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In this issue:
Stanford Team Takes National Quiz Bowl
Come Celebrate Earth Day Today
Around SLAC: Cosmic Ray Muon Detector

SLAC Today

Thursday - April 22, 2010

Stanford Team Takes National Quiz Bowl

The Stanford team that competed in last weekend's national quiz bowl championship, from left to right: Kristiaan De Greve, Brian Linquist and Arnav Moudgil. Not pictured: Andrew Yaphe. (Image: Julie Karceski.)

SLAC's own Brian Lindquist, a fifth-year physics graduate student working on BaBar, and his team mates from Stanford won a national quiz bowl championship last weekend. Stanford's quiz bowl team, made up of both graduate and undergraduate students, sent a team of four to the tournament at the University of Maryland.

The first day was a blizzard of preliminary rounds, and Stanford lost only one match, to the University of Minnesota.

"It was a really grueling day," Lindquist said of Saturday, when the team played thirteen matches between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. During matches, a moderator reads prepared questions to the two teams, who can discuss the answer amongst themselves before buzzing in.

Stanford had no losses during the Sunday semi-finals. Minnesota suffered a loss during the semis, and as the only two teams with one loss apiece, Stanford and Minnesota met in the finals for a rematch.  Read more...

(Image - Earth Day poster)

Come Celebrate Earth Day Today

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 as a grassroots effort to put growing environmental concerns onto the national political agenda. The first Earth Day was hugely successful, with an estimated 20 million people participating across the U.S. Eight months later, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was created.

The Department of Energy's theme for this year's Earth Day is "Take Action: Commit to a Low-Carbon, Clean Energy Future."

Please join us to celebrate Earth Day in the Panofsky Auditorium Breezeway between 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. today. Vendors and others will be on-hand to promote green products and provide information on a variety of topics.

The first 200 people to arrive will receive a special giveaway. Also, be sure to come before 1:30 p.m. to place your name in the raffle for a new Diamondback hybrid bicycle. Don't miss out!

See 40 Tips for the 40th Earth Day and Energy Savers for ideas of what you can do to take action and celebrate Earth Day every day.

The cosmic ray detector in the SLAC Visitor's Center. (Photo: Brad Plummer.)

Around SLAC: Cosmic Ray Muon Detector

Ever wonder about this sci-fi sounding mystery machine in the SLAC Visitor's Center? It's a cosmic ray muon detector, compact and created for demonstrations to students and non-physicists. The detector was designed to be inexpensive and easily assembled. Originally built by then-SLACer Donald McShurley, who worked on construction and installation of the BaBar detector, the cosmic ray detector now delights curious onlookers from the visitor's center.

"It was a follow-up to a summer program for teachers," McShurley told SLAC Today last spring. "As part of SLAC's outreach program, I also took it out to a number of high schools in the Bay Area."

Cosmic rays are high-energy particles originating in space. As cosmic rays strike the Earth's atmosphere, they decay into muons and neutrinos. These unseen particles then shower down onto Earth, bombarding the planet—and SLAC—with a constant stream. Muons trigger a flash of light and beeping noise every time they pass through the cosmic ray detector's panels.


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