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From the Director: Pause
SLAC Hosts Vacuum Ultraviolet and X-ray Physics Satellite Meeting
SSI Filling Fast

SLAC Today

Friday - July 23, 2010

(Photo - Persis Drell)
 (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

From the Director: Pause

When things are going badly, it is often easy to see how they could be better. When things are going well, one can get complacent. At SLAC right now, a lot is going well. We are producing spectacular science. Our projects are all on track. We have seen tremendous improvements in safety at the lab. We are continuing to work to improve performance in all of our mission support functions. So, I want us to take a few minutes as a laboratory and both recognize the improvements, but also reflect on some concrete steps we should be taking so that we keep improving.

Recent observations of our laboratory have suggested that we might be doing too much in parallel rather than fewer things with higher quality, we are not communicating adequately throughout SLAC , and we need to focus on continuously improving without being motivated by a major event. I can't help but agree with all three observations.

I have asked the entire laboratory to take a few hours the week of August 9 to "pause" and reflect on where and how we could do better. The meetings will be organized in each directorate to optimize the value of this exercise to each program and organization. The output will, I hope, comprise a few high impact things that each work group can do, and then, from each directorate, a few high impact suggestions we could implement at the laboratory level.

Our ultimate goal as a laboratory is to create an institutional culture that will allow us to focus on what is important, to have a disciplined approach to execution, much improved communication throughout the lab, and a culture of continuous improvement. We will get there!

We will conclude the Pause meetings with a lab-wide ice cream social on the breezeway the afternoon of August 13.

SLAC Hosts Vacuum Ultraviolet and X-ray Physics Satellite Meeting

(Image - VUV2010 tour in the Klystron Gallery)
John Bozek leads a group of visiting scientists on a tour of the LCLS. (Photo by Lori White.)

This week, SLAC hosted an international group of ultraviolet and X-ray scientists, including several Linac Coherent Light Source users and potential users, at the Ultrafast Vacuum Ultraviolet and X-ray Physics Workshop, July 19-21. Billed as a satellite meeting of the 37th International Conference on Vacuum Ultraviolet and X-ray Physics in Vancouver July 11-16, the workshop brought together almost 60 researchers from at least seven countries to learn more about research using ultrafast pulses at short wavelengths in general, and using the LCLS in particular.

The meeting included opportunities to discuss scientific applications of VUV and X-ray sources. In addition, representatives of other free-electron laser projects provided updates on project status. SLAC staff presented a quick tutorial on the LCLS, giving attendees a glimpse of the facility’s many capabilities.

As a highlight, the meeting provided a tour of the LCLS on Wednesday afternoon. Attendees viewed the Klystron Gallery, the Beam Transport Hall, the Undulator Hall, control rooms and soft and hard X-ray hutches in the Near Experimental Hall.

"I'm very pleased with the excitement and energy of the attendees during both the sessions and the tour," said SLAC host John Bozek of the LCLS Science, Research and Development Division. "They seemed to have a lot of fun."

(Image - SSI 2009 banner)

SSI Filling Fast

It's not too late to get in the game! The SLAC Summer Institute 2010, Neutrinos: Nature's Mysterious Messengers is just over a week away, but SLACers interested in attending can still snag a spot at early registration cost. The event is limited to 150 participants, so register ASAP! See the event Web site for details.

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