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In this issue:
People Today: Greg Stewart Makes It (Just) So
Call for Applications: Al Ashley Fellowship
Around SLAC: The Rock

SLAC Today

Wednesday - July 15, 2009

People Today:
Greg Stewart Makes It (Just) So

(Photo - Greg Stewart)
Greg Stewart with the 2010 calendar image he created. (Photo by Nicholas Bock.)

Looking around SLAC, it's hard not to come across Gregory Stewart's work. As a graphic designer with the InfoMedia Solutions group, Stewart has created images for all varieties of posters and animations around the lab, as well as print publications and the Web.

Design has been a passion of Stewart's for a long time. He became interested in the field as a teenager, after seeing what movie studios were doing with computer animation in movies like Toy Story. He started creating some computer graphics of his own, and after high school decided to try making a career of it. He moved to California, earned a degree in graphic design, and was hired on at SLAC in 2006.

Although his work with InfoMedia keeps him busy, Stewart has continued doing his own projects on the side as well. His genre of choice is science fiction, including what he describes as an immense passion for Star Trek. He has always received positive feedback on his designs, but the ultimate compliment came last October, when he received a surprise call from the editor of the Star Trek: Ships of the Line Calendar—a yearly calendar published by Andrews McNeal that features original Star Trek related artwork. The editor found some Star Trek battle scenes that Stewart had posted online, and asked whether he might be interested in submitting an image for the calendar's 2010 edition.  Read more...

Call for Applications: Al Ashley Fellowship

The Alonzo W. Ashley Fellowship was created in honor of Al Ashley, who retired from SLAC after 30 years of dedicated and exemplary service, particularly in the area of diversity in the sciences and engineering. During his tenure at SLAC, Al pioneered programs that promoted workplace diversity and encouraged career development for employees and career exploration for talented students.

SLAC is now accepting applications for the 2009-10 Ashley Fellowship. The fellowship is a one-year job rotation and on-the-job training opportunity accompanied by time off to attend related coursework. Activities and job assignments are tailored to coincide with current scientific efforts within SLAC, with regular salary and performance review cycles.

This year, the fellowship is open to both in-house candidates with at least 3 years of full-time experience at SLAC and outside candidates who are recent college graduates in a scientific or engineering field. A successful candidate for the Ashley Fellowship is one who can align his or her career objectives to the current scientific effort at SLAC, and who is committed to promoting and exemplifying the importance of diversity in science and engineering.

Information and application instructions are available in the Alonzo Ashley Fellowship Web pages.

(Photo - the rock on its stand in front of SLAC Building 41)
The rock. (Photo by Nicholas Bock.)

Around SLAC: The Rock

From its home on the east side of the administration building, this giant orb looks pretty legitimate. Its welded steel base gives the installation an aesthetic that sets it apart from the rest of SLAC's sculptures, but in passing it looks like any other lab-sanctioned monument.

Various accounts of the rock's origin have percolated across generations of SLACers, from this historical account to more recent variations. Although some details vary, there seems to be agreement on the general theme: The stone is no decoration, but instead the product of an elaborate practical joke.

According to one long-time SLAC engineer, who asked to remain anonymous, the rock was discovered in the early 80s by a group of iron workers doing excavation work near the linac's north damping ring. When they uncovered the massive stone, work came to a halt. Someone suggested that it might be an enormous geode—maybe even the world's largest. Another worker grabbed a drill.

Before the drill bit could reach the rock's presumably crystalline center, one of the associate lab directors happened by the work site. "The ALD gave them a big hard time," the engineer said. "He told them to knock it off and to get rid of the rock. He said he never wanted to see it again."

The workers stopped, but they didn't give up their find. Instead, they stashed it in a secret location, where it remained for several years. Then, one night, during a colleague's retirement party, the conspirators hatched a plan: They would take the rock from its hiding place, move it across the lab and unload it in front of the administrator's Building 41 office. They would move it using an apparatus designed specifically for the purpose. When the work was done, they'd destroy their instrumentation, ensuring that the rock would never be removed.

They worked under the cover of darkness; when the administrator arrived at work the next day, the rock was sitting there on its makeshift pedestal, with the unfinished drill hole facing up into the morning sun.

Stanford Campus Archaeologist Laura Jones is working to verify the rock's origin. Anyone who was present at its excavation is encouraged to contact her by e-mail.

Have a different account of the rock's origin? Please let us know.

In Response to "The Rock"

"I was an assistant to the ALD at that time and thoroughly enjoyed the prank. (I knew the conspirators but was not part of the devilish plot!) I am happy to see that it still survives in its present location."

―Ewan Paterson


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