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In this issue:
October 2010 Issue of Symmetry Available Online
Colloquium Today: Converting Sunlight into Fuels—the Role of Interface Catalysis

SLAC Today

Monday - November 8, 2010

October 2010 Issue of Symmetry Available Online

From left: CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer, theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, and architect and designer Charles Jencks, creator of the Garden of Cosmic Speculation.

CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer and theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, for whom is named the elusive boson that scientists at Heuer's laboratory seek, grace the cover of the latest issue of Symmetry magazine, now available online. The photo was taken during their recent trip to the Garden of Cosmic Speculation, an architect and designer's leafy representation of scientific progress. If you can't wait for the magazine to hit the mailboxes, here's a sampling of what you'll find inside:

  • A new type of particle collider called a muon collider—considered a wild idea a decade ago—is winning over skeptics as scientists find solutions to the machine's many technical challenges.
  • Scientists with the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment hope to study the oddball neutrinos that emerge from exploding stars. But will they catch a supernova during the experiment's 50-year lifespan?
  • Fermilab joins up with local residents to think about the best ways for the laboratory to serve not only science, but also the surrounding area.
  • Particle accelerators create a better bandage; sumos, slippers and science; a historical look at the first Tevatron collisions; and the Big Bang in 60 seconds.

A PDF of the issue is available for download here.

Colloquium Today: Converting Sunlight into Fuels—the Role of Interface Catalysis

(Image - SLAC Colloquium banner)

Today at 4:15 p.m. in Panofsky Auditorium, Jens Nørskov, director of the new Center for Sustainable Energy through Catalysis at SLAC, will present "Converting Sunlight into Fuels—the Role of Interface Catalysis."

Essentially all sustainable energy systems rely on the energy influx from the sun. In order to store solar energy conveniently, scientists can transform it into a chemical form, a fuel. The key to provide an efficient transformation of energy to a chemical form is the availability of suitable catalysts, and researchers will need to find new catalysts for a number of processes if we are to successfully synthesize fuels from sunlight.

Insight into how catalysts work at the molecular level may prove essential to speeding up the discovery process. In today's colloquium,  Nørskov will discuss some of the challenges to catalyst discovery, the associated challenges to science as well as some approaches to molecular level catalyst design. Specific examples will include the (photo-)electrochemical oxygen evolution and hydrogen evolution reactions, carbon dioxide reduction, and biomass transformation reactions.

The event is free and open to all.

Monday, November 22, Stanford University Professor of Geophysics Mark Zoback will present "Deepwater Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Deepwater Horizon Accident."

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