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In this issue:
Carbon's Magnetic Personality: Persistent, but Only Skin-deep
Giving Tree Drive Sends a Sleighful of Gifts to Kids in Need
Computer Security Cautions for the Holiday Season
Seen around SLAC: Santa

SLAC Today

Thursday - December 16, 2010

Carbon's Magnetic Personality:
Persistent, but Only Skin-deep

Researchers have shown that graphite, the carbon-rich material used as pencil lead, can act as a permanent magenet—at the material's surface. (Image courtesy Hendrik Ohldag.)

It's a mainstay in biological molecules, but carbon isn't the kind of element you'd expect to find in a permanent magnet. Until now. Not only does carbon become magnetized with a little doctoring, as discovered in 2007, but new findings show this behavior comes naturally—no special treatment required—at the surface of a carbon-based material called graphite.

Researchers used both the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource at SLAC and the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to discover not only carbon's innate magnetization, but also that only the surface becomes magnetized, a discovery that may bode well for future applications in electronics and computing. SSRL Staff Scientist Hendrik Ohldag and colleagues from the University of Leipzig and LBNL detailed their research in last week's New Journal of Physics. Their goal was to determine how carbon can be permanently magnetized—a property until recently thought to be confined to iron, nickel, cobalt and a handful of rare alloys. After confirming that their samples contained negligible amounts of magnetic impurities, the researchers got to work.  Read more...

(Photo - Family Giving Tree gifts)
(Photo courtesy Ramona Miahnahri.)

Giving Tree Drive Sends a Sleighful of Gifts to Kids in Need

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Family Giving Tree drive this year, SLAC volunteers delivered 193 gifts to the Family Giving Tree warehouse yesterday.

(Photo - Family Giving Tree gifts)
(Photo courtesy Ramona Miahnahri.)

The volunteers at the warehouse were amazed at how many gifts were packed into the van. It was a great success for such a good cause.

The Family Giving Tree organization works with more than 250 Bay Area social service agencies that gather the holiday wishes of children they serve year-round. A wish card is printed for each child, and distributed by volunteers. Nearly 200 SLACers followed a card to give a child his or her wish for the holidays this year.

Cautions for the Holiday Season

The holiday season brings with it a uptick in e-mail phishing scams and malware campaigns. Watch out for:

  • electronic greeting cards that may be laced with malware
  • bogus requests for charitable contributions from illegitimate sources claiming to be charities
  • rigged screensavers and holiday videos that may contain malware
  • phony credit card applications
  • fake online shopping advertisements


 (Photo by Lauren Rugani.)

Seen around SLAC: Santa

Palo Alto firefighters stationed at SLAC are getting into the holiday spirit. Passersby can catch a glimpse of the jolly icon set up on the Loop Road side of the firehouse just outside the garage door. Every few seconds the robotic Santa descends into his chimney and reemerges to spread more holiday cheer.


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