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In this issue:
Getting the Science Out: BaBarians Finish What They Start
Astronaut Lands at SLAC
Seen around SLAC: The BaBar Drift Chamber

SLAC Today

Wednesday - May 12, 2010

Getting the Science Out:
BaBarians Finish What They Start

BaBarians Sudan Paramesvaran (left) and Mike Sigamani. (Photo by Marissa Cevallos.)

A dose of supplemental funding from the Department of Energy is helping to finish crucial studies of BaBar data this year. Graduate students who have already defended their doctoral theses have been invited back to SLAC for a few months to polish their data analyses.

"The science coming out of BaBar is very interesting," said Mike Roney, the BaBar physics analysis coordinator who prepared the science case in the funding request. "These individuals are key to this science coming out."

The DOE funded five BaBar students this year to return to SLAC and finish additional work beyond the requirements to complete their PhDs. In the past, such leftover analyses often would be picked up and completed by incoming graduate students or postdocs, but since BaBar stopped collecting experimental data in 2008, fewer graduate students have been joining the collaboration. Because it is important for current students to wrap up their studies themselves, BaBar made a strong case to the DOE for supplemental funds. Each of the students has spent a few months tightening error calculations from their research, numbers that determine how confidently physicists can know a measurement.

"The DOE is invested heavily in BaBar," Roney said, and this is by comparison a modest but key contribution to get the science out.

The extra funding is beneficial not only to the BaBar collaboration, but also to students who get a chance to publish more research. Sudan Paramesvaran, a newly minted doctorate, is one of the fund recipients. He studies a particular decay of the tau lepton, a fundamental particle.

"It was a great opportunity to finish the work I started and get it published, before starting my postdoc," Paramesvaran said. 

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(Photo - SLAC researcher Daniel Ratner shows Mae Jemison the Klystron Gallery)
SLAC researcher Daniel Ratner (left) points to a map of SLAC at the visitor's alcove in the Klystron Gallery while Mae Jemison and Raj Mandavilli look on. (Photo by Julie Karceski.)

Astronaut Lands at SLAC

Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space, visited SLAC on Monday, May 10, for an afternoon tour. At the Kavli visualization lab, she met with graduate students and saw some of their 3-D animations. Jemison also toured the Klystron Gallery, several of the lab stations in the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and the Near Experimental Hall of the Linac Coherent Light Source. A Stanford graduate in chemical engineering, Jemison was aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in 1992 to conduct life science experiments. Currently, Jemison serves as president of BioSentient Corporation in Houston. Raj Mandavilli, who works in strategy and product development for BioSentient, and Ronke Olabisi, a post-doctoral student at Rice University, also attended the tour.

Seen around SLAC:
The BaBar Drift Chamber

(Photo - BaBar drift chamber removal)
(Photo courtesy Shawn Osier.)

Disassembly of the BaBar detector continued with the recent removal of the drift chamber, a key component of the instrument. The purpose of this chamber, which was immersed in a strong magnetic field, was to measure the trajectories and momenta of charged particles, cluing physicists in to the masses and motions of particles produced in electron–positron collisions. On April 14, the drift chamber was rolled out on two tubes and moved to Building 750 for temporary storage. Unlike some of the BaBar pieces, which might be used in the SuperB experiment in Italy, this chamber is headed for a yet-to-be-determined museum.


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