SLAC Today is available online at:
http://today.slac.stanford.edu

In this issue:
From the Director: Developing our Energy Strategy
BigBOSS Finds a Home
Reminder: Energy Task Force Town Hall Meeting Today
Word of the Week: Majorana Fermion

SLAC Today

Friday - February 4, 2011

From the Director:
Developing our Energy Strategy

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Linda Cicero.)

SLAC's scientific mission has three major elements:

  • Grow into the premier photon science laboratory, which includes both
    • Building and operating world-leading facilities and
    • Performing world-leading science at these facilities
  • Maintain our position as the premier electron accelerator laboratory, and
  • Build targeted programs in particle physics, particle astrophysics and cosmology.

I have identified our photon science research portfolio as a target for significant growth (~$100M) in this decade as a necessary component of becoming the premier photon science laboratory. 

Read more...

BigBOSS Finds a Home

(Photo)
 (Image by Pete Marenfeld, NOAO/AURA/NSF.)

A proposed survey instrument that would create the largest-ever spectroscopic map of the universe has received conditional approval from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory for 500 nights of viewing time on the Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. 

Read more...

Reminder: Energy Task Force Town Hall Meeting Today

The SLAC Energy Task Force town hall meeting takes place today 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.

(Image - particle annihilation)
(Image: Sandbox Studio.)

Word of the Week: Majorana Fermion

Majorana fermions, named for Italian theoretical physicist Ettore Majorana, are not like the familiar fermions of the Standard Model, thought of as the building blocks of matter. For example, while the antimatter particles of the Standard Model differ from their fermionic partners in some basic way—as the electron has a negative charge while the positron has a positive charge—Majorana fermions are their own antiparticles. Another difference: Majorana fermions exist only to theorists.

Or not. Some theorists believe neutrinos might be Majorana fermions. Experiments like the Enriched Xenon Observatory are designed to settle the bet.

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