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In this issue:
Preparing for LCLS Soft X-ray Science
Palo Alto High Takes the 2010 Regional Science Bowl

SLAC Today

Tuesday - March 2, 2010

Preparing for LCLS Soft X-ray Science

(Photo)
From left: Oleg Krupin, Michael Holmes, Josh Turner and Bill Schlotter stand in front of the SXR experimental hutch. (Photo by Julie Karceski.)

The finish line for the Linac Coherent Light Source's Soft X-ray Materials Research instrument is barreling into view. In a few short months, the SXR should be in position to host user groups for a variety of different experiments, from surface chemistry to magnetic ordering to superconductivity and beyond.

The SXR uses longer "soft" wavelength X-ray bursts from the LCLS. Soft X-rays allow researchers to study specific elements, such as cobalt, iron and oxygen. The low energy of the soft X-rays will, quite literally, only scratch the surface, but in this instance, scientists are most interested in the exterior, superficial properties of their materials.

SXR Beamline Engineer Michael Rowen highlighted the speed at which the SXR project came to fruition, meeting both a tight timeline and budget.

"Things have really come together well," he said. "We've been pushing hard."

One of the last of the six LCLS instruments to begin development, but only the second slated to start running, the SXR has undergone a fluid and rapid transformation since the fall. 

"We know what's going on with every side of this," said Bill Schlotter, one of two SXR instrument scientists. He coordinates among user groups, technicians and engineers to get the SXR ready for its scheduled May 6 launch. Currently, they have nine teams of users lined up for 60-hour windows of SXR time this spring.

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Palo Alto High Takes the 2010 Regional Science Bowl

(Photo - 2010 regional Science Bowl winners, Palo Alto High School)
The winning Palo Alto high school team. (Photo by Ray Ng.)

Hordes of the region's brightest highschoolers descended upon SLAC on Saturday, February 27 for the Department of Energy's 2010 regional Science Bowl quiz competition. Twenty-four teams from 18 schools took buzzers in hand for the day-long event, in which pairs of five-person teams match wits with their peers to answer rounds of challenging science questions. Palo Alto high school came out on top of the competition, with Harker and Homestead High placing second and third, respectively. The winners from Saturday's event will go on to compete in the national Science Bowl event this April in Washington, DC.

Thanks go out to the nearly 50 volunteers from SLAC and the local community who made the event a such success!

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