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December 19, 2008
From the Director: Happy Holidays
As the days grow short and the winter solstice approaches, it is a time to reflect on the year that is ending and look forward to the new year to come.
December 12, 2008
From the Director: The SPC Visits Again
On December 5 and 6, lab management hosted the semi-annual visit of our Scientific Policy Committee. The SPC is now one of four subcommittees of our Board of Overseers, which is chaired by Stanford Vice President for SLAC Bill Madia.
December 5, 2008
From the Director: Accelerator Science at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
This week in a hotel in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the Office of High Energy
Physics conducted a review of OHEP-supported accelerator science at the national
November 21, 2008
From the Director: Communication, Communication, Communication
On Tuesday, I completed another round of meetings with all of the workgroups at the laboratory. I met with most of the staff at the laboratory, in groups ranging in size from about 30 to
more than 100 in a period of 10 days.
November 14, 2008
From the Operations Director: Kudos on Successful SII Launch
About a year ago, a number of critical projects were initiated as part of the SLAC Improvement Initiative, under the very capable leadership of its manager, Elizabeth Caplun. These projects have now been rolled-out into the line organizations responsible for providing new or improved services.
November 7, 2008
From the Director: Stay the Course
At Tuesday's Safety and Security Briefing I took the opportunity to underscore some of the positive strides the lab has made to improve safe work practices. We as a lab have a long way to go, but we are headed in the right direction.
October 31, 2008
From the Director: An Exciting Juncture for High Energy Physics
This week SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has been host to
some of the world's top particle physicists, meeting to celebrate past
landmarks, collaborate in current projects and plan future approaches in
October 24, 2008
From the Director: The Future of Photon Science at SLAC National Accelerator Lab
The future of photon science at SLAC is playing out on two very different timelines. For the postdocs
and graduate students in the audience, the future is the next 3 years. And as
lab director, I also have to be concerned about the future a decade from now.
October 16, 2008
From the Director: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Yesterday, in a ceremony at SLAC, Deputy Director for Science Programs Pat Dehmer of the Office of Science announced our new name: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
The new name recognizes the past history of the laboratory and looks to the lab's future.
October 10, 2008
From the Director: The 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics
This year's Nobel prize is an excellent chance to remember that everyone who works at SLAC contributes to the science mission.
October 1, 2008
From the Director: FY09 Continuing Resolution
In the last week, the U.S. Congress voted to approve a continuing resolution for fiscal year 2009, providing appropriations through March 6, 2009.
September 26, 2008
From the Operations Director: SLAC Subcouncils Team with Operations to Support SLAC Science
Subcouncils are a formal part of the SLAC Executive Council and will provide Operations leadership with user input about current and future activities—serving as a key source of user requirements and performance feedback.
September 19, 2008
From the Director: The SLAC Agenda
Earlier this year, we developed
scientific vision for the laboratory.
Articulating the scientific goals that define where the laboratory is going over
the next decade sets the distant beacon that we will use to steer our ship. We
now must sail the ship to get there.
September 12, 2008
From the Director: One Year
On Wednesday, September 10, 2007, President Hennessy appointed
me acting director of SLAC to serve until a new director was named.
September 5, 2008
From Paul Golan: Accident Reporting
It has been a year since I came to SLAC as the Stanford Site
Office manager and it has been an amazing year for the laboratory. I would like
borrow Persis’s weekly column to provide feedback on what I have seen regarding
safety at SLAC.
August 29, 2008
From the Director: First Light
NASA and the laboratory celebrated this week as the first light images from GLAST were unveiled along with the new name for the observatory: Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
August 22, 2008
From Persis and Paul: ISMS Evaluation Report
The Department of Energy Integrated Safety Management Team
completed their effectiveness review of SLAC
operations last Friday; their final report is now available
August 15, 2008
From the Director: Students of Summer
Forty years ago Al Ashley, Earnest Coleman, and Sid Drell
developed the SLAC Summer Research Program for underrepresented minority
undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
August 8, 2008
From the Director: The Oak Ridge Boys Are Here!
No, this is not a country western singing group. Yes, sometimes translations are required as a strong east Tennessee dialect turns the Far Experimental Hall into the "Fire Experimental Hall." I will leave it to your imaginations how a conversation with experts in safety evolves after that.
July 25, 2008
From the Director: Taking a Break
This is the time of year when many people at the lab take
vacations with their families, and I am no exception! Today and next Friday,
there will not be a "From the Director" column because I will be out of town on
July 18, 2008
From the Director: Celebrating Jonathan
Next Thursday, we will have a wonderful celebration at the laboratory. Many old friends will be coming to honor Jonathan Dorfan, SLAC's third laboratory Director.
July 11, 2008
From the Director: PPA Scores a Hat-Trick!
I am not a sports fan, but I could not come up with another way to describe the achievements of the Directorate of Particle Physics and Astrophysics
(PPA) this past week.
From the Director: FY08 Supplemental Funding
As I have written in earlier columns (May 23, March 21), many constituencies have been advocating consideration of supplemental funding in FY08 that would include increases to science.
From the KIPAC Director: GLAST—Watcher of the Skies
Roughly 6,000 years ago, a 954-year-old neutron star about 10 miles in diameter spinning on its axis 30 times per second used its strong magnetic fields—in a sort of souped up LINAC—to create a gamma-ray photon.
From Persis and Paul—Incident Reporting and Lessons Learned
In a previous column, our Partnering Commitment was shared with the Laboratory and Federal Staff. This Commitment set expectations on how the Department of Energy, SLAC, and Stanford University would work together and meet our stakeholder’s expectations.
From the PPA Director:
The P5 Report: What Does It Mean for SLAC?
Over the past five months, a select committee of high energy physicists dubbed the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) has been hard at work mapping out the future of high energy physics in the United States.
From the Director:
Waiting for Launch
The Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) Observatory is mated to the launch vehicle and is ready to go.
From the Director: Ray Orbach's Visit to SLAC
Ray Orbach visited SLAC this week in what will probably be his last official visit to the Laboratory as Undersecretary for Science in the Department of Energy.
From the Director: Efforts for FY08 Supplemental Funding
In response to the wide-spread damage to science that resulted from the FY08 appropriations bill in December, many constituencies in recent months have been advocating consideration of supplemental funding in FY08 that would include increases to science. As the time now approaches when supplemental funding must be appropriated by the Senate and House to support the war effort in Iraq, we will soon learn if those efforts will be successful.
From the Director: Lehman Lauds LCLS
The Office of Science semi-annually conducts reviews of its large major projects and this week it focused on the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). Dan Lehman, the Director of the Office of Project Assessment in the Office of Science, leads this process and he arrived at SLAC with a large team of world-class scientists, engineers and management consultants to look over all aspects of the LCLS project.
From the Director: Decision Making at SLAC
The foundations of effective management include making decisions in a timely fashion, managing risk, and establishing and balancing priorities. Those are the major requirements of any manager's job. As our organization becomes more complex, it becomes more difficult to make decisions efficiently and effectively—but doing this is essential if we are to keep the organization moving forward.
From the Director: Return of the Scientific Policy Committee
From the laboratory's inception, Stanford University has managed SLAC with the goals of enhancing the science research; supporting the Department of Energy's science mission; and contributing to the education of the students and postdocs of Stanford University and other academic institutions.
From the Director: Planning the Future
As a laboratory, we must constantly look toward our future.
From the Director: The Laboratory Vision, Mission and Core Values
On November 14, I posted a draft version of the laboratory Vision, Mission and Core Values for the SLAC community to read and comment upon. Many in the SLAC community took the time to consider this draft in detail, and I received a substantial number of responses.
From the Director: Turning the Page
At 12:43 p.m. on Monday the B Factory completed the program of delivering physics data to BaBar. In the remaining few hours of the day, the PEP-II team continued to explore the limits of accelerator physics by pushing the low-energy beam current to a new world-record of 3.213 A.
From the Director of the Photon Science Directorate: Photon Science at SLAC–What, Why and Where to?
SLAC's outstanding reputation is built upon seminal scientific discovery, much of it enabled and facilitated by advanced accelerator-based tools for which SLAC has so often pioneered new ground.
From the Director: SII Update
The SLAC Improvement Initiative (SII) is now six months old. Although the budgetary turmoil and the accompanying layoffs slowed our progress as we were distracted by the immediate crisis at hand, SII has continued to move forward and there are concrete improvement projects underway.
From the Director: Visit to Washington, D.C.
On March 13th, I had the honor, along with Steven Chu (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Director), Thom Mason (Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, of meeting with the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, in her Capitol Hill office.
From the Director: SLAC, the Site Office and Stanford University
Many things have changed at this lab in the past six months, but one of the more profound changes has been in the relationship between the laboratory, the Department of Energy Stanford Site Office and Stanford University, which manages the contract to operate the lab for the Department of Energy.
From the Director: Communication
Over the past several months, the ALDs and I have worked to refine the "One Lab" vision. Where we now have hard working staff but perhaps Balkanized efforts, we look to a future with a unified and aligned team and a strong sense of community between all the scientific efforts at the lab.
From the Director: Comments on Charting the Path Forward for Particle Physics
Last week, the High Energy Physics Particle Physics Project
Prioritization Panel (P5) visited SLAC. P5 is charged with identifying and
evaluating the scientific opportunities and options that can be pursued at
different funding levels for the field of Particle Physics, and with providing
advice on a new 10-year plan for U.S. particle physics. In brief remarks to the
panel, I offered some personal views based on my unusual vantage point; I am a
particle physicist quasi particle astrophysicist who is lab director of a multi
From the Director: Looking Forward
The impacts of the FY08 appropriated budget were severe for SLAC. In the face of unexpectedly low appropriations for this fiscal year and an anticipated continuing resolution for the first 4 to 6 months of next fiscal year, we moved as quickly as possible to reduce our spending and resize our workforce to a realistic assessment of the future program scope and opportunities.
From the Operations and ETS Directors:
The Effect of Staff Reductions on SLAC Support Services
Due to the difficult FY08 budget, support services at the lab have been diminished. A list of specific services affected by the staff reduction can now be found online.
From the Director:
This week, the laboratory is focused on the layoffs that are being announced.
From the SSRL Director:
From a Shed to a Directorate of SLAC
Everybody at SLAC knows Pief Panofsky and other high energy physics and accelerator pioneers of the lab, but it is a safe bet that the history and pioneers of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) are less well known. Here I briefly want to tell how SSRL developed from a hole in the wall (of SPEAR) to an important part of SLAC.
From the Director—Challenging Times: Questions and Answers
These are challenging days for the laboratory. It has been two weeks since I announced a major layoff, and it will be early February before individual staff are notified whether or not they will be laid off.
From the Director of LCLS Construction:
Okay, So We Build the LCLS and Turn It On—Then What?
When the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) was first conceived in 1992, an x-ray free-electron laser was considered an expensive and technically high-risk endeavor to create a light source with unprecedented and indeed uncertain potential.
From the PPA Director: BaBar's Shortened Run
As you all know, one of the consequences of the budget cut we face here at SLAC is the early conclusion of the B-factory run. Persis mentioned in her all-hands meeting that BaBar started operating in a different mode just before Christmas to make the most of the shortened run. The PEP-II accelerator team and BaBar physicists have put in a huge effort to adjust their program so rapidly to the changes imposed on us and it is testimony to their resourcefulness that this plan could be implemented so quickly.
The FY08 Budget and Its Impact on SLAC
This laboratory ended 2007 with a commitment to face our future as one lab. There are difficulties ahead. The purpose of this All Hands meeting is to update you on the FY2008 budget for SLAC.
All Hands Meeting
Welcome back and happy New Year; I trust you all had a restful and enjoyable holiday. As you know, before the shutdown we received disappointing news of the FY08 budget.