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In this issue:
SAFE '07 Success Story: 2006–2007 BaBar Upgrade Team
AIS: Lighting and X-rays
SLAC Welcomes New Employees
Tour Guide Patrick Lui
Safety Seconds

SLAC Today

Tuesday - May 15, 2007

SAFE '07 Success Story: 2006–2007 BaBar Upgrade Team

Last winter, the BaBar detector stopped humming for four months to undergo its most complex upgrade to date. Several hundred vacuum specialists and machine physicists, accelerator technicians and riggers, surveyors and others worked in up to three shifts a day to conduct this complicated, detailed work. Some of the activities entailed significant safety challenges including complex rigging operations, working under aggressive schedules, engaging in physically demanding activities in sometimes congested work spaces and working at heights. Despite the numerous challenges presented, the upgrade was successfully completed without a single safety incident.

"Management of the risk associated with this project has been accomplished by taking a systematic approach to safety from the very beginning," said Frank O'Neill, Environment, Safety and Health Coordinator for the Particle and Particle Astrophysics Directorate. "Many talented people expended a great deal of effort to ensure that safety was an integral part of all phases of this operation." Jim Krebs, BaBar's Chief Engineer, Safety Team Leader Sandy Pierson, and Bill Wisniewski, BaBar Technical Coordinator, were key in leading this effort.  Read more...

Tour Guide Patrick Lui

(Photo - Patrick Lui)Patrick Lui is one of the most experienced of SLAC's tour guides. Lui, a physicist, started volunteering as a guide in 1992, the same year he began working in the Technology Transfer Office. He has escorted hundreds of visitors around SLAC but still he always takes a different approach for each group.

"I don't present the research we do at SLAC just from the science perspective, because people would find it difficult to understand," Lui says. "Instead, I like to find something the visitors can relate to."

Therefore, when Lui recently guided a group from Hong Kong, he focused his talk on the discoveries of a group of researchers at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, who used the x-rays to study the origin of one of the pigments used in the painting of 2,000 year old terracotta soldiers found buried in the Chinese province of Shaanxi. 

Lui remembers with fondness the most unusual tour he has given. Once, he was asked to go to a retirement house in Los Altos to make a presentation to a group of senior citizens. Although unable to leave their residence to visit SLAC in person, they still wanted to know how the linear accelerator worked.

Most recently, Lui gave a tour to Linear Café workers. "They loved it!" says Lui, who takes pride in the lab's innovation and vision. "Some people have been working at SLAC for years and still don't have a complete grasp of the laboratory's scientific scope."

Interested in leading SLAC tours? Contact tour coordinator Maura Chatwell.

Safety Seconds

In the second Star Wars movie, Yoda, the very old and tiny gentleman, tells Luke "Do or do not. There is no try." All the while Luke is "trying" and failing. If you "try" to break a board with your hand, generally speaking you will break your hand. We cannot "try" to always act in a safe manner; we must simply commit to act in a safe manner.

SLAC Welcomes
New Employees

(Photo - New Employees)
SLAC recently welcomed new employees at orientation. Clockwise from the left, they are: Mark Tindall, Cory Andrews, Debanu Das, Bhupinder Singh, Khalid Ahmed, Charles Cline, Ernest L. Williams, Jr., Merle Jeanne Beredo, and Rizalina Felix.

AIS: Lightning and X-rays

Have you ever wondered how lightning forms inside thunderclouds? If so, you can ask Joseph R. Dwyer, the visiting speaker at this Wednesday's Advanced Instrumentation Seminar (AIS). Dwyer, a professor of physics and space sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology, will discuss his work studying the x-ray emissions of lightning.

In addition to observing natural lightning, Dwyer and his team launch small rockets attached to long lines of copper wire. This device sparks lightning. Using this technique, Dwyer's group has been able to prove that lightning produces x-ray bursts. The finding supports the hypothesis that lightning is caused by electrons accelerated to nearly the speed of light in a phenomenon called runaway breakdown. These accelerated electrons are the emitters of the x-rays.

Every third Wednesday, the AIS series features a presentation about technology and instrumentation related to SLAC, covering everything from particle astrophysics to photon science. All are encouraged to attend Dwyer's presentation, which will be held on May 16th at 1:30 p.m. in the Kavli Auditorium.

To join the AIS mailing list or to access additional information about the seminar series, including a schedule of upcoming presentations, please visit the AIS website.

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