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In this issue:
High Magnetic Fields Coax New Discoveries from Topological Insulators
Heath Takes Top Spot in SLAC Run
Reminder: Dark Energy and the Preposterous Universe December 1
Save a Container; Use a Plate

SLAC Today

Tuesday - November 23, 2010

High Magnetic Fields Coax New Discoveries from Topological Insulators

The 100 Tesla multi-shot pulsed magnet at Los Alamos National Laboratory. James Analytis used a slightly less powerful magnet for the research covered in this article. (Photo courtesy National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.)

Using one of the most powerful magnets in the world, a small group of researchers has successfully isolated signs of electrical current flowing along the surface of a topological insulator, an exotic material with promising electrical properties. The research, led by James Analytis and Ian Fisher of the Stanford Institute of Materials and Energy Sciences, a joint SLAC-Stanford institute, was published Sunday in Nature Physics. The results provide a new window into how current flows in these exotic materials, which conduct along the exterior, while acting as insulators at the interior. At least in theory.

"This is a difficulty people in the field have been struggling with for two years," Fisher said. "The topological part is there but the insulator part isn't there yet." Chemical imperfections in the materials being tested have meant that the interior, or bulk, portions of topological insulators have been behaving more like metals than insulators.  Read more...

Heath Takes Top Spot in SLAC Run

 (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

The 39th Annual SLAC Run and Walk was a resounding success, with 78 runners, 38 registered walkers and 24 volunteers participating. Garrett Heath took the overall title with a time of just over 19 minutes for the 3.8-mile course. Results and photos have been posted online. 

The race committee would like to send out a special thanks to our prize donors, WildBerry Yogurt, Safeway and Eric's Deli in the Sharon Heights Shopping Center as well as our own Linear Café.

There was high demand for the T-shirts and they sold out. The committee may be able to order more shirts if there is sufficient interest. They will be sold at cost, which may be a bit more than $15 (price decreases with the number ordered). To order, please use the online T-shirt order form. Orders must be placed no later than 10 a.m. Monday, November 29. If there is enough interest, the order will go through. 

Next year will be the 40th event and we hope to do something special. Send your suggestions to Ruth McDunn.

Reminder: Dark Energy and the Preposterous Universe December 1

Don't forget to mark your calendar: on December 1, California Institute of Technology theoretical physicist and cosmologist Sean Carroll will present a public lecture, "Dark Energy and the Preposterous Universe," sponsored by the France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and others as part of the workshop "Experimental and Theoretical Challenges to Probing Dark Energy." The event will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Stanford's Cubberley Auditorium.

Sean Carroll is a senior research associate in Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University, and has previously worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT and at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as on the faculty at the University of Chicago. His research ranges over a number of topics in theoretical physics, focusing on cosmology, field theory, particle physics and gravitation. Carroll is the author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, a popular-level book on cosmology and the arrow of time. He has also written a graduate textbook, Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity. Carroll has been awarded fellowships from the Sloan and Packard foundations, as well as the MIT Graduate Student Council Teaching Award and the Villanova University Arts and Sciences Alumni Medallion. Carroll is a contributor to the blog Cosmic Variance.

For additional details, please see the event Web page.

 (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

Save a Container;
Use a Plate

In a continued effort to make SLAC a more sustainable lab, Epicurean Group Manager Robin Martinez suggests that diners opt for reusable dishware instead of carry-out containers if they stay at the Linear Café to enjoy their meals. While the to-go boxes and utensils are compostable, using the ceramic dishware helps to reduce the amount of waste produced by the lab and is less expensive.

In addition to receiving a discount on coffee by bringing a reusable mug, employees who choose reusable dishware will avoid a $0.25 carry-out container fee, beginning on December 6.


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