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In this issue:
New Twist on Favorite X-ray Technique Promises Ultrafast Molecular Studies
Herman Winick Awarded Andrei Sakharov Prize for Upholding Human Rights
SLAC Green Note: 'Green Tips' Podcasts

SLAC Today

Thursday - October 8, 2009

New Twist on Favorite X-ray Technique Promises Ultrafast Molecular Studies

SLAC Scientist Andreas Scherz and Yves Acremann eye a television monitor while performing an alignment procedure at FLASH in Germany. (Photo courtesy David Bernstein.)

A team of physicists from the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, including graduate student David Bernstein, have made a promising discovery that a well-known synchrotron technique is applicable to free-electron lasers. In an article published in Applied Physics Letters on September 28, the research team from SLAC and FLASH in Hamburg, Germany, show that Near Edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Spectroscopy can be altered slightly and used with free-electron lasers to better understand the properties of materials. Taking advantage of the extremely short X-ray pulses of the newly-commissioned Linac Coherent Light Source, the technique could be used to investigate ultrafast molecular interactions.

"NEXAFS spectroscopy is an extremely well developed technique for synchrotrons," Bernstein said. "The beauty of this experiment is that it shows that we can use a technique we already have to explore this new regime."  Read more...

Herman Winick Awarded Andrei Sakharov Prize for Upholding Human Rights

(Photo - Herman Winick)
Herman Winick. (Photo: Mark Tuschman.)

Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource physicist Herman Winick has been awarded the Andrei Sakharov Prize, an honor given every two years by the American Physical Society in recognition of scientists who have worked to uphold human rights.

Winick, who is assistant director emeritus at SSRL and professor emeritus in the applied physics department at Stanford University, will receive the prize February 14 at the American Physical Society’s general meeting in Washington, D.C. He will share the award with City College of New York physicist Joseph Birman and National Science Foundation Elementary Particle Physics Program Director Moishe Pripstein.

The award is named for Andrei Sakharov, a Russian physicist and Nobel laureate who campaigned extensively against nuclear proliferation in the former Soviet Union. The prize was first given in 2006 to Cornell University physicist and Soviet exile Yuri Orlov, who, in the 1970s and 80s, was imprisoned and subsequently deported for criticizing human rights violations by the Soviet government.

"It is humbling to get a prize for which the previous winners were such incredible people, who took such serious risks and endured such serious punishments," Winick said. "Here I am in a free country, speaking my mind and trying to help these people with no thought of repercussions against me."  Read more...

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SLAC Green Note:
'Green Tips' Podcasts

(Image - Earth with headphones)
(Image: EPA.)

Water conservation, green power, even some surprises like home radon testing. If you're curious and can spare a minute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a quick audio tip for you. More than 30 topics are covered in the MP3-format tips, which you can play from almost any Web browser. If you'd rather not play audio, no problem; the site provides a transcript for each tip.

See the Green Tip Podcasts on the EPA's Earth Day Web site.

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