Bob Nagler in Pursuit of Extreme Conditions
Bob Nagler next to the yet-to-be-installed MEC vacuum chamber, which is destined to hold transparent aluminum. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)
There's something about the far ends of the physical universe that call to researchers: The cold of absolute zero versus the inferno inside a star. Pressures so low that quantum effects begin to boil out of the vacuum, versus pressures so high they can squeeze as much mass as the sun contains into a neutron star about 12 miles in diameter. The millimeter-long wavelengths of the cosmic microwave background versus the picometer-long wavelengths–less than the width of an atom—of the gamma rays given off during the deaths of giant stars.
The ends of the physical spectrum are tantalizing targets, but our light, cold, little world with its wispy atmosphere has offered easy access only to the low end of the scale.
That's starting to change, and Bob Nagler, SLAC's newest instrument scientist at the Linac Coherent Light Source, is at the forefront of the push into the high ends of extreme. Nagler plans to use MEC, the
Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument, to subject samples to intense pressure and heat from a high-powered laser, then follow up with the ultra-fast X-ray pulses of the LCLS to probe the materials and determine how they respond. Or hit the samples with the X-rays first and then probe them with the laser.
President Obama in Town
This afternoon, President Barack Obama will hold a
town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto to
discuss U.S. fiscal challenges, starting at 1:45 p.m. Please be ready for possible traffic
congestion in the area. Plan accordingly if you need to do any driving off site in the afternoon.
Scientific Computing Seminars to Share Knowledge, Experience
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 26 at 4 p.m., when the inaugural lecture of the SLAC Scientific Computing Seminar Series will take place in Kavli Auditorium. The series will showcase scientific computing techniques from across the lab and beyond, with lectures by SLAC researchers who pull the science from the vast amounts of data produced by the Linac Coherent Light Source, image the universe in three dimensions and more. The series will also present scientists from other institutions who will share new methods for using computing to advance science.
Next Tuesday, please join SLAC colleagues and fellow scientific computing enthusiasts to hear Garth Williams from LCLS present "Challenges from LCLS: New Methods in Coherent Imaging and Nano Crystallography." Williams will discuss how the raw data taken by the Coherent X-ray Imaging instrument—which can already exceed 700 megabytes per second and total more than 100 terabytes for some experiments—is converted into molecular and atomic structures.
The lectures are currently scheduled for one Tuesday a month in Kavli Auditorium, with the next to take place on May 17.
We look forward to seeing you there!
WIS Seminar Next Week: Discover the Olympian in You
Next Wednesday noon, the Women's Interchange at SLAC presents two-time
Olympian and peak performance expert
with "Discover the Olympian in You."
Join this thought provoking conversation on how to thrive, not just survive, in times of crisis, challenge and change.
The talk will take place from 12–1 p.m. next Wednesday, April 27, in Panofsky Auditorium.
Everyone is welcome; bring your lunch and a friend.