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In this issue:
From Persis, Paul and Bill: We Need Your Help!
A Visit from the Armenian Prime Minister
Welcome Aboard New SLACers!
Word of the Week: Planck Time

SLAC Today

Friday - November 6, 2009

From Persis, Paul and Bill:
We Need Your Help!

(Photo - Persis Drell, Paul Golan and Bill Madia)

The incident investigation into the September 24, 2009 laser-related eye injury in a PULSE laboratory has been completed and the final report has been completed and the final report is available to the SLAC community online (SLAC internal); we encourage everyone at SLAC to read it. It is an excellent report and it identifies things that probably exist in many other parts of the laboratory, specifically:

  • inadequate supervision and oversight,
  • a sub-culture where it is not always deemed necessary to "follow the rules,"
  • inadequate on-the-job training and
  • inadequate work planning and control

While a plan is being developed to correct the specific root causes of the laser incident, as was discussed in last week's safety and security briefings, we believe that there are broader cultural issues we need to deal with here and we are following the laser investigation with an evaluation of the operational culture at the lab, sponsored jointly by Stanford, SSO and SLAC.  Read more...

A Visit from the Armenian Prime Minister

Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan (right) and SLAC Director Persis Drell exchange gifts. (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

It's not every day that secret service and motorcades are seen at SLAC; then again, it's not every day that a prime minister visits the lab. Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and a small delegation of advisors were welcomed to the lab late Thursday morning by SLAC Director Persis Drell. The two exchanged gifts before sitting down with six students from Stanford University's Armenian Students Association for a thoughtful question and answer session with the prime minister. The entourage was then escorted on a tour of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and the Next Linear Collider Test Accelerator facilities.

Welcome Aboard New SLACers!

(Photo - new employees)
(Photo by Doug Kreitz.)

Yesterday, November 5, 2009, SLAC welcomed fifteen new employees. They are, from left to right:

Front row: Ralph Habura, Mohammad Malek, Alice Callen, Rui Qiu, Frank Hoeflich

Back row: Jim Defever, Eugene Kraft, Andrew Benwell, Matthew Wrona, Chiara Caronna, Yo Wackerman, Doug Stickney, Gary Niese, Ian Walter Evans, Marco Cammarata

Word of the Week: Planck Time

(Photo - Max Planck)
Max Planck's official Nobel Prize portrait, 1918.

Ninety-one years before Bay Area rapper M.C. Hammer introduced an unsuspecting public to "Hammertime," quantum mechanics pioneer Max Planck had his own hit with Planck time—the amount of time it takes light to travel a Planck length.

And what's a Planck length? It's a unit of measurement equal to roughly 1.6 x 10-35 meters, making one unit of Planck time equal about 5.39 x 10-44 seconds. But for being so small, Planck time holds a lot of significance for physicists and cosmologists. According to some theories, one unit of Planck time is the amount of time after the big bang that all four fundamental forces were combined into a single unified force.

Hammertime is less precisely defined but, according to theories generated by interns at the SLAC Communications Office, may refer to the length of M.C. Hammer's widespread commercial success—a time span of perhaps 6.3 x 107 seconds.


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