SLAC Today is available online at:
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In this issue:
From the Chief Operating Officer: Board of Overseers Input
New Manager Training a Success
Seen Around SLAC: John Grunsfeld
Word of the Week: Birefringence

SLAC Today

Friday - December 10, 2010

From the Chief Operating Officer: Board of Overseers Input

(Photo - Sandy Merola)
(Photo by Linda Cicero.)

I thought you might be interested to receive a short briefing regarding the SLAC Board of Overseers' feedback to the Operations Directorate, from the November meetings. As you probably know, the SLAC Board of Overseers is appointed by the president of Stanford University to provide scientific and technical guidance, oversight, direction and advice in all aspects of SLAC planning and operations. Three of the Board's committees address the SLAC Operations Directorate; these include the committees of Finance and Audit, Operations, and Human Resources. In a nutshell, their feedback this November suggests that we are moving in the right directions, with some cautions.

The Board was pleased with what they characterized as a compelling and comprehensive scientific and mission support plan for the future of SLAC. The cautioned us to be more conscious of risks, both to the level of program funding and to our own internal vulnerability.  Read more...

New Manager Training a Success

In response to recent changes in the Stanford Administrative Guide, training in revised policies was delivered to more than 200 SLAC managers and professionals across the lab this fall. Feedback from PAUSE identified training for supervisors and managers as an area of need. The Human Resources team, led by Employee Relations & Organizational Development Specialist Christine Green, responded by clarifying how managers should implement changes in the recruiting, senior staff, trial period and disciplinary policies to ensure consistent and equitable application.

Attendees said they felt the example scenarios developed for the training were particularly interesting and relevant to their jobs!

New managers to SLAC will receive key policy training in a New Manager Orientation program that is being piloted this week.

Seen Around SLAC: John Grunsfeld

John Arthur, head of the LCLS X-ray Facilities Operations Division, explained the LCLS to John Grunsfeld yesterday. (Photo by Kelen Tuttle.)

Yesterday afternoon, astronaut John Grunsfeld toured SLAC, visiting the linac, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and Linac Coherent Light Source. Grunsfeld, who presented a special colloquium discussing his adventures in orbit and early results from NASA's recently upgraded Hubble Space Telescope, serves as Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, the science operations center for Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope.

"It's really a pleasure to be here," Grunsfeld said as he began his lecture. "I got to see some amazing things. People seem encoded at birth to be excited by two things: space and dinosaurs. We need to make sure we continue to encourage that."

Word of the Week: Birefringence

(Photo)Birefringence, or double refraction, is an optical property of materials, such as certain crystals, that splits a ray of light into two, which can create the appearance of a double image when light passes through. It's a property with a host of applications, from liquid crystal displays to medicine. It is also the mechanism responsible for the iridescent coloring of certain insects, such as in the wings of various butterflies. The birefringent crystal pictured above was designed for physics laser research.

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