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In this issue:
From the Director: Taking a Break and Coming Back
Around SLAC: "Final Payment" August 21, 1969
Globie Nominations Deadline Today
Certificate in Supervision Graduates Celebrate with a Pizza Lunch
Word of the Week: Quasar

SLAC Today

Friday - August 21, 2009

From the Director:
Taking a Break and Coming Back

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Harvey Lynch.)

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! 

Around SLAC:
"Final Payment" August 21, 1969

(Photo)
(Photo by SLAC Photographer Walter Zawojski.)

Forty years ago today, the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to today‚Äôs 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. 

(Image - Globie statuette)

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 announcement.

Word of the Week: Quasar

(Image - quasar)
(Image: NASA.)

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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