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In this issue:
SLAC/Stanford's Zhi-Xun Shen Receives 2009 E.O. Lawrence Award
From the Director: FY09 DOE Report Card
KIPAC Workshop Looks Back in Time to Understand the Universe
Special Seminar Today: Recent Results from CDMS
Symmetry Explores Data Preservation, the Fermi Telescope, and More
December Fire Safety Tips
Physics Geek Gift of the Week: Young Mad Scientist's Alphabet Blocks

SLAC Today

Thursday - December 17, 2009

SLAC/Stanford's Zhi-Xun Shen Receives 2009 E.O. Lawrence Award

(Photo)
Zhi-Xun Shen. (Image courtesy Peter Ginter/SLAC.)

Zhi-Xun Shen, director of the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science, or SIMES, a joint institute of the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, has been awarded the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award by the U.S. Department of Energy. Shen, who received the prize for his pioneering work in materials science, is among six other distinguished awardees, announced on December 16, 2009.

"The contributions made by these researchers to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States are wide-ranging and meaningful," Secretary Chu said. "I congratulate the winners and look forward to their discoveries still to come."

One of the highest scientific honors that is bestowed by the U.S. government, recipients of the E.O. Lawrence award receive citations signed by the Secretary, a gold medal bearing the likeness of the award's namesake, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, and a $50,000 honorarium.  Read more...

From the Director: FY09 DOE Report Card

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

This week the Department of Energy Office of Science released annual performance assessments for the national labs, including SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, for the fiscal year 2009 (October 2008 through September 2009). The assessment is based on the goals set in the lab's FY09 DOE Performance Evaluation and Management Plan, or PEMP.

The hard work of everyone at the lab over in recent years, together with our lab-wide efforts to be our own harshest critics, have paid off. In this year's PEMP scores, SLAC once again earned an overall science and technology grade of A-. The management and operations score of B+ represents sustained performance and continued improvements from our mission support staff.  Read more...

KIPAC Workshop Looks Back in Time to Understand the Universe

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In the past few years, data from advanced telescopes and satellites—such as the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope all-sky map above—have revealed the extragalactic background light at a wide range of wavelengths. (Image courtesy of NASA/DOE/International LAT Team.)

When astronomers look to the sky, they see millions upon millions of individual objects: the discernable stars and other sources of light that make up our universe. But they also see a faint, diffuse glow spread across the entire sky that can't be attributed to single sources. This light, which consists mostly of the light from galaxies and quasars too far away to individually resolve, was the subject of the Cosmological Implications of the Extragalactic Background Light workshop that took place at SLAC on Tuesday.

"After you subtract all of the point sources from your view of the sky, the extragalactic background light is what's left," said Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology postdoc Lukasz Stawarz, who co-organized the workshop with colleagues Neelima Sehgal and Jack Singal. In addition to the blurred light of distant astronomical objects, the EBL also includes the cosmic microwave background, a faintly glowing relic of the hot, dense, young universe. Together, these sources contain information regarding the history and formation of galaxies, and the large-scale structure of the universe.  Read more...

Special Seminar Today:
Recent Results from CDMS

Today, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology will have a special Astronomy CSSA/KIPAC/SLAC seminar at 2 p.m. in Kavli Auditorium. Jodi Cooley will discuss recent CDMS results, which were the subject of some discussion in the news last week. See The Search for Dark Matter: Has CDMS Found Something? in Symmetry Breaking.

You can also see streaming video of the talk here, live at 2 p.m. PST.

(Image - Symmetry magazine cover, December 2009)

Symmetry Explores Data Preservation, the Fermi Telescope, and More

Canning, pickling, drying, freezing— physicists wish there were an easy way to preserve their hard-won data so future generations of scientists, armed with more powerful tools, can put it to good use. They've launched an international search for solutions.

Read about this and more in the December 2009 issue of Symmetry magazine, now available online and coming soon in print.

December Fire Safety Tips

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Covering Christmas trees, lights, candles and more, the SLAC Fire Marshal's Office has put together a handy set of tips for holiday fire safety. See them all in this easy-to-print two-page flier.

Physics Geek Gift of the Week: Young Mad Scientist's Alphabet Blocks

(Photo)
L is for laser.
(Photo courtesy Xylocopa.)

What better way to celebrate the close of the first experimental run on the world's first hard X-ray laser than with laser-cut alphabet blocks?

A Young Mad Scientist's First Alphabet Blocks, made by Xylocopa, feature all 26 letters on just five blocks, complete with illustrations to match each letter. Instead of pictures of fluffy animals, these blocks sport graphics of science concepts traditionally associated with the careers of "mad scientists." For example, a maniacal scientist might dwell in his underground lair with his henchmen to create zombies while under the influence of excessive amounts of caffeine, before going for a ride in his dirigible.

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