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In this issue:
People: Peter Tenenbaum—Eyes on the Sky
Ultrafast X-ray Summer School Signups Open
Around SLAC: Where the Rainbow Ends

SLAC Today

Wednesday - April 8, 2009

People: Peter Tenenbaum—Eyes on the Sky

(Photo - Peter Tenenbaum)
SLAC accelerator physicist Peter Tenenbaum at the NASA Ames Research Center. (Photo courtesy of Peter Tenenbaum.)

"In science fiction—while the details differ—there are usually other star systems that look like ours: they have Earth-like inner planets and big outer planets. And so far, we have no idea if that's even vaguely true," said SLAC accelerator physicist Peter Tenenbaum. "But in a few years we will know."

That information will be collected by NASA's Kepler mission, launched last month. Kepler is the first space mission dedicated solely to finding and studying solar systems outside our own. "I don't think I can convey in words how exciting that is," Tenenbaum said, "knowing something that big about the universe."

Tenenbaum doesn't just talk about this exciting search for extra-solar planets; he's working on it. In January of 2008, Tenenbaum was working at SLAC on the design of the International Linear Collider when he happened to read about an opening for scientific programmers to work on the Kepler mission. Enthusiastic about the fascinating science that Kepler would address, Tenenbaum took a leave of absence from SLAC to join a team at the NASA Ames Research Center in Sunnyvale, designing software for the mission.  Read more...

Ultrafast X-ray Summer School Signups Open

(Image - Ultrafast X-ray Summer School logo)

Registration is now open for the Ultrafast X-ray Summer School, hosted at SLAC by the PULSE Institute for Ultrafast Energy Science. In a five-day program June 15–19, graduate students, post-docs and other scientists will explore the fundamentals, latest advances and exciting possibilities of ultrafast science, right on the site of what will be the world's first hard X-ray free-electron laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source.

Organizer and PULSE scientist David Reis said the program will feature the world's leading ultrafast science experts giving lectures on both basic principles and the "latest and greatest" research. Reis said the summer school is "geared toward scientists, but not necessarily specialists," with the goal of "giving the participants a background in the fundamentals of designing and carrying out experiments" in ultrafast X-ray science. To that end, there will be a session on beamtime proposals, where attendees will work with LCLS instrument scientists to create mock-ups of potential experiments.

This summer is an especially exciting time because the LCLS will be gearing up for its first scientific experiments, Reis said. "We want [attendees] to come away with a better understanding of what its capabilities are and what we might be able to learn, as well as a sense of excitement for the future."

For details and online registration, visit the PULSE Ultrafast-X-ray Summer School Web site.

(Photo - a rainbow at SLAC)
This rainbow ends at SLAC's Building 28. (Photo courtesy of Dan Sneddon.)

Around SLAC: Where the Rainbow Ends

Sometimes the rainbow's end yields something more practical than leprechaun's gold. SLAC network engineer Dan Sneddon and networking and telecommunications manager Les Cottrell spotted this bow (right) on a rainy mid-March morning. Both Sneddon and Cottrell paused on their way to SLAC computing to catch a photo. Sneddon took this shot of the rainbow's apparent descent toward SLAC's Building 28. He was visiting the lab to interview for his current position; he started his new job with SLAC just this week.

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