SLAC Today is available online at:

In this issue:
From the Director: Happy Holidays
Holiday Shutdown Reminders
SLAC Scientists Awarded Supercomputing Time
Around SLAC: Season of Cheer
Family Giving Tree
Word of the Week: Beam Tree

SLAC Today

Friday - December 19, 2008

From the Director: Happy Holidays

As the days grow short and the winter solstice approaches, it is a time to reflect on the year that is ending and look forward to the new year to come.

The year 2008 started with one of the toughest challenges I have ever had to face. I went to the January 7, 2008, 8:00 a.m. meeting in the Main Control Center to announce the early shutdown of the B Factory and later that day, in my first all-hands as the new laboratory director, I announced the largest layoff in the history of the lab. Those first months of 2008 were incredibly tough, filled with very, very difficult decisions. As a laboratory and as a community, lab management and staff worked our way through that difficult period and we moved forward.

As we moved forward, we created new reasons for celebration. The B Factory finished its run in style, with beautiful physics harvested from experiments on the Upsilon 3S and 2S resonances—an elegant program created from the ashes of the foreshortened Upsilon 4S run that had been planned for the year. The successful June launch of the Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope (then GLAST) was exciting (and terrifying!) and the science coming from the instrument is exceptional. The lab was renamed to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, an emotional and ultimately satisfying experience, highlighting accelerators as the core capability of the laboratory. The Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource served its users well, imaging important biological molecules, environmental samples and even a dinosaur.  Read more...

Holiday Shutdown Reminders

As you prepare to leave for the holidays, please take a moment to remember:

• Log off desktop systems, but please leave them running to enable maintenance updates.

• Power off monitors, printers, heaters, lights and other equipment that will not be needed over the holiday.

• For computing needs over the break, please see Computing Support during the Holidays.

SLAC Scientists Awarded Supercomputing Time

Seven SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory researchers are among awardees of Department of Energy supercomputing time for scientific projects of exceptional merit. The DOE's Office of Science announced yesterday that 66 projects addressing some of the greatest scientific challenges have been awarded access to some of the world's most powerful supercomputers, located at DOE national labs.

Lab staff are co-investigators on two of the selected projects. SLAC physicists Brian Moritz and Thomas Devereaux teamed up with Georgetown University theorist James Freericks on their successful proposal to model electron dynamics in novel materials excited by intense pulses of light in "pump-probe" experiments. Their proposal received an award of 2,250,000 processor hours at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. SLAC scientists Lie-Quan Lee, Zenghai Li, Kwok Ko, Andreas Kabel and Cho Ng received a renewal of computing time, this year 8,000,000 processor hours at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, for simulations that will help to hone accelerator design for the proposed International Linear Collider.

The allocations of supercomputing and data storage resources will be made under DOE's Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment program, or INCITE, which supports computationally intensive, large-scale research projects. The DOE reports that access to DOE's supercomputers will allow cutting-edge research to be carried out in weeks or months, rather than years or decades.  

"From understanding the makeup of our universe to protecting the quality of life here on earth, the computational science now possible using DOE's supercomputers touches all of our lives," said DOE Under Secretary for Science Raymond Orbach, who launched INCITE in 2003. "By dedicating time on these supercomputers to carefully selected projects, we are advancing scientific research in ways we could barely envision 10 years ago, improving our national competitiveness."

For more details about the 2009 INCITE awards and projects, see the DOE news release and INCITE 2009 Fact Sheet.

Around SLAC:
Season of Cheer

(Photo by Brad Plummer. Click for larger image.)

Wednesday's SLAC holiday party drew hundreds of lab staff to the Linear Café and Panofsky Breezeway for a buffet luncheon, movie and raffle drawings.

Family Giving Tree

Gifts donated for the 2008 Family Giving Tree program. (Photo by Diana Viera. Click for larger image.)

Thanks to the generosity of SLAC employees, more than 100 children and several needy families will receive holiday gifts this year. Support of the Family Giving Tree program was above all expectations, and the organizers would like to thank everyone for their kindness this holiday season.

Word of the Week:
Beam Tree

(Photo by Walter Zawojski. Click for larger image.)

A beam tree—more formally known as a Lichtenberg figure—is made by first streaming electrons from a linear accelerator into an acrylic block to build up a charge. The stored electrons are then discharged by tapping the block with a grounded metal point; the sudden discharge leaves behind a fern-like pattern in the plastic, which is believed to extend down to the molecular level.

These coveted items are often given as awards and presented to retirees. The beam trees, which in the early days were made using one of SLAC's smaller linacs, are now made by a private company off site. 

Access (see all)

(see all | submit)

 Lab Announcements

Community Bulletin Board

Training (see all | register)

News (submit)

dividing line
(Office of Science/U.S. DOE Logo) <% Response.AddHeader "Last-modified", getArticleDate() 'Response.AddHeader "Last-modified","Mon, 01 Sep 1997 01:03:33 GMT" 'Monday, December 06, 2010 %>

View online at