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In this issue:
LCLS Takes High Marks at Operations Budget Review
Come to Science Bowl 2009!
Word of the Week: Gamma-ray Burst

SLAC Today

Friday - February 27, 2009

LCLS Takes High Marks at Operations Budget Review

The second Linac Coherent Light Source linac operations budget review concluded February 19—one day early—with tough questions answered, and uniformly positive responses from the external panel of national laboratory peers and Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences and Office of High Energy Physics staff. The review gave the BES, OHEP and representatives from sister labs an opportunity for close examination of progress on the LCLS so far, and plans for the coming years.

"SLAC and the LCLS in particular came through with flying colors," said SLAC Director Persis Drell. "In particular, the transparency we are trying to build into our budget process drew a lot of praise."

The review committee included members of the BES and OHEP as well as Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oakridge and Jefferson national labs. Topics included an overview of the LCLS facility, management, operations, budget and budget methodology. It also included an examination of the SLAC indirect costing model and budget approach. Attendees noted that the reviewers started with tough questions, and ended with positive and reinforcing comments.

"We received very complimentary remarks from the committee," said LCLS Associate Lab Director Dale Knutson. The committee took a close look at LCLS progress to date, and plans going forward through 2012. This two-day meeting gave the BES a chance to review SLAC’s work, and compare it with other U.S. projects competing for budget needs. The positive response in this review bodes well for the LCLS going forward, Knutson said. "This sets the stage to really accelerate the project for the next four years. It sets a very strong foundation."

Come to Science Bowl 2009!

(Photo - SLAC Science Bowl 2008)
SLAC Science Bowl 2008. (Photo by Diana Rogers. Click for larger image.)

Tomorrow, SLAC will host the 2009 Department of Energy Regional Science Bowl. Everyone is invited to see some of the Bay Area's best and brightest high school students compete for a chance to go to nationals. Competition rounds take place throughout the day and across the SLAC campus. See the Science Bowl Web site for a schedule, map and more.

Word of the Week: Gamma-ray Burst

A gamma-ray burst is a blast of electromagnetic radiation from deep space. It can be up to 300 billion times more energetic than visible light and typically lasts between a few seconds and several minutes. Mysterious in origin, these bursts are thought to have been released billions of years ago when massive stars outside our galaxy exploded to form black holes. The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has logged bursts that lasted as long as 23 seconds, and notably the most powerful gamma burst observed to date. But FGST has also captured a very short burst—only a few tenths of a second—pointing to a different source, possibly the merger of two collapsed stars. (See the latter part of "New Window on the High Energy Universe" in Science News.)

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