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Dorfan Today: New SLAC Brochure Released to Washington

(Photo - Jonathan Dorfan) Early next week, you will each receive a colorful brochure describing SLAC, its current programs and our plans for the future. The audience for this brochure is our many sponsors, primarily those in Washington, a number of whose offices and key officials we visited three weeks ago (see my column in the May 1 issue of SLAC Today). The brochure served as the centerpiece of our presentation on behalf of the laboratory and by all reports, it was extremely well received.

While the graphical presentation is strong and eye-catching, it's the text that carries the important messages. I hope you can find the time to look past the striking images and read the text. The approach we took was to tell a story, in the active voice, of a laboratory that has a widening scientific vision, a vision that retains, but expands, its strengths in photon science and in particle and particle astrophysics. The commitment of Stanford to this legendary laboratory is front and center in the brochure.

The opportunities and very large expansion in photon science are outlined in terms of the strong SSRL synchrotron program with its new SPEAR3 accelerator and the revolutionary new Linac Coherence Light Source (LCLS). As you all know, the LCLS is in construction and, when operational the Spring of 2009, will be the world's first x-ray free electron laser. These two key elements are in place and guarantee a very long, stable and expandable future. Together, they will serve a growing population of photon sciences users on our site. The President's FY2007 budget supports this program exceedingly well with a major increase, about $10M or 40% for SSRL operations and user support, full funding for the LCLS construction project (about $123M) and full funding for the design construction of a group of the LCLS instruments (the LCLS Ultrafast Science Instruments project, $10M). The brochure calls out how we are expanding the highly successful "center of excellence" model of the Kavli Institute into four new centers for photon science. One of these, the Photon Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering (PULSE) center is already well established and growing rapidly.

The centerpiece of our current particle physics program is the B Factory, which will run through 2008 and continue to deliver breakthrough science for many years thereafter. The Kavli Institute is the focus of the particle astrophysics program with the freshly completed GLAST telescope leading us boldly into the realm of space-based science. We have unequivocally placed our long range future in particle physics on the Linear Collider. As we heard at SLAC last week from Harold Shapiro, Chair of the National Academies study on experimental particle physics (EPP2010), the ILC is placed above all other future ventures as the highest priority for U.S. particle physics. The ILC is described by the EPP2010 Panel as a risk that the U.S. program must take if we are to remain amongst the worldwide leaders. In my closing remarks thanking Professor Shapiro for his presentation I said:

"The EPP2010 plan provides validation for what we have done with this laboratory [SLAC] and this community. Because indeed we have put forward the International Linear Collider as our long term future. And that has been seen as risky. In some cases it's maybe even been seen as an exit strategy for us. In fact, it has never been an exit strategy. It has been putting the priority of the field ahead of anything else. Your report certainly validates that in ways that make me feel very good for this [the SLAC] community."

I hope that you will enjoy the brochure. As its title, "Turning Point," connotes, we are steering a course, not away from our traditional strengths, but building and expanding upon them in a dramatic way.

—Jonathan Dorfan
   SLAC Today, May 15, 2006