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Meeting Fever

(Photo - LSST collaboration meeting)The holiday shutdown begins in just over two weeks, but SLAC is still humming with activity. This week brings hundreds of researchers to the lab to take part in the BaBar and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) collaboration meetings, the Experimental Program Advisory Committee (EPAC) meeting and a Department of Energy (DOE) review. All these visitors bring an added level of bustle and vibrancy to the lab, but what are they up to?

Beginning today, about 300 researchers will converge on SLAC for the BaBar Collaboration Meeting. Over the next five days, attendees will discuss this fall's successful muon upgrade project, the PEP-II upgrade, recent physics extracted from BaBar data, results expected for the winter conferences, and a preliminary report on the plan for analysis beyond September 30, 2008, when the detector is scheduled to stop taking data.

LSST collaborators have been at the lab since yesterday afternoon to take part in their third All-Hands Meeting. This year's meeting is the project's largest yet, with more than 100 people in attendance. The LSST is a ground-based telescope that, when completed, will record a 10 square degree swath of sky—an area equivalent to 50 full moons—every 15 seconds, surveying half the sky every three nights. Still in the research and development phase, the LSST is SLAC's next major particle astrophysics initiative and will offer insight into dark matter, dark energy and supernovae.

In addition to the collaboration meetings, two important reviews on the South Arc Beam Experimental Region (SABER) project take place this week. EPAC meets Monday and Tuesday to make recommendations on the scientific value of SABER experiments. The committee, which is made up of high-level scientists from around the world, advises the SLAC directorate on proposals for particle physics and particle astrophysics experiments at the lab. A DOE review of SABER will follow close on the heels of the EPAC meeting to review the project's overall goals. The recommendations that flow from these committees will bear strong impact on the future of accelerator research at the lab.

A warm welcome to all meeting attendees!

—Kelen Tuttle
    SLAC Today, December 5, 2006

LSST collaborators at yesterday's meeting. (Click on image for larger version.)