The Little Infrared Camera that Could
Howard Rogers (left) and Peter Lewis with the RASICAM test assembly. (Photo courtesy Selina Li.)
Perched on a peak high in the Chilean Andes, 2200 meters above sea level, the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory has an enviable view of the night sky. In 2011, the
Dark Energy Survey collaboration will install the largest digital camera ever built inside the Cerro Tololo dome to gaze deep into the universe. And sitting nearby, gazing at something a little closer to earth, will be the SLAC-built Radiometric All Sky Infrared Camera, or RASICAM.
With its 500 megapixels, the Fermilab-led DES camera, or DECam, will search the sky for evidence of dark energy, the mysterious force that seems to accelerate the expansion of the universe. To succeed in revealing the fundamentals of this dark 74 percent piece of the universe, the collaboration will need not only an extremely sensitive camera, advanced optics and a data acquisition system that can take a new photo every 17 seconds, but also a clear view of the night sky. This is where RASICAM fits in.
The United States has the opportunity to lead the world in a clean-energy industrial revolution, Steven Chu told the Stanford audience. (Photo
by Linda Cicero.)
Chu Speaks on Green Technology and Climate Change
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate and professor emeritus of Physics at Stanford, returned to campus Monday to speak about the role of clean energy in combating global climate change. A sustainable energy revolution, he said, is not only vital in mitigating climate change, but is a critical step in ensuring U.S. economic competitiveness.
Addressing an audience of students and faculty on Monday, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu cited a few words of wisdom from legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky: "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."
To that versatile epigram added Chu: "We have to get people in the United States to skate where the world is going to be." He was referring to the challenges facing the United States in mobilizing large-scale clean-energy initiatives in the face of not one, but two behemoths – profound and potentially irreversible climate change, and an increasingly competitive global economy.
Central to Chu's discussion was the need for sweeping action across both public and private sectors to revolutionize, diversify, and propagate green technology – at a pace commensurate with the severity of the impact that human energy consumption has already made on the global ecosystem.
Read more in the
Hear Chu's full remarks online at
White House Web site.
(Poster by SLAC InfoMedia Solutions.)
Public Lecture March 23: Deep Secrets of the Neutrino—Physics Underground
Save the date! Tuesday, March 23, 7:30 p.m., SLAC researcher Peter Rowson will
discuss his work with the Enriched Xenon Observatory here at SLAC and deep in a New Mexico salt mine,
with a SLAC public lecture, "Deep Secrets of the Neutrino: Physics Underground."
Among the many beautiful, unexpected and sometimes revolutionary discoveries to emerge from subatomic physics, probably none is more bizarre than an elementary particle known as the "neutrino." More than a trillion of these microscopic phantoms pass unnoticed through our bodies every second, and indeed, through the entire Earth, but their properties remain poorly understood. In recent years, exquisitely sensitive experiments, often conducted deep below ground, have brought neutrino physics to the forefront. In this talk,
Rowson will explore the neutrino—what we know, what we want to know, and how one experiment in a New Mexico mine is trying to get there.
Rowson's talk will take place in Panofsky Auditorium, with overflow space in
Kavli Auditorium. The event is free and open to all!