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Physics in the Mountains

This year's Winter Conference on the Physics of Quantum Electronics took place at Snowbird Ski Resort. (Photo by Calla Cofield. Click for larger image.)

SLAC and Stanford physicists made a strong showing at the 39th annual Winter Conference on the Physics of Quantum Electronics, which took place last week at the breathtaking Snowbird Ski Resort in Utah's Wasatch Mountains.

During the sessions, SLAC physicist John Arthur presented a talk on the Linac Coherent Light Source, stirring up excitement with many of the conference attendees who had not yet heard the details of the project. Robert Byer of Stanford spoke on laser compression and the acceleration of electrons. Another two SLAC and seven Stanford representatives contributed to the more than 200 presentations given over the week.

"What was neat about this conference from my perspective was hearing talks in topical areas that are really somewhat distant from mine," said SLAC accelerator physicist Eric R. Colby, who presented a talk on his research with group E-163 designing laser-driven particle accelerators. "Most of the questions I got were from colleagues in my field, but several questions were from people working on photonic crystals. They were delighted to see this new application of their work. They asked questions about the some of the challenges we face. Hopefully a collaboration will grow out of that in the future."

The Physics of Quantum Electronics colloquium draws engineers and physicists from fields such as accelerator physics, condensed matter physics, quantum mechanics, many branches of optics, ultracold physics and medical physics. The talks are mostly for specialists, but the technologies being discussed are used everywhere from hospitals to Naval air systems.

—Calla Cofield
SLAC Today, January 12, 2009