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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.

SLAC: What does SLAC stand for? SLAC stands for outstanding science…and while "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" and SLAC by any other name would still do great science, I am glad that we are preserving the name recognition of 45 years that is attached to those four letters. This was extremely important to the staff of the laboratory. We have been and will be: SLAC.

National: We are a national user facility and our name now proudly calls that out. We do not just serve a local community. We serve the U. S. Department of Energy and the nation.

Accelerator: This is a strong statement of how we define ourselves and how we define the future mission for the laboratory. In fact, this is my favorite word in the new name. As we become a multi-program laboratory, accelerators will remain the foundational core competency from which we will build. It does not mean that we will pursue only the science that is enabled by accelerators. Laser science and particle astrophysics are growing enterprises. Theoretical work has always been critical to our mission. But Accelerator does define what makes us so unique in the laboratory complex. It reflects the future mission focus of the laboratory.

Laboratory: We are one laboratory. We are all on the same team, dedicated to the same purpose and principles, and we will all share a sense of pride in our accomplishments.

Under Secretary for Science, Dr. Ray Orbach, commented in the press release: "The new laboratory name acknowledges the distinguished accomplishments SLAC has achieved over the years, and its exciting future as a multi-program Department of Energy National Laboratory. The Laboratory's world-leading set of core capabilities makes it a key member of the Department's National Laboratory complex, and fuels the Office of Science research capabilities for the future."

We go forward now with a new name that reflects both our history and our future mission focus. SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory—Operated by Stanford University for the U. S. Department of Energy—a name to be proud of.

—Persis Drell
SLAC Today, October 16, 2008