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SLAC Needs Tour Guides

Tour Coordinator Maura Chatwell is looking to recruit SLAC employees and graduate students to talk the talk and walk the walk.

Each day, at least one busload of science enthusiasts makes its way around the site on a tour. This number increases during the summer months. Each tour needs a tour guide: someone who's enthusiastic about science and doesn't mind taking a few hours each month to share this excitement with others.

"I always like explaining things to the general public," said Adam Cunha, a BaBar collaborator who started giving SLAC tours last year. "I think I'm a teacher at heart."

Each tour lasts about two hours. It starts with a talk about SLAC, which each guide molds to his or her personal style, says Chatwell. Then everyone climbs on a bus and heads to the linac visitor’s alcove. They check out the accelerator, the Collider Hall and the Research Yard Overlook.

All sorts of groups sign up to learn about SLAC, from physics clubs to Stanford alumni groups to elementary school classes.

"Students are well engaged," Cunha says. "The types of things they come up with are usually not what I expected."

Training involves developing a 20- to 30-minute general talk about SLAC based on a PowerPoint presentation and taking the tour with a current guide to get a sense of how to lead the hordes of visiters.

"I cannibalized other people's talks—with their permission, of course," says Cunha.

Most tours start at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., but times are flexible. Chatwell handles booking rooms and confirming tours—the guide just needs to show up.  Graduate students are paid for their time.

Interested? Call Maura Chatwell at x4931 or e-mail her at for more information.

—Krista Zala