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In this issue:
SLAC Acquisition Management Systems Group Organizes for the Future
Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Peers Deep into Microquasar
SLAC Employee Records Update
Word of the Week: Meson

SLAC Today

Friday - December 4, 2009

SLAC Acquisition Management Systems Group Organizes for the Future

(Photo - Larry Dardzinski)
SLAC Director of Acquisition Management Systems Larry Dardzinski. (Photo by Nicholas Bock.)

SLAC's new Director of Acquisition Management Systems Larry Dardzinski knows his way around federal government contracts and acquisitions. He also knows the private sector tools of the trade. After 20 years as an Air Force contracting officer, Dardzinski spent a decade directing corporate procurement efforts in the financial industry.

"His blend of experience in both the government and private sectors will be very helpful as we continue to build a world-class procurement and financial organization," said SLAC Chief Financial Officer Susan Calandra. Dardzinski joined the SLAC Office of the CFO in October, taking responsibility for SLAC shipping and receiving, property control, "collaborative acquisitions"—essentially, incoming research money—as well as initiatives to transfer technology developed at SLAC into private industry. "Larry is enthusiastic about meeting his new staff and partnering with all of us here at the lab in supporting great science," Calandra said.

Several changes in key AMS positions have recently occurred. Sherrie Remington was promoted into the procurement operations manager position. Remington is responsible for a staff of 21 procurement professionals managing complex supply, service and construction requirements. She is, in turn, supported by three key team lead managers. The team leads are responsible for customer service delivery and will manage the daily purchasing and contract management activities of the group. Gordon Scrimger is leading the commodities team. AMS has ongoing staffing actions targeted at filling key services and construction/projects team lead positions by the end of 2009. 

Read more...

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Peers Deep into Microquasar

(Image of Fermi telescope data)
Brighter colors indicate greater numbers of gamma rays detected in this Fermi Large Area Telescope view of a region centered on the position of Cygnus X-3 (circled). The brightest sources are pulsars. (Image: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration.)

Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has made the first unambiguous detection of high-energy gamma-rays from an enigmatic binary system known as Cygnus X-3, NASA reported last week. The system pairs a hot, massive star with a compact object—either a neutron star or a black hole—that blasts twin radio-emitting jets of matter into space at more than half the speed of light.

Astronomers call these systems microquasars. Their properties—strong emission across a broad range of wavelengths, rapid brightness changes, and radio jets—resemble miniature versions of distant galaxies (called quasars and blazars) whose emissions are thought to be powered by enormous black holes.

Read more from NASA...

SLAC Employee Records Update

The Human Resources and Records Departments need your cooperation in a very important update to the lab’s employee records. Soon, every SLAC employee will receive a request via internal mail to provide his or her current home address, mailing address (if different) and contact telephone numbers. This confidential information will also be used for mailing W-2 Forms and benefits enrollment information, so please ensure that HR has your correct information.

In addition, the Records Department is requesting emergency contact information. This information will give SLAC a way to contact the right people in the event of an emergency.

B mesons were the subject of study in the BaBar and Belle B Factories. (Image courtesy The Particle Zoo.)

Word of the Week: Meson

Most people around SLAC have heard about B mesons from the BaBar experiment, but what exactly is a meson and how many types are there?

The term meson was adopted from the Greek word "mesos," meaning "middle," because the subatomic particles were considered to be of intermediate mass. More than 200 types of mesons have been characterized in high-energy physics experiments since the discovery of the pi meson in 1947. All mesons consist of one quark and one antiquark. These pairs are unstable, meaning that mesons decay quickly, but they do last long enough to be observed with particle detectors. High-energy particle colliders, including the two B factories—the PEP-II ring and BaBar detector at SLAC and the KEK-B ring and Belle detector in Japan—can help researchers reconstruct the behavior of the quarks and antiquarks during meson decays. B factories study B mesons, which are made up of a "bottom" antiquark and an "up," "down" or "charm" quark. Studying the behavior of the B meson and its quarks reveals an example of matter-antimatter asymmetry. A similar asymmetry of a different and currently unknown origin is needed to explain why the Universe is dominated by matter and is shy of antimatter.

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