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Dorfan Today: An Important Week Ahead

(Photo - Jonathan Dorfan)Catch your breath and hold on for a wild ride! This week will be packed with important visits, meetings and presentations that will both take stock of the research currently going on at the laboratory and will look into our future plans for operating and financing SLAC in the period after 2008.

Visitors, including decision-makers who directly influence our research funding, will be coming to SLAC from all over the nation and indeed from all over the world. We are busy and the activity mirrors the vitality of our current and future research program.

On Monday through Wednesday the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) directorate of the DOE's Office of Science will conduct a review of our proposed plans, and the associated costs, for operating and supporting the Linac complex in the period after FY2008. I am delighted to welcome Pedro Montano, Director of BES's Scientific User Facilities Division and his DOE colleagues along with the highly experienced team that will conduct the detailed review of the Laboratory's financial and management plans for the era when the linac's primary mission has transitioned from supporting PEP-II to running the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS). A highly motivated and dedicated group of staff from all of the Directorates have helped prepare for this review, with the lead taken by the TWG (see related SLAC Today article here). We are eager to share our plans with the committee as a critical step towards establishing the necessary support from DOE to ensure an efficient and effective turn-on of LCLS in FY2009.

On Monday, the annual SLAC Users' Organization (SLUO) Meeting will be held in the auditorium. SLUO has organized a wonderful program which includes a mix of talks focused both on areas of scientific excitement in our Particle and Particle Astrophysics program and on representing the perspective from Washington. I am delighted to welcome Robin Staffin, Associate Director for High Energy Physics at the Office of Science, who will be presenting the outlook from DOE. We also welcome Mike Holland from the House Subcommittee on Science, who will present his view as seen from Capitol Hill. Two long-term friends of the lab, Barry Barish and Jim Brau, will present progress of the worldwide collaborations designing the ILC machine and detectors. Scientific highlights will include topics including Plasma Acceleration, Dark Matter, Babar physics and galaxy formation. If you want to find out what is going on in the particle and particle astrophysics programs nationally and around the world, find time to attend the Users' Meeting.

From Tuesday through Friday, there is also a BaBar collaboration meeting. These meetings are held twice a year, once at SLAC and once elsewhere, typically in Europe. Big experiments thrive on these meetings that are a great opportunity for the collaboration to come together, take stock of what's been done and plan their future activities. More than half of BaBar's 600 collaborators will be flying in to the lab for this meeting and, as always, we welcome them warmly.

Add to this a visit by the Chinese Academy of Science whose senior management will be at SLAC on Wednesday to learn about the SLAC/Stanford model of a major research laboratory that is fully integrated into a leading university and there is one thing I can guarantee: if you're looking for a conference room next week, forget it. They are all booked. And if you wish to find convenient parking, come early.

—Jonathan Dorfan, September 11, 2006