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In this issue:
LCLS Ice Cream Social This Week
Profile: Jim Panetta's World of Coffee
GLAST Mission One Step Closer to Launch

SLAC Today

Wednesday - April 11, 2007

(Photo - Steel Drum)

LCLS Ice Cream Social This Week

Join your friends and colleagues on the main lawn this Friday afternoon for the do-not-miss event of spring! Come celebrate the official start of commissioning for the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) with free ice cream from the Palo Alto Creamery and live music from the Island Groove steel drum band. Starting at 2 p.m., SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan and Director of LCLS Construction John Galayda will kick off the festivities, followed by refreshments served by members of the Directorate.

Last week, SLAC physicists and engineers came one step closer to making the LCLS a reality with the first pulse of electrons generated by the injector system. The six-month commissioning process for the first 40 meters of the LCLS is now underway.  Come relax and celebrate this exciting achievement!

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Jim Panetta's
World of Coffee

(Image -
Jim Panetta
(Click on image for larger version.)

It comes all the way from Sumatra to SLAC, filling our hallways with the rich aroma of beans well tended. The coffee that Jim Panetta, GLAST Engineering Physicist, buys for SLAC isn't like the Maxwell House his parents drank: it's freshly roasted and hand delivered across campus in spartan paper bags—because Panetta likes good coffee.

"I buy and deliver about 15 to 20 pounds of coffee a week to people throughout the lab," he said. "It makes my car smell wonderful."

He learned to like a good roast during his 4 a.m. to noon shift as an undergraduate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. When the BaBar Collaboration sprung for two nice coffee machines in 2000, Panetta, who had been maintaining them, decided they needed nice coffee to match.

"We had been buying coffee from Peet's. But I had a friend at the Dana Street Roasting Company, a locally-owned coffee shop in Mountain View, who would give it to me at a better price," he said. "So I bought some to test at SLAC. Everyone liked it, and it was two-thirds the cost."

Panetta has taken coffee orders from groups at SLAC ever since, without making a profit. Word of Panetta's coffee delivery traveled fast, and demand hasn't slowed.

"The coffee seems to be pretty popular," he said. "The Research Office Building alone goes through 30 pounds a month."

The Dana Street Roasting Company uses a portion of its profits to send their roasters to learn more about coffee from plantations around the world. Panetta's learning too: his favorite coffees are light roasts from Zimbabwe.

GLAST Mission One Step Closer to Launch

(Photo - GLAST)
The GLAST Observatory at General Dynamics, after the integration of the GLAST Burst Monitor instrument. (Image courtesy of NASA and General Dynamics.)

The next major space observatory, the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST), is one step closer to unveiling the mysteries of the high-energy universe. Almost all the components have been assembled onto the spacecraft, which will undergo a review this week before environmental testing begins at the primary contractor, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems in Gilbert, Ariz.

GLAST will study the universe's most extreme objects, observing physical processes far beyond the capabilities of earthbound laboratories. GLAST's main instrument, the Large Area Telescope (LAT)—which was built at SLAC—operates like a particle detector rather than a conventional telescope. It is 30 times more sensitive (and even more at higher energies) than the best previous missions, enabling it to detect thousands of new gamma-ray sources while extending our knowledge of previously unidentified sources. For example, it will study how some black holes accelerate matter to near light speed and perhaps even reveal the nature of dark matter. The other instrument, the GLAST Burst Monitor (GBM), will detect roughly 200 gamma-ray bursts per year. Together with the LAT, the GBM will enable GLAST to make gamma-ray burst observations spanning a factor of a million in energy.

"These two instruments and the spacecraft have now been integrated and are working together as a single observatory," says GLAST project manager Kevin Grady of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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