SLAC Today is available online at:
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In this issue:
From the Director of SSRL: A Glimpse of SSRL's Future
A New Office Building for the LCLS
Ultrafast Summer School Wraps Up Today
A Noontime Concert with the Afiara String Quartet
Word of the Week: Supernova

SLAC Today

Friday - June 19, 2009

From the Director of SSRL:
A Glimpse of SSRL's Future

(Photo - Joachim Stöhr)

In my last column, I talked about the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource's enduring status as a "top notch" X-ray user facility and promised to tell you how it plans to rejuvenate itself in the future. In the meantime, I have accepted the position of Linac Coherent Light Source Director. You may ask where this leaves my promised story. Not to worry, in this, my last column as SSRL Director, I will give you my vision of SSRL's future. If we fast-forward a decade, you may be surprised to find SSRL in the limelight!

Clearly the eyes of the X-ray world are presently on LCLS due to its spectacular early success of producing a lasing X-ray beam and the upcoming first X-ray experiments in September. I expect LCLS to remain in the spotlight for well over a decade, with additional expansions of its early capabilities, facilities and revolutionary discoveries. But extending the horizon, say to ten to fifteen years, I see major opportunities for growth at SSRL. There are several reasons for this likely development.  Read more...

A New Office Building for the LCLS

(Image - conceptual design of the new office building)
Conceptual design sketch for the new LCLS office building. (Image courtesy Lori Plummer.)

It's official! A new office building is in the works for the Linac Coherent Light Source.

"We got Stanford and Department of Energy approval on the design concept just this week," said Jerry King of SLAC's Procurement department. "Construction starts in July. It's a very fast-track project."

(Image - overhead view of the new office building)
Overhead view of the new building by PEP Ring Road. (Image courtesy Lori Plummer.)

The new two-story building will serve the LCLS scientific community. Its 22,000 square feet will provide workspace for SLAC and Stanford staff, students and faculty as well as LCLS users from around the world. It will be located off PEP Ring Road, just across from the Near Experimental Hall that will house the first of the X-ray laser's experimental instruments.

The building's approximately $8.9M construction contract will come under the larger LCLS construction budget. The building is expected to reach substantial completion next year.

"We're excited to get this building started so quickly," said LCLS Project Director John Galayda. "We hope to have it ready for LCLS scientists by April 2010."

Ultrafast Summer School Wraps Up Today

Attendees of the PULSE Ultrafast X-ray Summer School in front of the Kavli Building. (Photo by Nicholas Bock.)

This week, the PULSE Ultrafast X-ray Summer School brought to SLAC more than 90 undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs and other scientists—many of whom will return in September with the first wave of Linac Coherent Light Source users. PULSE holds the residential summer school every year to generate interest in ultrafast X-ray science and to introduce new scientists to the opportunities of research using the X-ray free electron laser.

"The key to the summer school is to broaden the user community for LCLS and to make it more accessible to propose experiments," said summer school organizer David Reis.

The course of study this year included introductory lectures and research presentations by leading scientists in ultrafast science from around the globe. Also featured were a visit to the California Academy of Sciences and tours of LCLS and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. Participants spent much of their downtime preparing mock research proposal posters, which were presented last night at Panofsky Auditorium.

The summer school concludes today with an 11:30 a.m. poster award ceremony in Kavli Auditorium.

(Photo - the Afiara String Quartet)
The Afiara String Quartet will come to SLAC next month for noon-time concert. (Image courtesy of the Afiara String Quartet.)

A Noontime Concert with the Afiara String Quartet

On Thursday, July 2, the Afiara String Quartet will perform in Kavli Auditorium. This outstanding ensemble has been named the Julliard School's new graduate resident string quartet. The afternoon's program will be announced soon.

This is an up and coming ensemble that already tours extensively to make music with much vitality. Their name is derived from the Spanish word "fiar," meaning "to trust," and they regard chamber music as a conversation between friends. You will want to share in that conversation!

The concert will begin at 12 p.m. and end by 1 p.m. Please join us!

(Photo - Kepler supernova )
Remnant of Tycho's supernova. (Image: NASA)

Word of the Week: Supernova

When large stars die, they undergo violent explosions called supernovae, and in the process can release as much energy in a few months as our sun releases in a billion years. But paradoxically, before a star explodes it undergoes an implosion that is every bit as dramatic, compressing matter at the star's core to densities upwards of 270,000,000,000,000 grams per cubic centimeter.

The implosion begins when the star runs out of fuel for the nuclear reactions at its core. Normally, these reactions counteract the gravitational forces that pull the star's mass inward and help the star remain a stable size. Once they stop, though, gravity takes over and all of the star's mass rushes inward, creating enormous densities. Once a certain maximum density is reached, infalling material reaching the core bounces back, creating a shockwave that leads to the explosive events seen in images like this one.

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