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http://today.slac.stanford.edu

In this issue:
Giant Virus, Tiny Protein Crystals Show X-ray Laser's Power and Potential
BaBar Collaboration Furthers Data Analysis, Anticipates SuperB
Special Colloquium Tomorrow: Prospects for Solar and Wind Power
Reminder: Energy Task Force Town Hall Tomorrow

SLAC Today

Thursday - February 3, 2011

Giant Virus, Tiny Protein Crystals Show X-ray Laser's Power and Potential

X-ray diffraction pattern of a single Mimivirus particle imaged at the LCLS. (Image courtesy Janos Hajdu, Uppsala University.)

Two studies published today in Nature demonstrate how the unique capabilities of the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser—the Linac Coherent Light Source, located at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory—could revolutionize the study of life.

In one study, an international research team used the LCLS to demonstrate a shortcut for determining the 3-D structures of proteins. The laser’s brilliant pulses of X-ray light pulled structural data from tiny protein nanocrystals, avoiding the need to use large protein crystals that can be difficult or impossible to prepare. This could lop years off the structural analysis of some proteins and allow scientists to decipher tens of thousands of others that are out of reach today, including many involved in infectious disease.

In a separate paper, the same team reported making the first single-shot images of intact viruses, paving the way for snapshots and movies of molecules, viruses and live microbes in action. 

Read more...

BaBar Collaboration Furthers Data Analysis, Anticipates SuperB

(Photo)
BaBar collaboration members attend a session in the Kavli auditorium. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)

Over the past ten days, BaBar collaborators from around the world gathered at SLAC for two events. A BaBar collaboration meeting occupied more than 100 scientists from January 24–27, and was followed by a BaBar analysis school, where 20 students learned the ins and outs of manipulating BaBar's massive data set.

News from Italy infused last week's BaBar collaboration meeting with an air of excitement, according to Mike Roney, BaBar Collaboration spokesperson. The decision by the Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research to fund the SuperB Factory, which Roney termed "BaBar with 100 times higher luminosity," energized the group.  Read more...

(Image - colloquium flyer)

Special Colloquium Tomorrow: Prospects for Solar and Wind Power

At lunchtime tomorrow, 1998 chemistry Nobel laureate Walter Kohn will present "Prospects for a World Powered Predominantly by Solar and Wind Energy." The talk will take place from 12:10 to 1 p.m. on Stanford campus, in the Geo corner of the Stanford Quad, Building 320, Room 105.

Organized jointly by SLAC and Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project and Precourt Institute for Energy, the event is free and open to all.

For further information, see the event flyer.

Reminder:
Energy Task Force Town Hall Tomorrow

The SLAC Energy Task Force town hall meeting will take place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon in Kavli Auditorium. The task force has been asked to develop a plan for expansion of SLAC's research program by establishing new strategic directions in energy-related research. At the town hall meeting, its members will report preliminary findings and seek input from the broader SLAC/Stanford research community. All SLAC community members interested in energy research at SLAC are encouraged to attend.

Feedback is also sought through an online survey. To submit ideas for the task force online, please respond using the Energy Task online feedback form.

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