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In this issue:
From the Director: "Work Group" Meetings Again
Word of the Week: Asymmetry

SLAC Today

Friday - April 2, 2010

From the Director:
"Work Group" Meetings Again

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

I've greatly enjoyed meeting with all of you in "work group" meetings this week. I'm using quotes around "work group" because we are trying an experiment this time. Instead of organizing the meetings by work groups, we organized by last names so that each meeting would have representation from groups across the lab. This has led to some interesting discussions and a different flavor from previous meetings as staff from different parts of the lab hear what is on each other's minds.

I've enjoyed talking about Linac Coherent Light Source project completion, commissioning and first science. Together we've talked about improvements in the mission support functions at the lab and areas where these is still frustration. And we've talked about the strategic vision for the lab in the next decade. In every session we've talked about the need for more and better communication down the line organization and back up again as highlighted in the Team 2 report. Some questions have been asked in every session:

Q: When are we going to get more government vehicles on the site? We need them!
A: We are looking into it!

Q: Will there be a raise this year?
A: Yes!

Read more...


In 2007, information providers in High Energy Physics met at SLAC to discuss the future of information resources in the field. At that meeting, a new project called INSPIRE was conceived to replace SPIRES, the HEP literature service heavily used by the global HEP community. A more modern system, INSPIRE aimed to combine the successful service of SPIRESrun by DESY, Fermilab and SLACwith the modern open-source technology of Invenio, developed at CERN. INSPIRE was developed by a partnership of CERN, DESY, Fermilab and SLAC, and this week announces the release of its beta site. The site already contains all of the data from SPIRES and is updated daily, just like SPIRES, but is faster and has some new features. The INSPIRE team invites researchers to try out the new Web site.

There are still many things left to do to make the transition from SPIRES seamless. Users of advanced search syntax in SPIRES may notice a few differences, and some things will look a little different at first. There are also many features soon to be added, such as display of figures and plots, user preferences and alerts on searches, enhanced methods for distinguishing between authors with similar names, and many more.

The INSPIRE team seeks your feedback at this stage to help them understand what you, the users, find valuable and important. Please send comments and suggestions to and the designers will work to make INSPIRE better for you.

More information about INSPIRE can be found on the Project HEP INSPIRE Web site, in the June 2, 2008, edition of SLAC Today and in the March 31, 2010, edition of the CERN Courier.

(Image - balance)
(Image: Sandbox Studios.)

Word of the Week: Asymmetry

We live in an inexplicably asymmetrical universe. That's because in the expected balance of matter and anti-matter, yin and yang, our universe has shown an enormous preference for matter. Scientists think that the Big Bang should have created equal amounts of matter and anti-matter, but evidence of residual anti-matter is scarce. There is no general consensus as to why this asymmetry exists, but scientists do know from lab experiments that part of the reason is that matter and anti-matter decay at different rates.

The BaBar collaboration, which includes researchers from SLAC and many other institutions around the world, has made major strides in understanding the asymmetry between matter and anti-matter. This experiment, which contributed to the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics, examines the decay rate of B mesons and their anti-particles.


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