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In this issue:
From the Director: Turning the Page
An Explosive Collaboration
Word of the Week: Absoulte Zero
Phishing: Don't Take the Bait
Building the LCLS: Weekly Update

SLAC Today

Friday - April 11, 2008

From the Director: Turning the Page

(Photo - Persis Drell)

At 12:43 p.m. on Monday the B Factory completed the program of delivering physics data to BaBar. In the remaining few hours of the day, the PEP-II team continued to explore the limits of accelerator physics by pushing the low-energy beam current to a new world-record of 3.213 A.

While intense analysis of the unique BaBar data sample will continue for a number of years, Monday’s events bring to an end the operational phase for PEP-II and mark a fundamental transition for SLAC as a national user facility. By turning this important page in the history of SLAC as the host for one of the world's premier particle physics facilities, it is timely to reflect both on the accomplishments and the future direction for the particle physics and astrophysics program at the laboratory.

The B Factory was born out of an ambitious goal of exploring contributions to the origins of the dominance of matter over antimatter in the universe today. It is the PEP-II team who has turned this dream into a reality. Through their extraordinary dedication, innovation and creativity we not only achieved, but in fact far surpassed, the ambitious goals for the B Factory program. The resulting data sample has been a key part in advancing our understanding of matter–antimatter asymmetries and the elegant picture of quantum interference that underlies its origins. Read more...

An Explosive Collaboration

(Photo - SciDAC Collaboration)
Roger Blandford addresses the SciDAC Collaboration on Tuesday. (Click image for larger version.)

Great minds might think alike, but who would know unless collaborations took place? The Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) Computational Astrophysics Consortium recently met to discuss current research trends and explore future directions in the field.

Around 80 collaborators from the Bay Area, other states and as far as Europe attended the lecture series, which were packed with presentations in a field where there is much to discuss.

"There has been impressive progress over the past year," said Roger Blandford, director of the Kavli Center for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at SLAC and Stanford. "We were delighted to welcome our many colleagues to SLAC."

SciDAC, which is funded by the Department of Energy, was created to perform detailed numerical simulations of cosmic explosions that make supernovae and gamma ray bursts.

Shizuka Akiyama, SLAC postdoctoral member and event organizer, said "by exchanging results, ideas and plans, we improve current efforts and lay out the foundation of tomorrow's research."

Word of the Week:
Absolute Zero

Absolute zero, defined as 0 on the Kelvin and Rankine scales, is the lowest temperature where nothing could be colder, equivalent to -459.67 F (-273.15 C). At this temperature no heat energy remains within a substance, and molecules have all but stopped moving. Although absolute zero is in practice impossible to achieve, recent attempts have gotten to within a few billionths of a degree. At these extraordinarily cold temperatures materials exhibit unusual properties.

Phishing: Don't Take the Bait

Internet criminals are using a technique called "phishing" to obtain personal information from unsuspecting Internet users. Phishing typically involves sending an e-mail seeking personal information while falsely claiming to come from a legitimate source. Users are often prompted to update or validate passwords, credit card details, Social Security numbers, PIN numbers, or other sensitive information.

Spoofed messages claiming to be from prominent government and banking entities have included threats of legal action and jail for not responding. Some SLAC users have even received phishing e-mails disguised as death threats.

How to protect yourself:

1. Caveat emptor ("buyer beware") should be watch words for use of the Internet.
- Never give out any personal or financial information unless you are certain about the authenticity and online security policy of the organization with which you are dealing.
- Use your "known good" URLs for the banks, shopping sites, payment sites, etc.
- Conduct transactions securely. Ensure that "https" appears before the URL, rather than "http." Read more...

Building the LCLS: Weekly Update

Construction highlights from the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) this week include:

- Contractor construction on the facilities from the Beam Transport Hall to the Near Experimental Hall (NEH) is considered 90% complete.

- Sprinkler systems are being tested in the Research Yard facilities, NEH, Beam Dump and Front End Enclosure.

- NEH bathrooms are being tiled, and preparations are underway to install loading dock stairs.

- Rebar for the floor of the X-ray Tunnel is being installed in advance of an upcoming concrete pour.


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