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In this issue:
PEP-II Moves to New Resonance
People Today: Dedicated to Safety
Science Interview: Raymond Orbach Responds to DOE Budget Crisis
Blood Drive Today
Conservation Tip of the Week
Wednesday - January 16, 2008
PEP-II Moves to New Resonance
Compelled by the abrupt change in the lab's budget, researchers have rapidly altered the B-Factory's program in order to continue doing exciting physics the remaining two months of the run. The sudden change required extra efforts during the winter shutdown to adjust the PEP-II machine to run at a different collision energy than normal.
The experiment is now running in the 3S mode, which means particles collide with a total energy of 10.35 GeV, enough to make particles called Upsilon(3S), which then decay into other particles. For most of its 8-year-lifespan, PEP-II has operated in the 4S mode, with collisions at 10.58 GeV that produce Upsilon(4S) particles. This rather small energy difference makes a big difference in how the machine needs to be set up and allows searches for new physics and new particles that would have been difficult to find at 4S.
This is almost new territory for PEP-II, which has been run at 3S before—during a few shifts five years ago—and had been slated to operate at the 3S for a few weeks this summer to pick up this interesting data.
To adjust the machine, the Linac Operations Group switched off several klystrons in the linac, so the electron beam now gets accelerated to only 8.6 GeV, instead of 9 GeV. Read more...
Dedicated to Safety
Sometimes saving lives comes with a job—other times you volunteer for it. For SLAC's Brian Sherin and Lance Lougee, who have already dedicated their professional careers to safety, this is certainly the case; together they have over 25 years of experience as volunteer fire fighters.
Fire Stations in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties rely heavily on volunteer organizations, including the Loma Prieta Fire and Rescue Department that Sherin and Lougee belong to. In fact, most of the entire nation still does: about 75 percent of fire fighters are volunteers.
As a part of this juggling, Sherin and Lougee carry their response gear, or "turnouts," with them in their personal vehicles. When a 911 call comes in, the volunteers are paged and, depending on their location and their current priorities, decide whether or not they can respond.
Calls-to-duty vary, but Sherin and Lougee estimate that their Department receives a minimum of 400 calls a year. These emergencies include medical crises, structure and wildland fires and downed power lines. More than half of
all annual calls in the area are due to highway accidents, primarily on Highway 17, the route between Silicon Valley and the coast.
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