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In this issue:
From the Director and COO: Input from SLAC's Board of Overseers
Pandemic Influenza Information at SLAC
WIS Seminar Next Wednesday: Helen Quinn on Science
Six Choices of Embroidered Logo Caps
Word of the Week: Vacuum Energy

SLAC Today

Friday - November 13, 2009

From the Director and COO: Input from SLAC's Board of Overseers

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photos by Linda Cicero.)

In 2008, we as a laboratory embarked on a major improvement program. We spent a lot of time generating plans and establishing the culture change necessary for our future. We started 2009 by saying that this was the year to start to execute and deliver what we have planned! We all saw that 2009 was a year when we, as a lab, needed to make a lot of forward progress.

Progress can be hard to see when you are caught in the daily struggle to move forward. However last week we were benchmarked by external reviewers against where we were six months ago.

Just to remind you, Stanford University is responsible for the oversight of SLAC science and operations. To a large extent this is conducted by the Board of Overseers (BoO), appointed by the President of Stanford, to provide guidance, oversight and advice regarding both scientific and operational issues. The BoO has four committees: Scientific Policy Committee (SPC), Operations, Finance and Audit, and Human Resources. 

All four of these committees met last week as part of their semiannual visit. As you read this, the Board of Overseers is presenting their report to Stanford Vice President for SLAC Bill Madia. While there will be observations and recommendations for improvement, we wanted to share some of their enthusiasm for what they saw.  Read more...

Pandemic Influenza Information at SLAC

Looking for an information resource this flu season? SLAC has set up a Pandemic Influenza Information page for employees. The site can be found on the SLAC home page under the Staff Resources menu and at, and contains SLAC procedures, links and a set of frequently-asked question on how H1N1 and other flu viruses may affect the laboratory.

SLAC Doctor Maria Gherman said that SLAC currently provides seasonal flu vaccines by appointment for those who need it. The medical office expects to get the H1N1 vaccine but does not know when. As yet, the H1N1 flu has been no more severe than the seasonal flu seen every year. You should be aware of flu symptoms and stay home if you exhibit them. Follow the guidelines in the FAQ (link above) for returning to work after having flu symptoms

WIS Seminar Next Wednesday:
Helen Quinn on Science

(Photo - Helen Quinn)
SLAC theorist Helen Quinn.

Next Wednesday at noon, the Women's Interchange at SLAC presents esteemed theoretical physicist Helen Quinn, answering the question "What is Science?"

Quinn will use her 40+ years of experience in physics, science education and outreach to address what might seem like a basic question. Quinn has found that the general public and scientists don't always share a common understanding of science—how it is conducted, how progress comes about, and what its inherent values and limitations are. Some of her insights may surprise you.

A former American Physical Society President and winner of the DIRAC Medal among many other honors, Quinn is retiring from SLAC at the end of this year.

Come to Panofsky Auditorium on Wednesday, November 18, from noon to 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome; bring your lunch and a friend.

(Photo courtesy Doug Kreitz.)

Six Choices of Embroidered Logo Caps

Just in time for Fall!

The Stanford Guest House Gift Shop recently received a new shipment of embroidered logo caps. This shipment introduces the newly designed LCLS cap plus a great new heather grey cap sporting the SLAC logo.

Remember, your purchases of all SLAC and LCLS logo items not only give you a chance to show off your lab pride, they also support the Friends of the Linear Accelerator's purchases of benches, display cases, picnic tables and other enhancements for the lab.

The Guest House Gift Shop (located right here on the SLAC campus) is open 24/7 and accepts all major credit cards.

Word of the Week: Vacuum Energy

 (Video by Brad Plummer.)

Why is "empty space" a contradiction in terms? Videographer and science writer Brad Plummer explains in this video installment of the Word of the Week.


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