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In this issue:
From the Director: A Good Week
Word of the Week: Strong Force

SLAC Today

Friday - April 29, 2011

From the Director:
A Good Week

(Photo - Persis Drell)
(Photo by Harvey Lynch.)

Throughout last week and into this week, the program offices within the Department of Energy have been giving us our budget allocations for this fiscal year. We in SLAC management don't have all the details yet but I can relieve a lot of the anxiety that I know you all have been feeling since we first started talking about the budget in February.

We will not have to have lab-wide layoffs or furloughs at SLAC this year. This is really very good news and I thank all of the people who have worked so hard to restore the cuts to the science budgets this spring! I can assure you that there were no guarantees of a happy ending in this year's budget process and I was personally quite concerned at times where this would all end up. I do have to let you know that we do not have as much funding for FY11 as we anticipated at the start of the fiscal year, and there are cuts to some programs. In order to support our evolving mission, we also need to shift some internal priorities and that will require us to shift our emphases in some areas of mission support. 

But even in the flat budget for Office of Science overall, the Linac Coherent Light Source got a significant budget increase to support operations and start to get us ready for LCLS II. The budget will continue to be tight this year and I think this will likely continue through next year, but it could have been much worse.

I appreciate that all of you have stayed focused on your work and continue to perform so spectacularly despite the uncertainties of the budget over the past month. A group that has been very focused lately is the LCLS II team and yesterday they closed out a rather spectacular CD-1 review. This positions us for significant progress and project growth next year. In addition, now that the budget is resolved, we are moving forward with RSB construction and so we should see "boots on the ground and shovels in the dirt" this summer as construction of the new building takes off.

It was a good week and it looks like it will be a busy summer and fall!

Quarks are held together by gluons, subatomic particles that carry the strong force. (Image: The Particle Data Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.)

Word of the Week:
Strong Force

The strong force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature that govern the interactions of matter and energy, is responsible for bringing together subatomic particles called quarks into protons and neutrons. The strong force also holds the protons and neutrons in place in atomic nuclei.

As its name implies, the strong force is the strongest of the four fundamental forces, which also include electromagnetism, the weak force and gravity, yet it's one of the least understood. While electromagnetism is at work each time we flip a switch, gravity keeps our feet on the ground, and the weak force shows itself in radioactive decay; the strong force works over such a short length scales that to study it, scientists must smash together subatomic particles at very high energies even to get a look. At SLAC, particle physicists use data from the BaBar experiment to pursue answers to questions about the strong force through the study of bottom quarks.




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