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From the Director: ZX Shen becomes Chief Scientist for SLAC

(Photo - Persis Drell and ZX Shen)
(Photos by Linda Cicero and Kelen Tuttle.)

Leading SLAC for nearly three years now has been an exciting challenge for me. In the early part of my tenure as director, the operational side of the laboratory took an enormous amount of my attention. Since January of this year (see my first column of this year) I have been focusing much more on the development of the science portfolio at SLAC. In particular I have focused on building up the performing science—the science we at SLAC do—as opposed to the science we enable others to do with our outstanding user facilities.

I have relied heavily on the associate laboratory directors in the mission areas of the laboratory in this process, and they do a very good job of not only working for the benefit of their directorates, but taking a lab-wide view of our science activities. However, I have felt that we lacked someone at the management level of the laboratory to help integrate and optimize across SLAC's science portfolio, particularly in the areas of basic energy sciences, energy and the science enabled by our X-ray facilities.

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Professor Zhi-Xun Shen—known to all of you as a professor of physics, applied physics and photon science, and the division director for the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, or SIMES, at SLAC—has agreed to serve as SLAC's chief scientist. In this role, ZX will assist in lab wide strategic planning and direction particularly in the area of basic energy sciences. He will assist SLAC in developing activities in energy research and an energy research strategy, and he will be our primary interface with Stanford in these areas. He will work to facilitate joint appointments with campus departments in connection with the photon science faculty chair and the associate dean. ZX is also taking on the responsibility to grow our energy research portfolio at SLAC. He will need help and assistance from many of you to be successful!

ZX is known for his very high scientific standards, his energy, his excellent nose for talent and his drive to make things happen. I feel very fortunate to have attracted him to this lab-wide role and look forward to an exciting future as we work together to grow these programs at SLAC!

—Persis Drell
SLAC Today, June 25, 2010