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From the Director: SLAC's Time!

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

2010 was a great year for SLAC. Working at the lab every day, we know that. Outstanding science came from all parts of the laboratory, and we continued to improve how we do business. What is nice to see is that others recognize our achievements as well. In late December, the Department of Energy Office of Science released annual performance assessments for the national labs, including SLAC, for fiscal year 2010. SLAC did very well!

You can see the 2010 performance grades for all Office of Science labs here. All of the labs performed well and SLAC was among the best. A table of SLAC grades over the past five years shows that the lab has improved greatly across a number of metrics. All laboratory staff should be extremely proud of this recognition of their hard work!

And now we enter a new era. When our performance was considered among the worst in the complex, it was easy to see what direction we needed to go. But now we are on our own as we chart our course forward. We will be setting new and higher standards and expectations for our science and our operations performance. And the science will be fantastic!

We stand at the threshold of a new scientific frontier. We are poised for a decade of discovery equal to any in our history. Our scientists see "once-in-a-career" opportunities in front of them! We will have to focus and work very hard in all areas of the lab in order to exploit these opportunities. The pillars of our future scientific program are in place: the Linac Coherent Light Source, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, Large Hadron Collider and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. LCLS-II, FACET and a renewal of SSRL will come this decade, along with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. We are attracting the best scientific talent in the world and we want to do everything we can to enable them to do groundbreaking research. We are seeing new opportunities daily to focus Stanford and SLAC intellectual capital on problems of national need. Capturing this new scientific frontier is an irresistible opportunity for us.

All areas of the laboratory are going to need to meet higher standards for both performance and efficiency in order to support these outstanding science opportunities. We can and we will meet that challenge!

I truly believe that the accomplishments of 2010 were just the beginning for SLAC. We are moving forward and our speed is increasing. This is SLAC’s time!

—Persis Drell
SLAC Today, January 7, 2011