SLAC was established in1962 at Stanford University. The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory and home to a two-mile linear accelerator—the longest in the world. Originally a particle physics research center, SLAC is now a multipurpose laboratory for astrophysics, photon science, accelerator and particle physics research and home to some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies used by researchers from around the world to uncover scientific mysteries on the smallest and the largest scales—from the workings of the atom to the mysteries of the cosmos.
SLAC is at the frontier of scientific discovery. With its range of diverse programs and facilities and exceptional researchers, SLAC is at the forefront of groundbreaking discoveries across the sciences, from astrophysics and accelerator research to chemistry, materials and energy science.
The lab’s core competencies are:
Evidence of their success? Nearly 3,400 scientists from around the world use SLAC’s facilities each year, 275 universities make use of the lab’s resources, 6 scientists have been awarded the Nobel Prize for work carried out at SLAC and over 1000...Read more...
One of the more fascinating pieces of work at a DOE National Laboratory was the examination of an ancient work by Archimedes on parchment that had been erased, written over, and so, mostly, lost to history. Lost, that is, until the SLAC synchrotron X-ray beam tore into the parchment and was able to let us see and read much of the original Archimedean text. Archimedes would have used a lab notebook, if he had had paper, or a computer and a thumb-drive to record his work if they had been available, but he did not live long enough to invent those things, which he probably could have if given the time. One hopes that before his study was erased, others were able to read it, profit from its insights, and use the knowledge as a springboard to another discovery. That’s one way we make progress.
We often hear that with declining costs in storage, increased bandwidth, and faster processing speeds, the power and potential of the electronic age to spread and communicate science are amazing things to ponder. I guess. But the work can still be lost, no matter how it is recorded. And some material, let’s face it, isn’t worth saving. Between this blog and Archimedes’ method of mechanical theorems, the work that SLAC was looking at, which would you save? What is needed now, as then, is someone to care about preserving the scientific findings that are worth preserving.
That goes for what is called “new media,” as it does for parchments. Multimedia (video, animation, visualization, interactive publishing, image and object recognition) is widely used to record, share, and collaborate in science. Because of the U.S. Department of Energy's central role in science, we are also at the center of technology for collecting and disseminating this new media, as well as the old. Acquiring and disseminating are separate but equally essential (and complicated) elements to accelerating scientific discovery.
On the acquiring side, it's essential that DOE's policy and...Read more...