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Archives & History Office

Hours: By appointment Monday-Friday during regular work hours.

Contact:

  • E-mail: slacarc[@]slac.stanford.edu
  • Phone: (650)926-3091
  • Post: SLAC Archives and History Office, M/S 97, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Office Location: Bldg.50, Rm.370

Past Spotlights

August 22, 2013 -

The Universe Through Fermi's Eyes: Celebrating the First Five Years

Fermi's map of the gamma-ray sky, created with
five years of data.
(NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration)

On June 11, 2008, what was then the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) rode a Delta II rocket into low-Earth orbit. After two months of tests and checks and calibrations, on August 11, 2008, NASA declared GLAST open for business as astrophysics' premier eye on the gamma-ray sky. Five years, a name change, a near miss with a defunct Soviet spy satellite, and countless surprises later, the spacecraft now known as the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (FGST) is still going strong, with another five-year mission stretching ahead of it.

Read more in SLAC Today 8/22/2013

July 8, 2013 - August 22, 2013

On July 6, 1973, a team of research pioneers extracted the first hard X-rays from SLAC's particle accelerator SPEAR. The event marked the beginning of a new era of accelerator-based X-ray science and spawned the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), which continues to lead the field today.

Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project pilot project 
beamline inside 
SPEAR

May 8, 2013 - July 8, 2013

The SLAC "Accelepede" won first prize for costume contest in the 72nd Annual Bay to Breakers in San Francisco on Sunday, May 15, 1983. Thirty-one SLACers and friends costumed in red boxes connected by white ducts ran the race, attended by two volunteer "repair units." The team, represented by John Winston, Rob Witthuas, Bob Gex, and Ken Witthaus, donated their prize, an Atari 5200 SuperSystem video game console, to Children's Hospital at Stanford.

[See also SLAC Today, 5/20/2013, "History Spotlight: The 1983 Bay to Breakers SLAC 'Accelepede'"]

SLAC Accelepede at Bay to            
Breakers, Ocean
Beach, San Francisco, 1978 SLAC Accelepede donates 
prize to Children's Hospital at Stanford

August 20, 2012 - May 8, 2013

SLAC 50th

Celebrating 50 Years of Discovery

Archives exhibit at Arrillaga Alumni Center extended through May 2013
SLAC story

May 10, 2012 - August 20, 2012

First beam injected into B-Factory: On May 10, 1997, "at about 3:00 a.m. the first beam was injected into the PEP-II high energy ring and immediately traveled a third of the way around the 2 kilometer circumference."

First beam spot observed at the Region 2 dump

April 2, 2012 - May 10, 2012

Five Years Ago...On April 5, 2007 the LCLS burst into life with the first electrons from the new radio-frequency photocathode gun.

The first electron beam produced by the 
LCLS injector.

Ten Years Ago...The Research Office Building (aka the ROB or Bldg. 048) was officially dedicated on April 2, 2002. The Interaction Point, May 2002, page 3

ROB viewed through Bubble Chamber window in 
2004

March 22, 2012 - April 2, 2012

Five years ago a new tool for peering into the materials that make up living systems was dedicated. Dignitaries at the dedication of SSRL's Molecular Observatory for Structural Molecular Biology at Beamline 12 included Stanford President John Hennessy, Caltech president Jean-Lou Chameau, and Intel co-founder and philanthropist Gordon Moore.

February 24, 2012 - March 22, 2012

20th Anniversary of a Great Idea: Building the LCLS at SLAC
The spectacular success of the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the world’s first hard X-ray free-electron laser, has put SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at the frontier of photon science. Although relevant work was done by many scientists 30 or more years ago, the idea for the LCLS at SLAC really got started 20 years ago, when 146 scientists from around the world gathered here in 1992 – from Feb. 24 to Feb. 27 – for the Workshop on Fourth Generation Light Sources.

December 2, 2011 - February 24, 2012

Twenty years ago, December 12, 1991, the first World Wide Web server at SLAC (and first server outside of Europe) was successfully installed. SLAC's web site was later referred to by Sir Tim Berners-Lee as the “killer app” for the web.

October 20, 2011 - December 2, 2011

On October 20, 2006, SLAC broke ground for the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the world's first X-ray free-electron laser. Only 5 years ago and already it is producing world-class science.

October 4, 2011 - October 20, 2011

It's Nobel season again. Thirty-five years ago, Burton Richter got the call. He and Samuel Ting (MIT) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the Ψ/J particle.

Burton Richter 1976

September 15, 2011 - October 4, 2011

Twenty years ago, September 1991, SLAC physicist Paul Kunz brought word from CERN of the World Wide Web's existence to SLAC. He shared the news with Louise Addis of the SLAC Library. Paul and Louise immediately saw the tool's potential to allow members of the particle physics community easier access to SPIRES, a heavily used database of scientific literature. From there it spread to the entire world...

August 10,2011 - September 15, 2011

Twenty years ago, August 1991, Paul Ginsparg, a theoretical physicist, started the first e-print archive at hep-th@xxx.lanl.gov and invited fellow string theorists to deposit the TeX source for their new preprints by e-mail. New preprints were announced and distributed by listserv making it possible for any physicist on the Internet to keep up with the preprint literature.

June 20, 2011 - August 10,2011

Five years ago, June/19-23/2006, scientists used a ten-ton block of ice in End Station A to calibrate the Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA), a radio antenna array designed to fly over the South Pole on a NASA balloon to search for ultra-high-energy cosmic neutrinos.

June 2, 2011 - June 20, 2011

The first synchrotron radiation coronary angiogram recorded on a human subject occurred in May 1986 at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL).

The first synchrotron radiation coronary angiogram 
recorded on a human subject, May 1986. (ssr6)

May 20, 2011 - June 2, 2011

May 21, 1966, after five long years of massive and painstaking engineering and construction, the brand new SLAC two-mile linear accelerator was about to (it was hoped) deliver its first beam.

Director Panofsky pointing and Deputy Director Matt 
Sands looking on as the beam hits Sector 1

May 5, 2011 - May 20, 2011

Thirty-five years ago, in early May, charmed mesons were discovered at SPEAR by a SLAC-LBL group. On May 3 Gerson Goldhaber began to see a narrow peak at 1.87 GeV while François Pierre saw a similar spike in another graph. On May 5 they sent around a joint memorandum to the collaboration. On May 8 Goldhaber phoned Sheldon Glashow, one of the principal founding fathers of charm, to inform him of the evidence in confidence. On June 8, the group issued a press release to announce that the long-sought "charmed" particle had been found.

Read more...

April 1, 2011 - May 5, 2011

SLAC Director Persis Drell observes that change is nothing new for staff who have been at SLAC for 20 or 30 or 40 years. "In fact, on an absolute scale, our pace of change has actually slowed down from the early days. ... The history of SLAC is a collection of miracles driven by the wits of the wonderful SLAC staff who work there."

W.K.H. (Pief) Panofsky and Felix Bloch at SLAC Site Dedication, 8/10/1962 (mm6-25)

March 17, 2011 - April 1, 2011

March 17 marks two important anniversaries for the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, jointly located at SLAC and Stanford University. Eight years ago KIPAC itself was inaugurated with a grant from Fred Kavli and the Kavli Foundation, while Pehong and Adele Chen provided for an endowed directorship, held from its inception by SLAC and Stanford astrophysicist Roger Blandford. Three years later, March 17, 2006 saw the dedication of the Kavli Building. Read more

Kavli Building

February 24, 2011 - March 17, 2011

In February 1986, at the urging of the American Institute of Physics, the SLAC History Project was initiated with a records survey in all administrative groups.

SLAC History Project Do Not Destroy sticker

Under the direction of Bill Kirk, Assistant to the Director, the History Project used a survey to identify important records, created an inventory database (SLACHIST), established a physical archives, and initiated an oral history program. Staff of the Project included Bill Kirk, Louise Addis, and Marie LaBelle.

January 25, 2011 - February 23, 2011

On February 10, 1966, a ceremony was held at SLAC to place the last bolt -- the "golden bolt" -- in the two-mile-long accelerator, making the underground device one physical unit for the first time.

L. A. Mohr putting in the final

Even though construction was completed in February, sectional testing of the linac continued through May of 1966, when the first beam successfully traveled the entire length of the linac.

November 9, 2010 - January 25, 2011

On November 9, 2000, President Bill Clinton named Sidney D. Drell as a winner of the Enrico Fermi Award, given for a lifetime of achievement in the field of nuclear energy. The citation recognized Drell for "his major contributions to arms control and national security in studies showing that a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty is compatible with maintaining the safety and reliability of U.S. nuclear weapons; and for providing practical and innovative solutions to national security problems and nuclear weapons safety in general. He has also made major contributions to our understanding of elementary particles."

October 13, 2010

It's National Fossil Day. Pay a visit to Paleoparadoxia, a rare herbivorous marine mammal, at the SLAC Visitor Center

October 6, 2010 - November 9, 2010

(with interruption on October 13 for National Fossil Day)

It's Nobel season and two of SLAC's Nobelists mark significant anniversaries this year.

  • 35th: Discovery of the tau lepton by Martin Perl and collaborators at SLAC's SPEAR
  • 20th: Nobel Prize awarded to SLAC's Richard Taylor, Jerome Friedman (MIT), and Henry Kendall (MIT) for investigations of deep inelastic scattering at SLAC's End Station A
  • 15th: Nobel Prize awarded to Martin Perl for discovery of the tau lepton (see above)

For more information see our Nobel page and the SLAC Virtual Visitor Center.

June 23, 2010 - October 6, 2010

Fifteen years ago in June 1995, members of the Homebrew Computer Club reunited at SLAC for the taping of a PBS television documentary. Homebrew began meeting at SLAC 35 years ago in 1975.

May 28, 2010 - June 23, 2010

May 28, 1970: Jack Goad, long-time employee in Manufacturing and Fabrication's Light Machine Shop was SLAC's first retiree.

April 27, 2010 - May 28, 2010

Has it really been five years since Archimedes made his appearance at SLAC?

Using SLAC science for heritage preservation was of great interest to the archives world.

April 1, 2010 - April 27, 2010

Did SLAC host ghosts 30 and 35 years ago?

March 2, 2010 - March 31, 2010

On February 28, 2000 NASA announced the award to Stanford University for development of a space-based gamma ray telescope named GLAST. The telescope was to be a collaboration of NASA, the Department of Energy, and five non-US nations. The management of the project was to be centered at SLAC.

GLAST is now the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.

February 17, 2010 - March 1, 2010

Forty years ago this month French President Georges Pompidou was the first head of state to visit SLAC while in power. The President arrived by helicopter on the SLAC Green on Friday, February 27, 1970.

December 8, 2009 - February 17, 2010

In December 1991 the web became truly worldwide when SLAC launched the first web site in North America.

November 1, 2009 - December 8, 2009

Thirty-five years ago this month the world of physics was dazzled when two separate experiments at SLAC and at Brookhaven independently discovered the first of a new set of particle states, the J/Psi particle. The events were dubbed the November Revolution.

October 21, 2009 - November 1, 2009

Twenty years ago this month the Bay Area was struck by the Loma Prieta earthquake. Read about the effect on SLAC and its recovery in "SLAC Survives a Pretty Big One" in the December 1989 issue of the SLAC Beam Line. Other local archives share memories:

October 19, 2009 - October 20, 2009

New Archives Month Contest! Share the inside story on working at this lab and celebrate the many and varied contributions of all sorts of specialists to its daily science and science support activities. Do you have a significant item in your work area right now? Something you use or have used - or see or have seen - on a regular basis that has special meaning to you in your work? Take a photograph of the item and write a few words explaining its significance. See our contest page for more details.

October 15, 2009 - October 19, 2009

Twenty years ago this weekend the Bay Area was struck by the Loma Prieta earthquake. Read about the effect on SLAC and its recovery in "SLAC Survives a Pretty Big One" in the December 1989 issue of the SLAC Beam Line.

October 1, 2009 - October 15, 2009

New Archives Month Contest! Share the inside story on working at this lab and celebrate the many and varied contributions of all sorts of specialists to its daily science and science support activities. Do you have a significant item in your work area right now? Something you use or have used - or see or have seen - on a regular basis that has special meaning to you in your work? Take a photograph of the item and write a few words explaining its significance. See our contest page for more details.

August 21, 2009 - September 30, 2009

Final payment from AEC to Stanford 
University

On August 21, 1969, the Atomic Energy Commission, predecessor to today’s Department of Energy, made the final payment to Stanford University for the construction of the original SLAC linac, experimental endstations and supporting infrastructure. Associate Director of the Business Services Division Fred V. L. Pindar (seated, second from left) is seen signing a bit of paperwork while members of the AEC and SLAC staffs look on. Standing directly behind Fred Pindar (wearing sunglasses) is Win Field, SLAC staff counsel.

August 13, 2009 - August 21, 2009

BaBar was dedicated on August 13, 1999 with a celebration honoring international collaboration. Participants, sporting souvenir BaBar caps, gathered on the SLAC Green to listen to speakers including Martha Krebs, Director of DOE's Office of Science as well as respresentatives from SLAC and the collaboration.

August 1, 2009 - August 13, 2009

On August 1, 1964, Sheldon Glashow and James Bjorken published a paper in Physics Letters in which they coined the term "charm" for a theoretical new particle, the charm quark. The paper is cited more than 550 times in the SPIRES-HEP database.

May 1, 2009 - July 31, 2009

35th Anniversary

X-ray science at SLAC began with the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Project (SSRP). A successful pilot project at SPEAR led to the National Science Foundation funding the SSRP which began operations in May 1974, 8 months ahead of schedule. SSRP was the world's first synchrotron radiation hard x-ray light source based on an electron storage ring and led to a revolution in x-ray science.

April 14, 2009 - April 30, 2009

Saturday, April 11 marked the 20th anniversary of the first recording of a Z° particle by the Stanford Linear Collider. The feature article in the April 1989 issue of the SLAC employee newsletter, SLAC Beam Line, crowed, "The long wait is over," but Burton Richter's lab director's column in the same issue cautioned staff that the SLC still had a long road ahead of it.

It was 20 years ago this month, in that same issue of SLAC Beam Line, that the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory announced a major advance in the imaging of human coronary arteries employing dual beams of synchrotron radiation produced in a dedicated run at the SPEAR storage ring.

Read the entire April 1989 issue of the SLAC Beam Line online.

January 9, 2009 - April 14, 2009

We continue to reap the rewards of our Archives Month contest last October. Just before the winter shutdown, Ray Wallace, formerly of Power Conversion, brought in a stack of newsletters that he has saved over the years.

Ray Wallace with stack of newsletters

The contest is over, but we are still accepting donations. The list has been updated.

November 10, 2008 - January 9, 2009

And the winners of the random drawing are...

  • Cherrill Spencer
  • David Aston
  • John Halperin
  • Ruth McDunn

We thank everyone who participated in our Archives Month contest. We received 112 gap-filling newsletter issues from present and former lab staff. For more details see SLAC Today (11/4/2008).

Cherrill Spencer with special commendation prize

Cherrill Spencer also earned a special commendation prize for the highest number of valid entries which filled 75 gaps!

October 1, 2008 - November 10, 2008

The SLAC Archives & History Office is celebrating American Archives Month (October 2008) with a contest to help complete our collection of SLAC published newsletter. Archives staff have identified gaps in our holdings of SLAC popular periodical publications—like SLAC News, Beam Line, The Interaction Point (TIP), SSRL Users Newsletter, Computing@SLAC, etc.

May 6, 2008 - September 30, 2008

We are thrilled that Olof Hallonsten, PhD student at Lund University in Sweden, is diligently researching part of SLAC's history of photon science. His aim is to explore the multiple and complex relationships between scientific conduct in a laboratory and the characteristics of instrumentation and infrastructure through the case of synchrotron light facilities. He is using SSRL, MAX-lab, and ESRF as his case studies. We look forward to the completion of his thesis.

For a peek at his work see “Why large research infrastructures can be built despite small investments? MAX-lab and the Swedish research infrastructure,” part of the SISTER working paper series, co-written with Mats Benner.

9/15/2009 UPDATE: Olof successfully defended his thesis Small science on big machines last Friday.

February 7, 2008 - May 6, 2008

Wolfgang "Pief" K. H. Panofsky died of a heart attack on the evening of September 24, 2007. Pief was the founding director of the lab and led SLAC until 1984. He remained active and engaged until the day of his death.

September 25, 2007 - February 7, 2008

Wolfgang "Pief" K. H. Panofsky died of a heart attack on the evening of September 24, 2007. Pief was the founding director of the lab and led SLAC until 1984. He remained active and engaged until the day of his death. We will miss him very, very much. As a way of celebrating and remembering him, we'd like to collect any of your "Pief Stories" that you would like to share with us, be they funny, serious, casual, profound, or somewhere in-between. Staff Memorial for Dr. Panofsky, September 28, 2007 (streaming video)

W. K. H. Mozley, Panofsky, Richter Panofsky presenting Project M Chinese delegation Chinese delegation Panofsky and Bloch Panofsky and Budker W.K.H.

May 2005 - September 25, 2007

Welcome to our newly renovated web site. Be sure to check out the new Digital Resources and Oral History pages.

 

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Last Updated: 08/23/2013