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In this issue:
From the Director of LCLS: Working on Becoming Even Better
Registration Opens for NUFO Annual Meeting at SLAC
Word of the Week: Cherenkov Radiation

SLAC Today

Friday - May 6, 2011

From the Director of LCLS: Working on Becoming Even Better

(Photo - Joachim Stöhr)

Over the first year and a half of LCLS operation we have moved full speed ahead, and earlier this year I was somewhat worried whether the FY11 budget would allow us to continue this strategy. A few weeks ago I breathed a sigh of relief when LCLS finally received its budget. We are grateful to the Office of Basic Energy Sciences for providing us with a 2011 budget that allows us to continue our aggressive schedule in commissioning instruments, operating them for users with adequate scientific and support staff, and improving our ability to characterize and improve the quality of the LCLS pulses.

It is a very exciting time that’s only going to get more exciting. We now have four experimental stations in user operation and are looking forward to the commissioning of the fifth instrument, X-Ray Correlation Spectroscopy (XCS), in the upcoming operating run which begins on June 9, and the commissioning of the Matter in Extreme Conditions (MEC) instrument in spring 2012.  Read more...


Registration Opens for NUFO Annual Meeting at SLAC

Please join us for the 2011 National User Facility Organization (NUFO) Annual Meeting, to be held at SLAC on June 27-29. This year’s meeting is hosted by the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, the Linac Coherent Light Source, and SLAC Particle Physics and Astrophysics. Facility scientists, users, user administrators and others interested in user facilities are encouraged to participate in this meeting.

The theme of this year’s meeting is "NUFO Encourages Access and Awareness." Throughout the meeting, invited speakers and participants will be asked to consider issues related to facility access and awareness, which will be discussed in depth during breakout sessions. The meeting will include several sessions that focus on resources to help promote science, educating future scientists, encouraging diversity, how interaction with user facilities helps universities and small business, technology transfer, working with industry, and how NUFO can help to facilitate these discussions. An additional breakout session will offer practical tips for communicating science to the general public.

All are welcome to attend the full program or to pick and choose the sessions that are most applicable to them. Please register in advance on the NUFO Annual Meeting website. There is no registration fee, but participants interested in the group dinner on Monday, June 27th will need to register and provide advance payment.

We look forward to seeing you in June!

Cherenkov radiation glowing in the core of Idaho National Lab's Advanced Test Reactor. (Image courtesy Argonne National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory.)

Word of the Week:
Cherenkov Radiation

Cherenkov radiation, the blue light surrounding submerged nuclear reactor cores, is electromagnetic radiation given off when a charged particle such as an electron zips through certain materials called dielectrics at faster than the speed of light—the local speed of light, that is.

The speed of light known everywhere as Einstein's inviolate c only refers to light in a vacuum. Light traveling through transparent substances often travels far slower than c—only three-quarters the speed for light through water, for example. When a fast-moving electron blows past the molecules of a dielectric like a Corvette past a speed trap, the electron's electromagnetic field disrupts the electromagnetic field in the dielectric, pulling electrons out of place. As they return to equilibrium the electrons of the dielectric radiate away their agitation in an eerie blue glow.




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