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In this issue:
From the Director of Particle Physics & Astrophysics: Cosmology Frontier Beckons
PEP City Move to Begin Tomorrow
Word of the Week: Pnictide
Seen around SLAC: Hawk of Science

SLAC Today

Friday - August 27, 2010

From the Director of Particle Physics & Astrophysics: Cosmology Frontier Beckons

(Photo - David MacFarlane)

Over the last decade or more, it has become clear that particle physics and astrophysics are confronted by a set of mysteries whose resolution will likely revolutionize our view of both the subatomic world and the large-scale universe around us. Most of the matter in the universe is in the form of dark matter, a type very different from the ordinary matter we see around us and not yet seen by experiments on Earth. We also know from precise measurements of the expansion rate of the universe that, rather than slowing down due to gravitational attraction, it is actually speeding up. Some form of dark energy, representing about 75 percent of the energy density of the universe, is apparently responsible for this unexpected observation, but we know nothing more about it. Resolving these mysteries will change our understanding of particle physics and cosmology in profound ways.

Over the last 18 months, great strides have been made in formulating an optimal strategy for addressing these pressing questions. Read more...

PEP City Move to Begin Tomorrow

Cherrill Spencer sorts papers in preparation for the PEP City move. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)

SLAC moves one step closer to more upgraded office space this weekend with the latest in the planned series of moves. Soon-to-be-former occupants of several PEP City trailers are moving to temporary digs in Building 280, along with a few people from Building 41, 44 and 24. The remainder of the PEP City occupants will move to Building 280 on Saturday, September 11. These moves pave the way for the PEP City trailers to be demolished and the Research Support Building to rise in their place.

The move actually began on August 7, when the occupants of 280 were reshuffled to place working groups closer together and to make room for the people from PEP City, said May Pon of the Facilities Support Group. Pon is in charge of organizing the moves, and will be present tomorrow, along with her move team, to oversee the process.

Pon realizes the moves can be disruptive, but she's been able to work with the PEP City denizens to make the transition as smooth as possible. Indeed, she reports that the people she's been helping have the move's bright side firmly in their sights. For one thing, "they're looking forward to being with their coworkers, so they don't have to go from building to building for meetings," Pon said.

The staged move—some SLACers tomorrow, some in September— is giving Cherrill Spencer, a magnet engineer with the Accelerator Research Division, a little more time to sort through over 20 years' worth of records concerning decades-old magnets which are still in use. "I'm going to take some of the records to Jean [Deken, SLAC Archivist] to see what she wants." Another option is to check with the Records Management Office.

Mechanical designer Gene Anzalone viewed tomorrow's move with equanimity. "As long as the heating and the air conditioning work, I'm good."

For more information, including a regularly updated schedule, visit the Research Support Building and Infrastructure Modernization Project web site.

Word of the Week: Pnictide

(Graphic)

A pnictide (pronounced "nick-tide") is a compound that consists of a pnictogen—any of the elements in the same column as nitrogen in the periodic table—and an electropositive element, which seeks to give away an electron in order to form a chemical bond. The word stems from the Greek pnigein, to stifle, but its first two letters also serve as a mnemonic for the two most common members of the pnictide family: phosphorus and nitrogen.

Researchers at the Stanford Institute of Materials and Energy Science study a particular type of these materials called iron pnictides, which could pave the way toward higher-temperature superconductors.

Seen around SLAC: Hawk of Science

(Photo by Greg Stewart.)

Earlier this week, Visual Media Services Manager Terry Anderson and Designer Greg Stewart happened upon a red-tailed hawk sitting in the walk-through between buildings 50 and 214, likely taking a break from the heat. Luckily enough, Stewart managed to snap a few photos of the scene.

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