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In this issue:
New Alloy Forms Under Pressure
Egyptian Crystallographer to Share Unique Perspectives in Science and Culture
SLAC Colloquium to Explore Coal Use

SLAC Today

Tuesday - March 17, 2009

New Alloy Forms Under Pressure

A research team has created a material that was supposed to be impossible: an alloy of cerium and aluminum.

The new alloy was coaxed into being at high pressures—200,000 times the Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level. The process may be useful for creating novel materials in the future. "It opens exciting possibilities for making new alloys," said SLAC physicist Wendy Mao, who collaborated on the data analysis for the paper. The work, led by Charles Zeng, a visiting graduate student from Zhejiang University in China, was published in the February 24 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesRead more...

Egyptian Crystallographer to Share Unique Perspectives in Science and Culture

(Photo - Karimat El Sayed)
Karimat El Sayed.

Egyptian teacher, researcher and proponent of women's education Karimat El Sayed overcame family objections and cultural prohibitions to pursue a successful career in science. Her work in materials science earned her the 2003 International L'Oreal-UNESCO prize, among other honors, and she is an active proponent of science education for women in Arabic-speaking countries. Later this week, she will present two seminars at SLAC and Stanford University addressing very different aspects of her career in physics. On Thursday she will speak at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource about applications of synchrotron radiation in studying cultural artifacts. On Friday, she will discuss the history and current challenges for women working in physics in the Middle East.

El Sayed will present "The Use of Synchrotron Radiation in Cultural Heritage (Art and Archeology)" from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in SSRL's Building 137 third-floor conference room. Her special seminar, "Women in Physics in Egypt and in the Arab World," will take place from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Friday, March 20, in the Tresidder Union Oak West Room on Stanford campus.

Following the inspiration of role models such as science pioneer Marie Curie and pioneer Egyptian feminist Hoda Sha'arawi, El-Sayed studied mathematics and physics at Ain Shams University in Cairo, and completed her doctoral study at University College, London University in 1965. She returned to Egypt, where she joined the faculty in the Physics Department at Ain Shams. As a visiting professor she founded the women's section of the King Abdul-Aziz University Physics Department in Saudia Arabia in 1975. Since 1980 she has been a professor of Material Science at Ain Shams University.

Both of El Sayed's talks are free and open to all.

Read more about El Sayed's work promoting women's science education in the Cario-based Al Ahram.

SLAC Colloquium to Explore Coal Use

Next Monday, Stanford Program on Energy and Sustainable Development research associate Richard Morse will present "Reconciling the Rapid Growth of Coal and CO2 Emissions in Global Energy Markets."

Coal is both the world's fastest growing fossil fuel and a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. While in the West coal use is under pressure, much of the developing world is predicating economic growth on cheap, reliable electricity from coal. As a result, the next few decades are likely to witness a massive build out of coal capacity. Morse will explore where coal markets are growing, examine what economic and political variables have the greatest impact on coal use and the global coal trade, and discuss possible leverage points for CO2 mitigation. One mitigation option is a technology called carbon capture and storage, or CCS. Should we place big bets on this expensive and largely unproven option? Morse will discuss whether the current state of CCS deployment for coal-fired power falls short of mitigation levels required by many widely publicized targets and proceed to analyze the potential for commercial deployment of CCS technology at scale.

Stanford's Program on Energy and Sustainable Development draws on the fields of political science, law and economics to investigate how the production and consumption of energy affect sustainable development and human welfare. Morse's work at PESD focuses on global and domestic coal markets. His other research interests include carbon markets, renewable energy markets, and financial markets for energy commodities. Morse received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Rice University, where he was awarded the James Street Fulton Prize for the top graduate in the field. He has worked in commodities markets for oil, natural gas and renewable energy.

Morse's talk begins at 4:15 p.m. Monday in Panofsky Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

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