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In this issue:
SLAC Accelerator Expertise at Work in the LHC
Can SLAC Reach You in an Emergency?
Physics Geek Gift of the Week: The Galileoscope

SLAC Today

Thursday - December 10, 2009

SLAC Accelerator Expertise at Work in the LHC

(Photo)
Themis Mastoridis and Claudio Rivetta characterize LHC radio-frequency stations from their SLAC office using the software they helped design to manage the LHC RF system. (Photo courtesy of Dan Van Winkle.)

CERN's Large Hadron Collider became the world's highest energy particle collider when it began colliding protons at 1.18 tera-electron volts late last month. This was no small feat; it takes hundreds of mechanical and software systems to run such a machine—including a system governing the radio frequency waves that give particles their boost inside the accelerator. With their combined 25 years of experience on just such a system, a SLAC team of researchers helped CERN solve an unanticipated complexity with this LHC system, helping get the giant machine up and running.

"Our team is the place where technology and accelerator physics come together," said SLAC accelerator physicist John Fox. "We know particle beams and their dynamics, we have technical expertise with accelerator RF systems and feedback, and we’ve learned a lot understanding their interaction." Under Fox's leadership, SLAC researchers Dan Van Winkle, Themis Mastoridis and Claudio Rivetta used their knowledge of RF systems to design new software tools needed to commission and optimize the LHC RF system.  Read more...

Can SLAC Reach You in an Emergency?

AlertSU

Last year Stanford University implemented an emergency notification system called AlertSU. This system was put in place to rapidly alert all Stanford faculty, staff and students in the case of a developing emergency situation. To deliver time-sensitive emergency notifications, it simultaneously uses several technologies: voicemail, e-mail and text messaging. SLAC office phone numbers and e-mail addresses have been included in the database for some time now, and many of us have received phone calls and/or e-mails during their periodic testing.

What is changing?

Back in August the system started accepting mobile contact information from SLAC subcontractors, students and visiting scientists. As of today SLAC employees can enter their mobile contact information into the AlertSU system via the SLAC Phone Directory Web page. Up to three phone numbers and one e-mail address can be tagged for use by the AlertSU system. The "stanfordyou" Web page will no longer allow you to enter this information. It will instead refer you to SLAC for updating your mobile contact information.

How can you be included?

Please take a few minutes to look yourself up in the SLAC Phone Directory, then press the Edit button on the dark blue line that says Optional Information (SLAC/Non-SLAC).

Everyone can opt-in to the system by choosing up to three phone numbers and one email address and tagging them as "Alert SU" using the View drop-down menu.

What's next?

Very soon a test of the AlertSU system will be conducted. SLAC emergency personnel are now able to use AlertSU to send out alerts to just SLAC. Eventually they will be able to target the notifications to residents of a particular building at SLAC.

Physics Geek Gift of the Week: The Galileoscope

(Photo by Shawne Workman.)

This week's gift is for the astronomer (or aspiring astronomer) on your list. The Galileoscope—designed by astronomers, optical engineers and science educators to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy—is an inexpensive, easy-to-assemble telescope kit modeled after the scope Galileo used. With this kit, your star-gazing hobbyist can explore the wonders of the solar system including Earth's and Jupiters' moons, Saturn's rings, and the phases of Venus.

Don't have a special physics geek on your list? Consider donating a Galileoscope. Your anonymous donation can help educate children and adults about the experimental method, observation techniques, light and optics, and the cosmos. Each kit comes with educational activities and related materials, which are also available online.

Conveniently, orders made now will arrive when skies are clearer—in January and February. Think of it as an extension of the holiday season. Just print out a picture of the Galileoscope to put in a card for your astrophysics fan to open, for example using these Hubble Holiday Cards, which feature images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. You can print a card on your home printer or at your favorite photo store or online photo lab. Your galactic geek will be able to stargaze at the card until the telescope arrives.

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