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In this issue:
Stimulus Creates Science Enthusiasm, Long-term Questions
SLAC Tunes In to Amateur Radio

SLAC Today

Tuesday - February 17, 2009

Stimulus Creates Science Enthusiasm,
Long-term Questions

Science policy experts told journalists and researchers in Chicago Saturday that the outlook for federal support for science during the next decade exceeds expectations, but that it’s not time to dance in the streets yet.

Experts talking to a couple hundred people at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, conference said scientists face several hurdles and policy makers must answer tough questions. The answers will determine whether the boost to science lives past the memory of campaign promises and the spending of the stimulus bill passed by Congress Friday and expected to receive President Barack Obama’s signature this weekend.

The $790 billion stimulus bill allocates $21.5 billion for federal research and development, well beyond the $13 billion proposed by the House and $18 billion by the Senate.  Read more in Symmetry Breaking...

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

SLAC Tunes In to Amateur Radio

Hanging in the basement of SLAC's Auxiliary Control Building is a world map that's been stuck full of pushpins. A small forest of them has sprung up in Central Europe, and several are vying for New Zealand's limited real estate. There's even one lonely pin in the no-man's land between the tip of South America and the snaking arm of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Each pin represents a contact made over the airwaves by a member of the SLAC Radio Service Organization, a ham radio group that was founded in 1965 and included former SLAC Director Burton Richter at one point. The organization has been inactive in recent years, but Facilities Instrumentation Technician Ron Badger and Assistant Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator Lance Lougée are seeking radio enthusiasts and curious newcomers to help restart it. Interested staffers are invited to an event at SLAC this Saturday to learn more about the world of amateur radio.

Don't let the name fool you—"amateur" radio is "actually very professional," Badger said. So-called "hams" have to test for their amateur radio license, which comes in three classes. Amateurs also tend to have considerable technical knowledge. This becomes apparent in how quickly conversations on the airwaves turn to shop-talk, with hams swapping antenna lore, bragging about wattage and comparing transceiver model numbers. Amateurs who contact each other exchange "call signs," and later look up their new contacts in an online database. Badger has spoken to hams from England and France to Australia and Japan.  Read more...

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