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In this issue:
From the Chief Operations Officer
Gamma-ray Burst Hits Highest Energy Yet
Aharon Kapitulnik Awarded Onnes Prize
SLAC Awards 2009 Globies
Marguerite Line S Schedule Update

SLAC Today

Friday - September 11, 2009

From the Chief Operations Officer

(Photo - Alexander Merola)

The senior members of the Operations Directorate recently spent two full days together assessing how well we are serving the SLAC science mission and how we might do that better. We like to be our own harshest critics, and we are fully committed to improving the infrastructure and services that we provide. Let me just share our current thinking.

As you know only too well, some of Chief Finance Office and Human Resource department processes are sorely lacking systems that will provide you with necessary tools for budgeting or cost tracking, recruiting, on-line effort reporting, and employee information self service. Even while we figure out how to address this, we are modernizing the IT infrastructure on which these services will live; we have offered SLAC-specific finance classes; and we have introduced the foundation of online business-to-business procurement. SLAC performance appraisals are now based on performance and contributions, and clear roles and responsibilities, and we will simplify this process in the future.  Read more...

Gamma-ray Burst Hits Highest Energy Yet

(Image - the Large Area Telescope)
The Large Area Telescope detects gamma-rays by tracking the electrons and positrons they produce after striking layers of tungsten. This ability also makes the LAT an excellent tool for exploring high-energy cosmic rays. (Image: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab.)

For the second time in as many years, a Large Area Telescope collaboration meeting was punctuated by a stellar firework. Last week's meeting, which ran from August 29 through September 4, was briefly interrupted on Wednesday when the LAT, the main instrument onboard the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, recorded a large gamma-ray burst.

Although the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor, the other instrument aboard FGST, sees gamma-ray bursts almost daily, the LAT detects far fewer because it views only about a sixth of the sky at any given time and detects only the bursts that emit the highest-energy gamma rays. Including last week's burst, the LAT total now stands at ten.

When the alert came in last week notifying collaboration members of the possibility of a newly detected burst, the researchers leapt to action, alerting astronomers around the world so that they too could turn their instruments toward it. At the same time, the LAT automatically stopped its regular scan of the sky to continue recording the burst.

"We knew this was likely to be an exciting one—it was immediately clear that it was a very big burst," said SLAC astrophysicist and LAT collaboration member Jim Chiang.  Read more...

Aharon Kapitulnik Awarded 2009 Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Prize

(Photo)
Aharon Kapitulnik receives the 2009 Onnes Prize in Tokyo. (Image courtesy Aharon Kapitulnik.)

Stanford and SLAC physicist Aharon Kapitulnik received the 2009 Heike Kamerlingh Onnes Prize for Outstanding Superconductivity Experiments Wednesday at the Ninth International Conference on Materials and Mechanisms of Superconductivity in Tokyo.

Kapitulnik, who is chair of the Stanford Department of Applied Physics and a faculty member with the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science, shared the prize with Brookhaven National Laboratory Physicists J.C. Seamus Davis and John Tranquada.

"[The Onnes] is one of the most eminent prizes in the field of superconductivity," said SIMES Director Zhi-Xun Shen. "The award recognizes the outstanding scientific contributions Aharon has made."  Read more...

SLAC Awards 2009 Globies

(Photo - Globie statuette)

The 2009 Employee Recognition Awards ("Globies") have been awarded this year to 17 deserving recipients across SLAC:

Allyson Aranda
Anders Borgland
Matthew Cramar
Natalie Cramar
William Harrison
Ardie Jacob
Bart Johnson
J Langton
Lance Lougee
Nancy Matlin
Ruth McDunn
Jeremy Pigula
Carl Rago
Chris Ramirez
Mike Toney
Terry Tuck
Joan Valine

Read more...

Marguerite Line S Schedule Update

Transportation Improvements Help Reduce Carbon Footprint

The Stanford Marguerite Line S shuttle connecting SLAC and CalTrain, as well as the new Rosewood Hotel, will have a new schedule beginning Monday, September 14. Increasing alternative transportation ridership and reducing carbon emissions were the ultimate goals in upgrading the schedule. The new timetable focuses on only peak ridership periods.

Read more and see the new schedule...

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