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In this issue:
Capturing More Gamma Rays
First LHC Collisions Webcast
Reminder: Director's Workgroup Meetings Begin Today
Colloquium Today: Nanophotonics—Light, Heat and Solar Cells

SLAC Today

Monday - March 29, 2010

Capturing More Gamma Rays

From left: Justin Vandenbrouke, Stefan Funk, Rolf Buehler, Leonid Sapozhnikov, Hiro Tajima and Keith Bechtol hold electronic chips they are developing for improved gamma ray detecting telescopes. (Photo by Julie Karceski.)

Stefan Funk wants to improve ground-based gamma ray imaging systems. Today's best instruments have their limits, Funk noted, and newer, more sensitive equipment is required to enter the next stage of astrophysical research. A physicist with the joint SLAC/Stanford Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Funk received funding for a Laboratory Directed Research and Development project to develop components capable of boosting gamma ray telescope speed and precision while keeping costs down.

Each year, the lab director sets aside a maximum of eight percent of the lab budget for LDRD projects to encourage innovative research and development.

"LDRD money is a great tool to do this kind of work," Funk said. LDRD funding goes exclusively to new projects, rather than established research programs, allowing scientists to explore special projects and innovative ideas.

Funk and his collaborators from the Advanced Gamma-ray Imaging System have a handful of objectives for the next generation of gamma ray telescopes. Among others, they want to explore the origins of cosmic rays and to uncover signals of dark matter in gamma rays.  Read more...

(Image - simulated collision in the ATLAS detector)
This simulated collision shows the production of a Higgs particle in the ATLAS detector. (Image courtesy CERN/J. Pequenao.)

First 7 TeV LHC Collisions Webcast

Very early tomorrow morning, physicists and engineers will for the first time attempt to collide protons at 7 TeV at CERN's Large Hadron Collider. CERN will stream a live webcast of the events beginning at 11:30 p.m. PDT this evening and ending at 9:15 a.m. tomorrow morning, with the first collision attempt taking place between midnight and 2:00 a.m.

SLAC's ATLAS team invites everyone at the laboratory to view a replay of the collision attempt in Kavli Auditorium between 6:50 and 8:50 a.m. tomorrow morning, followed by recorded highlights of the day from 9:00 to 9:15 a.m. A live feed from the ATLAS control room will also be on display. All are invited to attend.

Director's Workgroup Meetings Begin Today

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

Work group meetings with the lab Director Persis Drell take place this week. These sessions will provide you the opportunity to speak face-to-face with the director about anything on your mind. Meetings will take place in Kavli Auditorium, and are organized by last name across all directorates. For the schedule of times, see the full announcement.

Colloquium Today: Nanophotonics—Light, Heat and Solar Cells

(Image - SLAC Colloquium banner)

The use of nanophotonic structures, including photonic crystals, meta-materials and plasmonic nanostructures, is rapidly advancing mankind's capabilities to control electromagnetic fields which account for some of the most fundamental aspects of the physical world. The development of nanophotonics, therefore, has profound implications for many technological applications. In this talk, Stanford University researcher Shanhui Fan will discuss a few examples from his work related to the manipulation of light and heat.

Fan is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford. His research interests include computational and theoretical studies of solid state and photonic structures and devices. He has received a National Science Foundation Career Award, a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiative in Research, and the Adolph Lomb Medal from the Optical Society of America; and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America and SPIE.

The colloquium will begin at 4:15 p.m. today in Panofsky Auditorium. It is free and open to all.


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