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In this issue:
The Underground Panoramas of SLAC
People Today: Zen and the Art of Pie-Making
SASS: Food for Thought
Conservation Tip of the Week

SLAC Today

Wednesday - January 30, 2008

The Underground Panoramas of SLAC

The tunnel is prepped for the final breakthrough, which took place just after this shot.

The tunneling breakthrough into the Far Experimental Hall (FEH) of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) on January 14th was the culmination of months of planning and excavation work. Having begun nearly a year ago, the FEH cavern is nearly complete, with only the pouring of the concrete slab floor remaining. Once the floor is poured, construction of the experimental hutches can begin.

The cavern, which measures 50 feet wide, 35 feet tall, and 230 feet long, was excavated in sectioned layers, starting from the top. Over the course of FEH excavation, as each bench was removed, tunneling subcontractor Tolga Togan of Affholder Incorporated documented the process with his camera to create this series of panoramas of the cavern and the road header at work.

View the photo gallery...

(Weekly Column - Profile)

Zen and the Art
of Pie-Making

(Photo - Jim Defever with a pie)
Jim Defever displays his latest handiwork. (Click on image for larger version.)

Jim Defever likes to get his hands dirty. An engineer with the Linac Coherent Light Source Ultrafast Science Instruments group, he maintains motorcycles in warmer seasons, and in colder ones, he bakes pies.

A distaste with store-bought pies prompted Defever to meander down the pie-making path. He learned recipes for strawberry and apple pies from his mother, along with how to knead the pastry dough into crust. Everything else he learned through experience, other people and Google—a great source for recipes, he said.

"I'm not sure I've learned how to compensate for external factors yet," he said, "but I've learned not to get frustrated when something goes wrong."

And sometimes it does. A persimmon pie, made from the fruit of a coworker's tree, turned out to be a disaster. However, Defever recognizes that failures come with the successes, and that there are often surprises.

Defever recently made a pie with avocados another coworker gave him. It sounds strange, but avocado pie turned out surprisingly good. He described it as a flavor that grows on you, one that takes you off guard, like a new idea or style struggling for acceptance.

But then again, Defever said, "sometimes I wish my coworkers would just bring in apples."

Defever claims the only secret to making good pie is experimentation.

"I do things a little differently," he said, "not anything specific, but I'm not as rigid with recipes as I use to be."

Because Defever enjoys baking pies more than he does eating them, he shares them with his coworkers and friends.

"If I go over to a friend's house I'll bring a pie; it's a good way to get invited back," he said.

SASS: Food for Thought

(Photo - Michael Mazur)
Michael Mazur addresses the first meeting of the SLAC Association of Student Speakers.

An idea that began as a nugget of conversation has born the first fruits of success. A plan hatched over a few lunch breaks, the SLAC Association of Student Speakers (SASS) has already held two sessions, both of which saw strong attendance—and none were more pleased than the seminar's creators Wells Wulsin and Manuel Franco Sevilla.

The seminars, held Wednesdays 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Kavli Second Floor Conference Room, are designed to foster an exchange of experience and ideas in particle physics and astrophysics. Talks will be brief, with the sessions centering on discussion.

"Our primary goal is a forum where students can talk to each other," Wulsin said, "not just be talked at."

Franco Sevilla and Wulsin acknowledged SLAC's first-class seminars, but added that in-depth conversation isn't always realistic. They're hoping the intimate atmosphere—and free food—will create a steady flow of interest.

Both Wulsin and Franco Sevilla see these discussions as a rare opportunity for students from related areas to meet. At a time when techniques and fundamental questions from particle physics and astrophysics are converging, "It's good to know what's being cooked up in other areas," Franco Sevilla said.


Conservation Tip
of the Week

Turn faucets off when not using the water. Running water non-stop during shaving, brushing teeth or shaving in the shower is wasteful. Turn on the faucet when necessary and save thousands of gallons of water a year plus the energy needed to heat it.


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