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In this issue:
From the Director: SLAC Science
Fermi Telescope Closes In on Mystery of Cosmic Ray Acceleration
Marguerite Line S Schedule Change Monday

SLAC Today

Friday - January 8, 2010

From the Director: SLAC Science

Science online (Site: AAAS.)

When I became director two years ago I had three goals for the lab:

1. Deliver the Linac Coherent Light Source project and science.

2. Rebuild the management and operations functions of the laboratory.

3. Develop a scientific vision for the laboratory's future.

The progress on LCLS has been spectacular. We will declare project victory with completion of the Critical Decision 4 milestone this year. The science turn on has been outstanding.

On the second goal, rebuilding the management and operations functions of the lab, we have made tremendous progress in the last year. While we have a long way to go, we also have an extraordinary team in place in the Operations Directorate that is dedicated to accelerating our progress in the year to come. The TEAM 2 review, which many of you participated in, will deliver a report by the end of the month and will help guide us forward.

The long-term science vision driving the development of the accelerator facilities on our site is moving forward nicely with plans for the first upgrades of LCLS and FACET construction. There will be more upgrades of LCLS to come and the possibility of PEP-X in the longer term future.  Read more...

Fermi Telescope Closes In on Mystery of Cosmic Ray Acceleration

(Image - supernova remnant W44)
Supernova remnant W44 as imaged by the Fermi telescope's Large Area Telescope and enhanced with a restoration technique. The green contours indicate the remnant seen with infrared light. (Image courtesy NASA/DOE/LAT collaboration.)

In all directions of the sky, cosmic rays rocket through space with incredible speed. These "rays"—which mostly consist of protons—are some of the most energetic particles in the universe. For nearly 100 years, they have also been some of the most enigmatic. Now, a new result from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope's Large Area Telescope collaboration offers insight into how, exactly, the universe accelerates these particles to such high energies. The high-energy cosmic rays appear to be coming from supernova remnants, the dying remains of exploded stars; the new result reveals the spatial distribution of this emission in one particular supernova remnant.

The acceleration of cosmic rays is a long-standing cosmic mystery. Cosmic rays were first recognized in 1912, but it wasn't until 1949 that Italian physicist Enrico Fermi first proposed the mechanism behind their acceleration. In the following decades, Fermi's ideas were developed further by researchers, including Roger Blandford, director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, jointly located at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University.

The most likely source, researchers determined, is supernova remnants, which result from tremendous stellar explosions. As a star explodes, its material plows into the gas between the stars, compressing it and forming shock waves. Those shocks are the most likely sites of very efficient acceleration of charged particles called cosmic rays. "But still observations had yet to pinpoint where the particle acceleration really occurs," said KIPAC Panofsky Fellow Yasunobu Uchiyama.  Read more in Symmetry Breaking...

Marguerite Line S Schedule Change Monday

For those of you who take the Marguerite shuttle to and from work, or who have been mulling it over, please note that an updated schedule will go into effect Monday, January 11, 2010. The organizers have received a lot of helpful feedback following the call for input and want to thank everyone who contributed.

The new schedule is available online on the Marguerite Web site.

Start the New Year off right by going green and trying out the S-line shuttle!

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