Chu said in a satellite broadcast Thursday. "This agency, in my mind, is the key agency for the future of the U.S."

Chu's address to the national laboratories came a day after he was confirmed as the new administration's energy secretary. In his remarks, Chu focused on the need for new solutions to the problems facing the U.S. and the world, namely the economic crisis, combating climate change and finding alternative energy sources. To do this, he said, the country will need to rely on the national laboratories to develop a sound energy policy and to invent and transform new science and technologies that can be brought to the marketplace.  Read more...

Read a Discover magazine blog about Chu's remarks.

Lead Purchases: Old Policy, New Controls

SLAC is implementing a new control for the purchase of lead items such as bricks and sheet shielding. Since most lead items are now purchased through Haas tcmIS (except custom made articles), the Haas requesters will now require a signed New Lead Justification Form prior to placing new lead orders. The new form will document that efforts have been made to use existing inventory and will need the signature of your Associate Laboratory Director. See New Controls for Lead Purchases for details and contact information.

(Image - pulsar model)
(Image courtesy of NASA.)

Word of the Week: Pulsar

A pulsar is a rapidly spinning stellar corpse, the squashed remains of a star after a supernova explosion, that shoots a beam of radiation into space. The beam sweeps the sky like a lighthouse as it rotates—as shown in this animation of a pulsar—so from Earth the object appears to blink or pulse. Astronomers were startled by the clock-like regularity when they discovered the first pulsar in 1967, and whimsically called it LGM-1: "Little Green Men."

Most of the 1800 known pulsars emit radio waves, but recently the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope announced the discovery of 12 pulsars that blink only in gamma-rays. SLAC played a key role in assembling the telescope's main instrument, the Large Area Telescope, and now manages its science operations and data processing. The gamma-ray pulses are much more energetic than radio pulses, giving astronomers an opportunity to study how gamma-rays are produced and to map the lifecycle of a pulsar.

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