From the Director:
Taking a Break and Coming Back
As many do in the summer months, I took a family vacation for the past two weeks. Thanks to Jo Stohr and David MacFarlane for serving as acting directors while I was away. It was great to be away, and
it's even better to be back. And when I came back I realized something wonderful—the lab ran just fine while I was away!
That is not to say the last two weeks were without incident. We had employee issues, union picketing and a phishing scam just to name a few. But we also have a team of people in place so that decisions are made, actions are taken and issues get resolved. It was a wonderful feeling to
not look at my e-mail when I was away and, when I came back, to see that problems got solved without my engaging in solving them.
We all have a tendency to think we are indispensible. But in a well-functioning organization, there should be no
'single points of failure.' If the primary individual responsible for an activity is away, someone should be trained to cover. If the primary manager responsible for a decision is not available, there should be another manager capable of making the decision. And processes for making decisions and resolving disputes should have sufficient integrity that they can be carried out independent of key individuals being on the site. In
my case, it was great that nothing had to be 'put on hold' until I came back.
It was also great fun to come back and to see what had been accomplished in just
two short weeks. In addition to workshops, summer institute, summer students, kids day and the normal wealth of science, we now have LCLS beam to the Atomic, Molecular and Optical Science instrument for the first time!
"Final Payment" August 21, 1969
(Photo by SLAC Photographer Walter Zawojski.)
Forty years ago today, the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to today’s Department of Energy, made the final payment to Stanford University for the construction of the original SLAC linac, experimental endstations
and supporting infrastructure. Associate Director of the Business Services
Division Fred V. L. Pindar (seated, second from left) is seen signing a bit of
paperwork while members of
the AEC and SLAC staffs look on. Standing directly behind Fred Pindar (wearing
sunglasses) is Win Field, SLAC staff counsel.
Globie Nominations Deadline Today
Today is the final deadline to submit nominations for this year's "Globie"
Awards. Now is the time to nominate someone who demonstrates SLAC's Core Values
and promotes respect, integrity, diversity and citizenship in the workplace. You
may nominate up to three people by filling out the online nomination form.
This year, 20 recipients will be chosen, with no more than five from each directorate. All members of the SLAC staff are eligible for the award, except for top level management. Individuals may not receive an award in consecutive years.
Certificate in Supervision Graduates Celebrate with a Pizza Lunch
Certificate in Supervision graduates (from left): Jingchen Zhou, Prithivi Sharma, William Harrison, Paul Stephens, Martha Siegel, John Blomdal (back), Queenie Galvez, John Blomdal (back), David Engesser, Persis Drell, Rob Cameron (back), Pamela Elliott, David Misaki, Michael JJ Harms (back), Bill Choate, Rich Lee and Chuck Taniguchi. Not pictured: Chip Dalby and Shawne Workman. (Photo by Shawne Workman.)
This year's graduates of the Certificate in Supervision program gathered
yesterday to celebrate successful completion of nine, half-day courses in good management
practices at SLAC. Attendees enjoyed a pizza lunch and lighthearted comments
from SLAC Director Persis Drell, and the Certificate in Supervision hallmark, an
opening joke from Human Resources Manager Carmella Huser. Persis presented a
certificate of completion to each graduate.
Registration is open now for the next Certificate in Supervision program. For
details, see the
Word of the Week: Quasar
First discovered in the 1960s using radio telescopes, quasars appeared as little points of radio frequency light in the sky. Because their appearance was initially likened to stars, researchers named the light sources
"quasi-stellar radio sources," or quasars. A quasar forms as matter spirals wildly into the depths of a supermassive black hole at the center of a galaxy. The swirling matter forms an accretion disk which releases energy in the form of radio, infrared, optical, ultraviolet, X-ray and gamma ray radiation.
The expulsion of energy manifests as an intensely bright light, capable of travelling 13 billion lightyears or more to Earth, where astrophysicists can catch a glimpse of the swirling disk. Because quasars are so much farther from the Earth than other galaxies previously studied, astronomers are able to look at quasars and their surrounding matter as a galactic time capsule created billions of years ago.
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