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In this issue:
From the Director: Happy Holidays!
Hewett, Peskin and Coward Elected AAAS Fellows
Dark Matter Experiment Results Announced
Workshop Focuses on Manycore and Accelerator-based Scientific Computing
The Winter Shutdown
Holiday Computing Reminders

SLAC Today

Friday - December 18, 2009

From the Director: Happy Holidays!

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This is the season for celebration, reflection and appreciation for what we have accomplished in this past year at SLAC. However, I'm having a hard time writing my end of the year column with any tone of calm or composure because life at SLAC is incredibly exciting right now and it is not going to slow down any time soon! Here are just a few vignettes from the kaleidoscope of my memories for the year:

  • LCLS Lases. Wow! What a turn on! It takes several weeks for me to believe that this is real.
  • Elliott Bloom shows the SPC beautiful FERMI dark matter search data. 


Hewett, Peskin and Coward Elected AAAS Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has elected SLAC physicists JoAnne Hewett, Michael Peskin and David Coward (also emeritus from Stanford University) as AAAS Fellows in physics. This year, 531 AAAS members were nominated as fellows by their peers, in recognition of distinguished contributions to their fields of study.

The 2009 fellows were announced today, December 18, in the AAAS News and Notes section of Science magazine (subscription required). As part of the Section on Physics, the three SLAC-affiliated researchers were elected:

(Photo - JoAnne Hewett)JoAnne L. Hewett: for seminal contributions to the phenomenology of B physics, Tevatron and LHC physics, in particular the exploration of "Beyond the Standard Model" Physics. (Photo courtesy JoAnne Hewett.)

(Photo - Michael Peskin)Michael E. Peskin: for distinguished contributions to high-energy physics affecting both theory and experiment, including innovations for the model-independent interpretation of precision measurements. (Photo courtesy Michael Peskin.)

(Photo - David Coward)David H. Coward: for distinguished contributions to experiments that discovered the quark structure of the proton and neutron, and measured direct CP Violation in neutral K-meson decays. (Photo courtesy David Coward.)

The new fellows will receive an official certificate and a rosette pin in gold and blue—representing science and engineering, respectively—during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego on Saturday, February 20.

Congratulations to all of the 2009 AAAS Fellows! 

Dark Matter Experiment Results Announced

(Image - CDMS data)
In these figures, the dotted red line divides events into those determined not to be WIMPs based on the relative timing of the heat to charge signals (left side) and those that could potentially be WIMPs based on that parameter (right side). The solid red box delineates the area of the graph in which WIMPs should occur based on both timing and the heat to charge ratio. Two events in separate detectors demonstrated the characteristics scientists predicted a WIMP would have.

In the analysis of new data, scientists from the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search experiment, managed by the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, have detected two events that have characteristics consistent with the particles that physicists believe make up dark matter.

However, there is a chance that both events could be the signatures of background particles–other particles with interactions that mimic the signals of dark matter candidates. Scientists have a strict criterion when determining whether a discovery has been made. There must be less than one chance in 1000 that the observed events could be due to background. This result does not yet pass that test, so CDMS experimenters do not claim to have detected dark matter. Nevertheless, the result has caused considerable excitement in the scientific community.  Read more in Symmetry Breaking

Workshop Focuses on Manycore and Accelerator-based Scientific Computing

Online, at conferences and in theory, manycore processors and the use of accelerators such as graphics processing units, or GPUs, and field-programmable gate arrays, FPGAs, are being viewed as the next big revolution in high performance computing. If they can live up to the potential, these accelerators could someday transform how computational science is performed, providing much more computing power and energy efficiency.

And, in fact, they are already helping to drive significant scientific research projects—not bundled together in large systems, but rather one server at a time. In early December, a group of astronomers, physicists and high performance computing experts gathered at the SLAC to discuss how GPUs and FPGAs are meeting their unique needs. The three-day workshop was co-organized by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, NERSC, SLAC and Stanford's Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology.  Read more on HPC Wire...

Site Access during Winter Shutdown

From 6 p.m. on Friday, December 18, until 6 a.m. on Monday, January 4, the lab will be in full Winter Shutdown mode. During this time period, all employees not directly supporting essential activities are encouraged to take time off and enjoy the holidays.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been evaluating proposed projects and activities that to ensure that we have coordinated the necessary support services and that the activities that were classified in our new Work Planning and Control system as "Yellow" and "Red." A key determination in prioritizing our resources is whether these activities are truly necessary to the mission of the lab and can be safely and efficiently conducted during the shutdown period.  Read more...

Holiday Computing Reminders

As you prepare to leave for the holidays, please take a moment to remember:

  • Please power off desktop and laptop computers, monitors, printers, heaters, lights and other equipment that will not be needed over the holiday.
  • For computing needs over the break, please see Computing Support During the Holidays.


Happy Holidays!

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