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In this issue:
People: Tom Himel's Holiday Haunts
An Advance in Superconducting Magnet Technology Opens the Door for More Powerful Colliders
Orange Conference Room to Start a New Life
Reminder: SLAC Holiday Luncheon Today

SLAC Today

Wednesday - December 16, 2009

People: Tom Himel's Holiday Haunts

The Grinch welcomes holiday guests to the Himel house. (Photo courtesy Tom Himel.)

SLAC physicist Tom Himel's largest Christmas decoration looks like something out of Tim Burton's stop-action film The Nightmare Before Christmas. In the movie, ghouls and goblins from Halloween Town discover a portal to Christmas Town and try to join the Christmas festivities. At the Himel house during the holiday season, "The Grinch"—a giant inflated grim reaper adorned with a Santa hat, beard and a green sack—stands across the front path. The Grinch made its first appearance when Himel began hosting the Accelerator Research Department's holiday party, and has stuck around ever since.

"To make sure people can find the house, I dressed up the grim reaper as Santa," Himel said. But ask where the reaper-turned-Santa comes from, and Himel will tell you that it is simply a "remnant" of his family's Halloween display—a ghoul from Halloween Town that made the journey to Christmas Town and is trying to fit in.  Read more...

An Advance in Superconducting Magnet Technology Opens the Door for More Powerful Colliders

The LQS01 magnet at Fermilab during assembly of the coil quadrant splices. (Photo courtesy Gilbert Whitson, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.)

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN has just started producing collisions, but scientists and engineers have already made significant progress in preparing for future upgrades beyond the collider's nominal design performance, including a 10-fold increase in collision rates by the end of the next decade and, eventually, higher-energy beams.

In a test on December 4, a focusing magnet built by members of the U.S. Department of Energy's multi-laboratory LHC Accelerator Research Program, or LARP, using an advanced superconducting material, achieved the goal of a magnetic field strong enough to focus intense proton beams in the upgraded LHC interaction regions.

"This success has been made possible by the enthusiasm and dedication of many scientists, engineers, and technicians at the collaborating laboratories," said Eric Prebys of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, who heads LARP, "and by the guidance and continuous support of the U.S. Department of Energy and the encouragement and contributions of CERN and the entire accelerator magnet community."

LARP is a collaboration of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermilab, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, founded by DOE in 2003 to address the challenge of planned upgrades that will significantly increase the LHC's luminosity.  Read more...

Orange Conference Room to Start a New Life

Most of you who had scheduled meetings for SLAC's Orange conference room already know: To make way for additional office space for the PULSE Institute for Ultrafast Energy Science, starting this week, the Orange room will no longer be available for meetings, and has been removed from the Meeting Room Contact List. Much needed renovation of that space will begin in the new year.

SLAC is also planning a new, modern conference and seminar space to replace the Orange Room functionality, which will also be in Building 40. While it will be some time until this new facility is ready, the goal is to provide enhanced functionality for use by the whole lab. Meanwhile, if you have a future meeting in mind for the Orange room, please seek another alternative. Communications Office staff have tried to inform everyone who already had booked the Orange room, and apologize for any inconvenience during the transition.

Reminder: SLAC Holiday Luncheon Today

Today's the day! Come to the Linear Café and Panofsky Breezeway today between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. for SLAC's traditional holiday party,  Universal Cheer. Join your colleagues for a festive buffet lunch, holiday movie, Jingle All the Way, in Panofsky Auditorium, and raffle drawings beginning at 11:30 a.m. (no need to be present to win!)

This is also a great chance for holiday giving. Today is the final day of the Coat and Blanket Drive; the Second Harvest Food Bank collection ends tomorrow. For details and donation locations around SLAC, see the Giving Campaigns page.

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