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In this issue:
From the Director: Two Additional Paid Days During Winter Closure
People: Helen Quinn in Her Garden
Around SLAC: Fall Colors

SLAC Today

Wednesday - December 2, 2009

From the Director: Two Additional Paid Days During Winter Closure

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

This has been an extraordinary year of accomplishment for SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, with the spectacular turn-on of the Linac Coherent Light Source. Everyone at the lab can take pride in our shared achievement. It took contributions from everyone at the lab to make this happen.

As an acknowledgment of the extraordinary successes in building LCLS and bringing it online for the first user experiments, SLAC management is awarding employees two additional paid days off during the winter closure. This gesture of appreciation applies to all regular staff SLAC employees, including those represented by United Stanford Workers. Details of the extra days are provided in this memo from Human Resources Director Larry Young.

Thank you all for your dedication and your hard work.

Helen Quinn in Her Garden

Theorist Helen Quinn in her office at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. (Photo by Nicholas Bock.)

Over the course of her 32 years at SLAC, Helen Quinn has played a considerable role in shaping the theoretical framework of modern physics, helping forge a better understanding of symmetry in the universe (or lack thereof), the nature of dark matter and the behavior of quarks. At home, though, she often leaves the particle garden behind, instead focusing on the more tangible garden in her front yard.

But for Quinn there are no rows of carrots or herbs, no tomato cages and no flower beds. Instead, there are native grasses and wildflowers, with Quinn striving to keep her half-acre in Portola Valley as close to its pre-Columbian condition as she can.

"My garden, to anybody walking by, looks like it's just wild," she said. "But I spend hours out there."

Quinn working in her garden.
(Photo by Dan Quinn.)

The native plants do the growing on their own, for the most part, so Quinn's role is more administrative, removing any non-natives that come creeping in to push the natives out. She clears out clumps of Harding grass and French Broom (along with dozens of smaller invaders like oats, filaree and clovers) to make way for local species like Stipa pulchra and California melic. She works relentlessly, prying out unwanted guests and tugging at invasive pests, keeping a pick ax on hand for particularly tricky cases. It's a labor of love for Quinn, with a big emphasis on labor

Read more...

(Photo by Lauren Knoche.)

Around SLAC:
Fall Colors

The winter solstice may be only a few weeks away, but leaves are still changing colors and dropping from the trees all around SLAC. If you have not gone on a lunchtime walk recently, now is the time to do so and take in the beautiful fall colors.

This tree adds a dazzling mix of red and vibrant goldenrod at the top of Parking Lot E. There are plenty more to enjoy across the campus.


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