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In this issue:
Reminder: Earthquake Drill Today
Creating Order from Chaos at the LCLS

SLAC Today

Thursday - October 7, 2010

Reminder: Earthquake Drill Today

(Poster - evacuation drill October 7, 2010)
(Poster by SLAC InfoMedia Solutions.)

Sometime today during work hours, AlertSU/SLAC911 emergency voicemail, e-mail and text messages will go out, warning that the Stanford-wide earthquake drill is approximately 15 minutes away. At the time of the "earthquake," fire alarms will sound in a few high-occupancy buildings. The alerts will instruct recipients to duck, cover and hold (for example, under a desk) for 45 seconds before going outside to their building's emergency assembly point. All staff are expected to participate.

In a real earthquake, indicators of damage or danger may not be as obvious as, for example, the smoke or flames of a fire. Remember to stay alert to the immediate surroundings, and "sweep" for any injured coworkers, building damage and other emergency conditions—without endangering yourself. Report this information at your emergency assembly point.

The information for each building will be forwarded to the SLAC Incident Command Post where emergency responders working with the fire department will respond accordingly.

The exercise is expected to require about 30 minutes for most staff members.

An interview with Stanford Emergency Manager Keith Perry in the Stanford Report provides more detail on the drill; additional SLAC-centric information and updates about and during the drill will be posted to Thanks for your cooperation.

Mike Glownia (left) and James Cryan in a Building 40 PULSE laboratory. (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

Creating Order from Chaos at the LCLS

In the world of physics, where everything tends toward disorder, researchers working on the Linac Coherent Light Source are seeking perfect order. Many experiments at the pioneering machine will require each molecule in a puff of gas to align with all of the others, creating a uniform field of molecules on which tests can be conducted.

According to James (Mike) Glownia, a graduate student at the PULSE Institute for Ultrafast Energy Science, "getting all the molecules to align is seriously difficult when you have a cloud of molecules all doing their own thing."

Yet, using a toolbox of techniques, a team of researchers including Glownia managed to do just that for the first time at the LCLS last October. Into a chaotic cloud of nitrogen molecules, the researchers sent a short burst of polarized infrared laser light, which has an intrinsic extra "directionality" at right angles to the laser's direction of travel. Each molecule felt the kick of this polarization, which caused the molecule to rotate in the direction of the laser's polarization.  Read more...


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