SLAC Today is available online at:
http://today.slac.stanford.edu

In this issue:
From the Director: Photon Science Scores a Hat Trick!
SLAC911 Keeps You Informed
New Security Building, Parking Lot A Closures Coming
Word of the Week: Degenerate Matter

SLAC Today

Friday - October 1, 2010

From the Director:
Photon Science Scores a Hat Trick!

(Photo - Kam Moler, Jo Stohr and Z.X. Shen)
Kam Moler, Jo Stohr and Z.X. Shen.

I've used the title twice before but good things seem to come in threes so it is very appropriate. Three of Stanford and SLAC's photon scientists were recognized in the past week with national awards. We can all be very proud.

It started late last week with word that SIMES Deputy Director and Applied Physics Professor Kam Moller was recipient of the Richtmyer award from the American Association of Physics Teachers. The award is given to a person who has made outstanding contributions to physics and effectively communicated those contributions to physics educators. It takes a special talent to both be a top-notch researcher and to be able to explain your work to a non-scientific audience. The whole field benefits from individuals with such talents and we are very fortunate to have Kam as part of our community.  Read more...

(Image - signing up your phone number for SLAC911)

SLAC911 Keeps You Informed

The upcoming evacuation exercise is a good reminder of the many ways to prepare for an emergency—such as signing up for SLAC911.

SLAC911 is a rapid-alert system put in place to quickly notify all SLAC faculty, staff and students in the case of an emergency. SLAC911 will leave you voicemail and e-mail messages, and send e-mails and possibly texts—but only if your contact information is available.

To sign up for SLAC911 alerts, go to your record in the SLAC Directory. Click the "Edit" link following "Optional Information (SLAC/Non-SLAC)" below your record, and log in.

You can opt in to the system with up to three phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses. To do so, follow the instructions available from the SLAC911 Registration page.

Site plan for a new security building new the Main Gate. (Image courtesy the SLAC Facilities Division.)

New Security Building, Parking Lot A Closures Coming

The east side of Parking Lot A, the visitor's parking lot near SLAC's Main Gate, will have intermittent closures during construction of a new security building beginning October 8 and finishing in early 2011. Details are provided in the full announcement...

Word of the Week: Degenerate Matter

(Image - star)
(Image: NASA.)

Despite how it sounds, degenerate matter has not succumbed to the temptations of excess drink, gambling, and Ponzi schemes. Such temptations could hardly exist in the cores of white dwarf stars, where electron-degenerate matter can be found. Here the gravitational forces are so intense that heat-related pressure becomes insignificant in comparison to the pressure generated by quantum effects. The particles are squeezed so tightly together that all available energy levels fill with electrons. The only thing keeping the star from collapsing further is degenerate pressure, a force that results from the inability of two electrons to occupy the same quantum state (the Pauli Exclusion Principle). Proton and neutron degenerate matter exhibit analogous characteristics, but none of the three has yet been observed demonstrating moral turpitude.

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