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In this issue:
From the Director: What a Difference in a Year!
Registration Open: Workshop on Matter in Extreme Conditions
New Training Series: Procurement Power Briefings
Word of the Week: Femtosecond

SLAC Today

Friday - March 27, 2009

From the Director: What a Difference in a Year!

(Photo - Persis Drell)

On January 7, 2008, I had to announce the largest layoff in the history of the lab. This week I had the joy of announcing that SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will receive $68.3M in stimulus funding from President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. I can assure you that this second announcement was a lot more fun than the first!

What is most important is what these funds will allow the lab to do. As you will have read in the press release, we will be able to accelerate the schedule for the Linac Coherent Light Source Scientific Instruments project and deliver LCLS science to the users sooner. Also, an accelerator research project called FACET, that uses the first two-thirds of the Linac to study plasma wakefield acceleration, will move forward. These two projects are of tremendous strategic importance to the lab. We are also going to be able to complete seismic upgrades that have been long in the planning, thereby enhancing site infrastructure and safety.

New job openings that these funds are creating already are being posted to our Web site. A dedicated team led by Mark Reichanadter is working to ensure that procurement, Human Resources, finance and project management are all in place so that the lab can initiate these projects as quickly and efficiently as possible.

I will be holding work group meetings throughout the laboratory starting April 6. The meetings will provide opportunity for stakeholders to talk face-to-face about the stimulus, the budget, the lab programs and anything else that is on your minds. I always look forward to those sessions, but I confess that I look forward to this set with very special pleasure. I feel that I've been the bearer of hard news a lot over the past year and a half. It will be really fun to talk about the good news!

Registration Open:
Workshop on Matter in Extreme Conditions

The proposed MEC endstation would support studies of materials in extreme environments.

Interested scientists are invited to participate in the proposed Matter in Extreme Conditions endstation at SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source, the world's first hard X-ray free electron laser. Next month, the workshop "Matter in Extreme Conditions" will provide opportunity to discuss the instrumentation needs of the community, as input to the endstation design.

The LCLS is nearing completion with operations anticipated in late summer or early fall this year. The proposed MEC endstation would be dedicated to studies of matter in extreme conditions with a focus on high energy density science. The MEC workshop will take place April 13–15 in SLAC's Redwood Conference Room, Building 48. Registration is open, and available online through the Registration page.

New Training Series:
Procurement Power Briefings

In an effort to provide information to the SLAC community regarding procurement processes, the Business Services Division is launching a series of one-hour training sessions called Procurement Power Briefings. These briefings, led by David Pindroh and other Purchasing staff members, will be offered twice a month on Tuesdays and will cover a variety of procurement topics.

If you have any questions about the procurement planning process—procurement resources, contract methods, scopes, sourcing, requisition approval process, purchase orders and agreements, work specifications, research and development agreement cost and procurement—these briefings are for you.

Mark your calendars for the first Power Briefing on Tuesday, March 31, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Kavli third-floor conference room. This first session will be an informational overview of the Procurement function at SLAC, featuring roles and responsibilities, E-procurement and B2B initiative. Training dates will be announced in SLAC Today and on the training calendar. Please contact David Pindroh (x8515) or Charlotte Carlson (x2265) if you have any questions.

The Linac Coherent Light Source will use 100-femtosecond "shutter speed" to capture molecules in motion. (Image courtesy of Symmetry magazine. Click for more detail.)

Word of the Week: Femtosecond

A femtosecond is one quadrillionth—that's 0.000000000000001—of a second. In about one full second, light can travel from the earth to the moon. A femtosecond is so short, it takes three for light to cross a mere micrometer. In the molecular world, huge changes can occur in a matter of femtoseconds. To catch a protein in the act of folding, for instance, you'd need a camera with an incredibly fast shutter speed—such as the Linac Coherent Light Source, whose ultrashort X-ray pulses will last less than 100 femtoseconds.

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