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Archives, History & Records Office

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


Archives E-mail: slacarc[@]
RM E-mail: recordsmgt[@]
Phone: (650)926-3091
Post: SLAC Archives and History Office, M/S 82, 2575 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

Office Location: Bldg.50, Rm.122


July 11, 2022 -  

SLAC Linear Collider (SLC) and SLAC Large Detector (SLD)

Explore the history of the world's first -- and so far only -- linear collider, along with its massive, purpose-built detector.

September 9, 2021 - July 11, 2022

In memory of Edward Seppi, 1930-2021

The following is adopted from an obituary published on

Edward Joseph Seppi was born in Price, Utah, on Dec. 16, 1930 to Joseph and Fortunata Seppi. He grew up in Provo, Utah and attended Brigham Young University. After graduating in 1952, he went to work as a staff physicist for General Electric at the Hanford Atomic Works in Richland, Washington. While working there, he completed a master's degree in Physics at the University of Idaho.

In 1958, Ed moved with his family to Pasadena to work on a doctorate in physics at the California Institute of Technology. After he received his Ph.D. in 1962 for his dissertation on nuclear-resonance, the Seppis moved to the Washington, D.C area, where he worked as staff physicist for the Institute for Defense Analyses.

In 1964 they moved to Portola Valley, and Ed took a position at the new Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, where he directed the development and construction of the beam switchyard and then was involved in setting up many of the pathbreaking experiments conducted at the accelerator. His children and grandchildren have fond memories of tours of the accelerator and stories of the experiments there, which led to a greater understanding of our subatomic-level world.

In 1973 Ed took a position at Varian Associates where his work for the next 35 years focused on medical imaging before retiring in 2012. In addition to his career achievements, Ed was a devoted husband and father, known as "Mr. Fix It."

Ed died peacefully in his home in Portola Valley, California, on Aug. 30, 2021, attended by his daughter, Cindy, and close friend Julie Tremelling. He is survived by his two brothers, Ned (Patricia) of Findlay, OH, and Ernest (Elaine) of Modesto, CA; his three children, 15 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

Memorial Services will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, at 10 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1105 Valparaiso Avenue in Menlo Park and on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, at 1 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3396 N 900 W in Pleasant Grove, UT.

June 9, 2021 - September 9, 2021

In memory of Romulo Castro, 1934-2021

The following is adopted from an obituary published on

Romulo Peralta Castro lived a life dedicated to his faith and family. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend.

Romme was born in Manila, Philippines, on September 6, 1934. He was the second youngest of seven siblings born to Jose Castro Sr. and Francisca Dancel. Romme graduated from Mapua Institute of Technology where he earned his degree in electrical engineering. He worked as an office engineer for the U.S. Naval Construction Office at Clark Air Base. While working at Clark Air Base, he met the love of his life, Carmelita Estores. They married at Pope Pius XII Church in Manila in 1970. Their daughters, Rachelle and Ruth Ann, were born in Quezon City, Philippines. The family emigrated to the United States in 1976. They purchased their first home in South San Francisco, where they lived for 23 years.

Romme worked at SLAC in Menlo Park, California, as an electrical designer in the High Energy Physics Department from 1976 to 1996. He enjoyed his years working at Stanford and was proud of his work.

In 2000, he moved to Vallejo where he enjoyed the peace and serenity of retirement. Romme was active in the Salinians of Northern California and served as president 2004-2005 during the 25th Silver Anniversary of the association. He also enjoyed spending time with his friends and family. He loved going to church and enjoyed traveling the world with Carmelita.

On May 13, 2021, Romme passed away peacefully. He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Carmelita Castro; his eldest daughter, Rachelle Rheault and son-in-law Anthony Rheault; and his youngest daughter, Ruth Ann Castro and son-in-law James Jacobson. He has three wonderful grandchildren, Sophia, Logan and Hazel.

August 19, 2020 - June 8, 2021

In memory of Eugene B. Rickansrud and Ronald D. Jamtgaard

Eugene B. Rickansrud, 1925-2020

Gene served in SLAC's Business Services Division, first as Assistant Director, then as Associate Director for over 30 years. "A man of many hats, Gene's expertise extend[ed] also into technical fields." On the occasion of his retirement in 1993, SLAC Director and Nobel Laureate Burton Richter noted: “[Gene's] common sense approach has served us all very well and [his] vast experience and store of knowledge will be sorely missed."

Ronald Dean Jamtgaard, May 2, 1933 - May 4, 2020

As SLAC’s first Budget Officer, Jamtgaard was praised by SLAC's founding director, W.K.H. Panofsky for an excellent job translating the large variety of SLAC’s research programs and operational needs into financial requirements and persuasive terms to AEC for budgetary allocation. After leaving SLAC in 1967, Jamtgaard concentrated his career on the computing field, serving various positions at Stanford, including the Stanford Center for Information Processing. Panofsky later noted in 1976: “His work here was respected and we were sorry to lose him.” Please sign the online guest book.

Past Spotlights

June 19, 2020 - August 18, 2020

In memory of William (Bill) Johnson

Long-time SLAC employee William (Bill) Johnson is remembered by his colleagues who speak very highly of him to this day. The following obituary is provided courtesy of Jane Johnson.

William Brulé Johnson died peacefully at home on May 31, 2020 from complications of multiple system atrophy. He was surrounded by Jane, his wife of 57 years, and by daughters Rebecca Hogenhuis and Melissa Johnson. He is also survived by grandchildren Alexander and Valentina Hogenhuis.

Bill was born on July 21, 1934, in Rawlins, WY. He moved at a young age to Southern California but continued to spend summers in Wyoming with family. After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in Physics in 1956, he returned to California for graduate work in particle physics at UC Berkeley, receiving a PhD in 1963. That same year, he married Jane and joined researchers at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center where he remained for his entire career. His work in high energy physics centered on hadronic spectroscopy with Group B, evolving from bubble chambers to the LASS detector. Along with international collaborators, he authored or co-authored some 75 scientific papers. Bill recognized early on the importance of the computing revolution in analyzing the increasingly large data samples, what we now call “big data.” Eventually, his abiding interest in scientific computing led him to move away from experimental data analysis and into the IT department at SLAC where he led groups on the development of scientific computing until his retirement.

Bill was a loving husband, a patient father and grandfather, a true renaissance man with wide interests in literature and music. He was also an avid tennis player, runner, wine connoisseur and maker, amateur astronomer, backpacker as well as witty punster. A thoughtful, quiet man, Bill didn’t speak much, but what he said was always appreciated and respected. It came from a brilliant, principled, and extraordinarily kind man whose penetrating blue eyes welcomed and reassured. He provided an outstanding example of a life well lived and will continue to inspire all of us who knew and loved him.

June 18,2020 - March 13, 2020

In memory of Lewis Keller

Lewis Keller, who worked at SLAC for more than 40 years, died March 4 at the age of 81. Below is a tribute written by his colleagues Tom Markiewicz and Ted Fieguth.

Lew was born in 1938 in Valparaiso, Indiana. He and his wife Beatrice and their daughters, Kathryn and Laura, moved to California in 1970 to work at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. He had attended Valparaiso University, where he and Beatrice had met, and had gone on to earn his PhD for work in high energy physics at Argonne National Laboratory.

Lew came to SLAC as a particle physicist, but soon after he became head of the Experimental Facilities Department in the Technical Division, where he thrived for the next 20 years.

His steady, respectful and composed personality was highly regarded by his team of engineers, physicists, technicians, sub-group leaders and administrators. His responsibilities included analyzing all new experimental proposals for compatibility with SLAC’s resources, budget and radiation safety. Wolfgang “Pief” Panofsky, SLAC’s director at the time, took Lew’s analysis into account when deciding which experiments to approve. It then became Lew’s responsibility to provide all necessary resources, from construction, fast electronics and data acquisition, and extra manpower support for the successful operation of each and every approved experiment in the Research Yard.

Many experiments were successfully completed, and valuable physics results were published due to his stewardship. During that time Lew was invited to participate as a collaborator and contributed to many of SLAC’s published results. In the 1970s and 1980s, SLAC’s physics program became focused on colliding electrons and positrons. SPEAR and PEP were followed by construction of the SLAC Linear Collider (SLC). For SLC, in the 1980s, the linac was modified to produce very low emittance electrons and positrons to be transported to a single pass collision point at the termini of two buried arcing beamlines. Lew provided EFD resources in support of these projects.

In 1992 Lew took early retirement to work at the Superconducting Super Collider, but returned to SLAC in 1993 after Congress cancelled the project. Retired or not, Lew contributed continuously to projects that benefitted from his expertise. This began with E-158, a 1997 proposal to use high-intensity polarized electrons to measure the weak mixing angle via Møller scattering. Lew also spent a great deal of time helping to design the radiation safety shielding and calculating the radiation dose rates of muons behind End Station A (ESA), and was an author on the 2005 publication. This was followed by Lew’s recruitment into SLAC’s Next Linear Collider (NLC) group, where he designed the accelerator’s muon spoiler system and participated in Snowmass 2001. After the 2004 technology choice for a superconducting linac, Lew became the muon background reduction expert for the International Linear Collider (ILC).

Lew was also adept at using the FLUKA simulation program and contributed to the design of the collimation system and beam dumps of the ILC, focusing on device survivability. When SLAC took on a role in developing a prototype low resistivity high power collimator for the Large Hadron Collider as part of the US LHC Accelerator Research Program, Lew worked closely with the mechanical engineering staff to choose materials and understand their response to possible accidental beam aborts. After SLAC was asked to contribute to the Muon Accelerator Program, Lew again used his favorite transport and energy deposition codes to help SLAC develop an independent analysis of the viability of a muon collider. In an offshoot of this work, he developed a design for a low emittance muon source based on positron annihilation. A week before his death, in the context of a newly approved project to send LCLS-II dark current beam bunches to ESA for a dark matter experimental program, he submitted a design to produce muons for detector calibration purposes.

Lew’s even temper, physics insight and practical knowledge made him invaluable to his colleagues and a pleasure to work with.

Lew’s obituary was published in The Mercury News, and it offers a convenient way to provide messages to Lew’s two daughters, Laura and Kathy, and their families and relatives. Please visit the messages section provided.

A memorial service will be held at the Stanford Golf Course on Saturday, March 21, at 2:30 p.m. All are invited and written and spoken tributes are welcomed.

October 10, 2019 - March 13, 2020  

In memory of Alonzo “Al” Ashley

It is with sadness that we share the passing of Al Ashley on Friday, Oct. 4.

Al’s legacy at SLAC began when he joined the lab as the minority employment and training representative in 1968. Over the next 31 years, he was dedicated to encouraging underrepresented youth to pursue STEM fields and bringing them to SLAC through internship programs and recruitment efforts. He developed several student science programs, including what later became known as the DOE’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program, and formed partnerships with the National Society of Black Engineers, the Tech Museum of Innovation, and historically black colleges and universities. After his retirement he continued to work tirelessly on teaching and mentoring youth, and helping to place students in summer internships and research programs.

In 2005 he received the National Science Foundation Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. To this day, SLAC runs the Alonzo W. Ashley Internship Program that was named in his honor.


Tribute from Dorian Bohler

I met Al when I was a sophomore in college at a National Society of Black Physicists meeting. There were five of us, all physics majors and all without internships because we didn’t know how to go to the booths and sell ourselves. Al walked up to us and asked us what our majors were, what we were interested in, and then told us to hand him our resumes. He said, “I’ll get each of you an internship today,” and immediately got on the phone.

He got four of my friends into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and me into NASA Ames.

It was my first internship and it turned the light on for me as a young scientist: I got exposure to a lab research environment, met people who became mentors in the field, and it led to my first visit to SLAC.

I think what was special about Al was that he kept in contact with me and each of the other students over the years. Two or three times a year, he would call to check in on us. He knew exactly where we were in our careers, and when we went through graduate school you could count on him to connect you with people who had the resources to help you.

After grad school, he called for a check-in and encouraged me to apply for the Al Ashley Internship Program at SLAC. Getting accepted into the program marked the official start of my career.

His continued support over the years has made a big impact on me. In fact, we spoke not three weeks ago: We talked about how I could continue his legacy at SLAC in my own way, and he told me about the things he’d been up to and the activities coming up – he was still going strong.

His passing was a big loss to me personally and to the many individuals he mentored and helped over his career which spanned 50 years. I hope others use him as an example to create more equally represented workspaces. I would like to wish his family my sincerest condolences.

- Dorian


Al is survived by his wife Wanda and step-daughter Kia, his two brothers, two grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. A funeral service will be held on October 11 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

August 26, 2019 - October 10, 2019

Tom Elioff, who played a leading role in building U.S. particle accelerators for nearly half a century, dies at 85

Tom Elioff, an accelerator physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who played a leading role in managing the construction of particle accelerators used for groundbreaking research at Berkeley Lab and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, died June 27 in Berkeley at the age of 85.

Known for his deep expertise and skillful management of large projects, an engaging and effective way of working with people and an abiding love of fishing and hunting, Elioff’s accomplishments stretched over nearly half a century.

He worked on early accelerators at Berkeley Lab, including the Bevatron and 184-Inch Cyclotron, where he worked directly with Nobel laureates Ernest O. Lawrence, Owen Chamberlain, Emilio Segrè and Edward McMillan, whom he considered an important mentor.

Elioff was also instrumental in the construction of the PEP and PEP-II particle colliders at SLAC, worked on the Superconducting Super Collider, and after retiring from Berkeley Lab came back to SLAC to manage construction of the SPEAR3 particle storage ring at the heart of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), which was brought in three months ahead of schedule and within budget.

"He was such a great guy," recalled SLAC's John Seeman, who worked with Elioff on the PEP-II project. "He worked very hard, was always thinking of what needed doing next, was a straight shooter, and always kept the project first rather than himself. He worked on more accelerators than anyone else I know. He always had good things to say about everyone, but kept them on a true course."

Elioff's daughter, Amanda Elioff, an engineering manager for the engineering and design firm WSP, said, "He really loved the building of these things--watching them come together, with all of their different components. As well as the physicists, he enjoyed working with the other disciplines--particularly the engineering groups. He had really special relationships with the people who worked in the fabrication shops. I think the feeling was mutual."

Fishing and physics

Thomas "Tommy" Elioff was born Dec. 11, 1933 in Monroe, La. to Elisa and Michael Elioff, who had immigrated from Bulgaria. His father worked as a welder on natural gas pipelines, and "often came home with parts of his khaki clothing burned away," Elioff recalled in an autobiographical booklet he and his wife put together in 2014. His father started taking him out into the bayous to fish when he was 5 or 6--the start of a lifelong passion for fishing--and he tended chickens, worked in his mother's large garden and joined a family-wide effort to help his older brother, Bob, recover from polio.

During World War II, Elioff made friends with pilots training at nearby Selman Field and began building free-flight and radio-controlled model planes, winning a competition with a plane that reached 160 mph. In high school he gravitated toward math and science classes, played baseball and softball, participated in drama and debate and began dreaming of getting a PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Elioff got his bachelor’s degree in 1954 from Louisiana Polytechnical Institute, where he met his future wife, Ione Hill; they would marry in 1956 after she received her master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

Then, with a Phi Kappa Phi scholarship making it possible to fulfill his dream, he started graduate studies at UC-Berkeley.

Living a dream

Elioff immediately went to visit the university's Radiation Laboratory, which would eventually become known as Berkeley Lab, and sought out the lab's director, Ernest O. Lawrence. Lawrence didn't ordinarily allow first-year grad students to work with the lab’s accelerators, but when he heard that Elioff had built model airplanes and repaired bicycles, he declared the young man a perfect fit, Elioff later recalled.

He began helping the team of engineers that ran the lab's 184-inch Cyclotron, including arranging beam lines used to treat cancer patients, and in his spare time went mountain climbing, took up skiing and helped out on a commercial fishing boat, the Lucky Day. He also assisted with experiments at the lab's Bevatron synchrotron that discovered the antiproton and led to a Nobel Prize in physics for Segrè and Chamberlain in 1959.

After receiving his PhD in 1960, Elioff continued to work at the Bevatron, where he led development and construction of 10 external beamlines, created an experimental users group and wrote a handbook. He was appointed to the Berkeley Lab senior staff in 1966.

In 1970 Elioff took a two-year leave to work for the Atomic Energy Commission, which oversaw the national labs that would later become part of the U.S. Department of Energy. There he oversaw the Fermilab construction program as well as development at other accelerator labs.

Returning to Berkeley Lab in 1973, he served as a group leader in the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division.

A collaboration with SLAC

It was in 1977 that he became involved in projects at SLAC. The first one was PEP, the Positron-Electron Project, which had five detectors to record what happens when accelerated electrons and positrons collide. Building PEP was a joint Berkeley Lab/SLAC project, and he served as deputy director.

Pier Oddone, a former Berkeley Lab physicist and deputy director who was director of Fermilab from 2005 to 2013, said, "I worked closely with Tommy in the first incarnation of PEP in the 1970s. He was in charge of the conventional facilities, and I was the coordinator for the experimental program that used those facilities. Tommy was already an experienced manager and I was still wet behind the ears in my first significant management job. We developed a great working relationship. I learned many useful skills from him."

When that work was completed in 1980, Elioff returned to Berkeley Lab, where he directed the National Center for Advanced Materials and led a group that worked on conceptual design and cost estimates for the Advanced Light Source synchrotron.

The SSC years

In 1984, when planning began for the Superconducting Super Collider--an underground proton collider that would have been 54 miles around, twice the circumference of today's Large Hadron Collider in Europe--Elioff got involved from the start, representing Berkeley Lab on the Central Design Group and serving as head of project planning and management. He went on to work for three years on the next stage of accelerator development at the SSC construction site in Texas, where his daughter Amanda was also working as a civil engineer for Parsons Brinkerhoff (now WSP). His wife, Ione, also moved south during that time to take a job as president of Delgado Community College in New Orleans.

"It was really great to be able to spend more time with my dad," Amanda Elioff said of their time in Texas. "He lived in a hotel and he would come over to my apartment in Dallas and we would go out for oysters and beer." But with construction well underway, Congress shut down the project in 1993. The cancellation of that project "really affected" her father, Amanda Elioff said, because he had invested so much effort into it.

Building a B factory

Tom Elioff returned to Berkeley Lab, only to be invited back to SLAC a year later by Jonathan Dorfan, director of the PEP-II project, to become deputy director of the project--another collaboration between SLAC and Berkeley Lab along with Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

This upgrade to the PEP collider added a new low-energy ring to accelerate positrons above the existing high-energy ring, which accelerated electrons. Meanwhile, a consortium of nine nations designed and built a 1,200-ton particle detector known as BaBar to record the results of interactions. PEP-II and BaBar were collectively known as the B factory, designed to produce and record large numbers of B meson particles for a range of studies, including exploring the still-unanswered question of why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.

PEP-II was dedicated in 1998, and in 2000 the project team received the DOE Program and Management Award.

"Tom was an uncommonly wonderful man with whom we at SLAC had the great honor of sharing a long, and highly fruitful, collaboration," said Dorfan, who went on to serve as director of SLAC. "Decency, integrity and humanity were complemented by Tommy's exceptional technical and management skills. Everybody loved Tommy--how could one not? He had a uniquely effective way of breaking down complex problems and selecting practical and convincing solutions. This proved invaluable when dealing with Washington."

In short, Dorfan said, "Tommy was the ideal leader for a federally funded construction project, as his countless successes in such roles proved."

SPEAR3: A "last hurrah"

Elioff returned to Berkeley Lab in 1998 and formally retired after 44 years at the lab. But he had one more adventure ahead --his "last accelerator hurrah," he called it--and once again, it took him to SLAC, where Director Burton Richter asked him to direct the SPEAR3 project, which would upgrade the 30-year-old particle storage ring at the heart of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource.

Keith Hodgson, a professor at Stanford and SLAC who was then director of the Synchrotron Division at SLAC, recalled meeting Elioff in 1999, just after the project was funded by DOE and the National Institutes of Health.

"Tom was a remarkable person--one of those people who just had an aura about him," Hodgson said. "He was a very gentlemanly, kindly soul; genuinely warm, kind of low-key and also an excellent mentor. It was pretty obvious that Tom was just fantastically talented and exactly the kind of person we needed to lead the SPEAR3 project and make it successful."

The project was completed three months ahead of schedule, with only an 11-month interruption in user operations for the major installation and within its $58 million budget. In 2004, then-DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham presented the project management team with the Secretary’s Excellence in Acquisition Award.

"Tom brought a very special quality to the project," said Robert Hettel, who was Elioff's deputy on the project and now directs the upgrade to the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. "He was very experienced in large projects, well-known and respected by DOE, trusted by Burt, Jonathan and SLAC because of cooperative relationships over decades, and, perhaps most importantly for the SSRL team, bringing project directorship with a light hand and a certain Southern genteel demeanor that inspired us... He was and is a role model for me to this day."

In objective terms, Hettel added, SPEAR3 was not a huge project, "but for us, SPEAR3 was really big potatoes," adding a suite of improvements that initiated a new phase of operations for SSRL and rejuvenated X-ray science at the lab.

At the SPEAR3 dedication in 2004, which marked the end of Elioff's full-time accelerator work, Pat Dehmer, then director of DOE Basic Energy Sciences, presented him with the DOE Distinguished Associate Award "for your many accomplishments and leadership in the project management of major accelerator construction for the Department of Energy" over nearly half a century.

Elioff is survived by his wife, Ione Elioff of Berkeley, and daughter Amanda Elioff of Pasadena.

Services have not yet been announced. The family will be donating to Phi Kappa Phi in his memory.

April 20, 2019 - August 26, 2019

Panofsky Centennial (1919-2019)

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang K. H. "Pief" Panofsky, SLAC's first director

The Archives, History & Records Office presents the Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky Papers Exhibit created using Spotlight at Stanford, which integrates with Stanford Libraries' discovery and preservation infrastructure. (Spotlight is available to the Stanford community to enhance user engagement with digital materials. Learn more about Panofsky's life and career here; learn more about Spotlight from their service team.

December 13, 2018 - April 20, 2019

In memory of Rita Taylor ( 1928 -2018)

Rita Taylor, 1981      Rita Taylor, 1999

(The following tribute to Rita is revised from a November 1990 Rene Donaldson article, in SLAC's "The Interaction Point" newsletter, written on the occasion of Dick Taylor's Nobel Prize in Physics)

...Rita Taylor arrived at the SLAC Library in August 1964 fresh from setting up a model library for the linear accelerator in Orsay, France. She proceeded to apply her experience here, where, as preprint librarian, she helped to build a world-class collection. From 1964 until her retirement in August of 1991, she moved with grace from the world of card files to the world of online databases, while giving professional talks and advice about preprint handling to many other librarians. Rita also edited the "Anti-Preprint" section of "Preprints in particles and Fields" periodical, and tracked elusive high-energy physics conferences to their secret lairs for announcement in the "PPF Conference Previews" section.

It wasn't always easy for Rita to pursue her own interests while taking care of their son Ted and managing the Taylor household, especially during the years when Dick was building and then participating in the Nobel-winning experiment. One way for her to see more of Dick was to prepare and take dinner to him and the other members of his shift. Some of Dick's colleagues still remember Rita's stews and soups, and Barbara Cottrell recently reminded Rita that she made the rest of the wives look bad by bringing Coquilles St. Jacques one night. And, later, just hanging around the experimenters infused Rita with excitement and gave her an idea of what Dick was doing.

Opera buffs, however, know Rita best as the endlessly resourceful producer for Savoyards, the Stanford Gilbert and Sullivan opera company. A common interest the Taylors have shared since college is theater and opera. They were both instrumental in the early years of Savoyards, and Rita remembers the performance of Iolanthe where the capes were made from the old Mem Aud curtain that they bought for $1.05. Now Savoyards has grown and has a budget many times what it had then. Rita remained active in Savoyards for 15 years, and during that time, if Gilbert and Sullivan wrote it, Rita undoubtedly produced it.

In a 1990 interview at the University of Alberta, Dick Taylor answered a reporter who asked him if he thought it would have been possible to win the Nobel Prize had he gone to the University of British Columbia instead of the University of Alberta. It didn't take Dick long to reply that, yes, he thought he might have won the Prize if he had attended the University of British Columbia, but not had he married any other woman. Clearly, in his response, Dick summed up the contributions Rita made over the years, not only to his career but also to the SLAC and Stanford communities.

See also: Addis, Louise: "Poor Little Buttercup, 'Bye"... The Interaction Point, August 1991, p.5. (On the occasion of Rita Taylor's retirement from SLAC.)

October 19, 2018 - December 12, 2018

In Memory of Paul Kunz,   1942 - 2018
Paul Kunz, 2011

After completing a PhD in Physics at Princeton University, in 1974 Paul Kunz began his 35-year career at SLAC as a Research Associate in David Leith's Group B. Kunz made many important and dramatic contributions to SLAC physics and computing in his time at the lab that were outlined in some detail in the tribute statement made on the occasion of his 30-year service award ceremony:

  • Leading the group that put the LASS data acquisition software and hardware together
  • Inventing the 168/E microprocessor. The first of the HEP designed processors for data processing
  • Leading the group that put the first data processing farm together using the 168/E processors
  • Forming a collaboration with DESY for use of 168/E processors on line for the Tasso experiment
  • Forming a collaboration with CERN to build 168/E processors. They were used for the UA1 "express line" with great success. The experiment led to CERN's first Nobel Prize
  • Forming a collaboration with CERN to design and build 3081/E processors. It was the first use at SLAC and CERN of computer simulation techniques in design of hardware
  • Introduced the idea of putting processors in CAMAC crates and served as chair of the distributed intelligence in CAMAC subcommittee
  • Founding member of the IEEE Fastbus committee
  • Serving many years on the advisory committee of IEEE Nuclear Science Symposium. Played a pivotal role in making this conference the place to present papers on front-end electronics and data acquisition systems
  • Being one of the first adaptors of Rexx scripting language for IBM VM/CMS operating system outside of IBM. Wrote many useful scripts for command line and Xedit editor that were used world wide
  • Writing a front-end to the SLAC VM/CMS batch system that eventually became the standard at both SLAC and CERN
  • Serving on the Fermilab computing review committee which eventually led to modernization of their computing facilities
  • Being a visible promoter of wide area networking in the early days of BITNET
  • Serving on HEP networking review of DoE supported MFENet proposed networking initiative. Played a pivotal role in the rejection of the original plans which eventually led to the DOE adapting the current Internet protocols
  • Co-chairing the Computing in HEP conference (CHEP) of 1987 in Monterey. This was first conference in which papers on software applications were accepted and the first HEP conference where participants could read their e-mail. Paul also served on international advisory committee of CHEP conference for many years
  • Co-chairing the workshop on data structures in HEP held in Erice, Italy in 1990. This workshop was perhaps the beginning of HEP realizing it has to go beyond Fortran
  • Being an early adopter of object oriented programming (OO) in HEP
  • Being an early physicist adopter of UNIX desktop computing using NeXT computers. Paul managed up to 70 NeXT computers at SLAC
  • Presenting the only two papers on OO programming at the 1970 computing in HEP conference
  • Promoting the idea of using OO programming for detector simulation that led to the GISMo project at SLAC, and eventually to GEANT4
  • Promoting the use of UNIX and their Open Source tools for software development in HEP
  • Inventing the idea of using the CVS code management system over the Internet. The use of this idea has become fundamental in distributed software development not only in HEP but outside as well, including most Open Source projects
  • Promoting adoption of C++ as programming language for event reconstruction for BaBar which was the first HEP experiment to use C++. Other HEP experiments have followed BaBar's lead
  • Developing and teaching "C++ for Particle Physicist" class which has been very well received. It has been given 70 times to over 2400 students on four continents, and continues today
  • Installed the first World Wide Web server outside of Europe. This server has been called the "killer app" by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web. Thus, Paul brought the Web to America, and was instrumental in making SLAC the first US website. (Video interview)

After leaving SLAC, Kunz was an independent consultant (2008-2013) and a software auditor for nexB (2014-2018). Besides his many illustrious contributions to SLAC and the international HEP community, he was a champion BMW autocross driver, and, along with his wife Lynn Hum, a long-time member of the Bay Area BMW club. A past President of the club, Kunz also was a long-time volunteer instructor for its "car control for safety" course for teenager drivers.

CERN Courier obituary     June 7, 1999 video: Bringing The Web to America

Memorial arrangements are pending.

July 23, 2018 - October 19, 2018

In Memory of Charles Richard Dickens

   by Les Cottrell

Chuck Dickens, 1981

On July 15, Janet Dixon shared the message with friends and family that her husband Charles Richard Dickens, known as "Chuck" by people at SLAC, had passed away peacefully on July 14, 2018, at the age of 84.

"There was not any one condition that caused his death," she wrote. "It was more just a case of good living and old age."

Chuck was a first-generation American, born in Alameda, California, to parents who came from England.

He started work at SLAC with the Computation Group in 1966, before the lab's construction was completed. In 1969 he was appointed director of the SLAC Computation Center and then, upon the recommendation of a special search committee headed by Professor Edward McClusky of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Chuck was appointed as director of the Stanford Computation Center in 1971. He continued to lead SLAC's computer facility, taking on the responsibility for establishing general policies and long-range planning of the lab's computing needs. By 1980, he had turned his focus solely on SLAC, heading our Scientific Computing Services until his retirement. During his leadership, he oversaw huge advancements in the field of computing, including the introduction of several generations of IBM mainframes and operating systems, and the move from batch-only computing with teams of operators managing tapes, printers, card readers and consoles 24/7, to "lights-out operation" with interactive terminals, networking, the World Wide Web, Unix, and personal computers.

One of his favorite quotes was from a book by Jerome Friedman on data mining and statistics, which said: "Every time computing power increases by a factor of ten, we should totally rethink how and what we compute."

He retired in 1996 after three decades at SLAC, prompting a nationwide search for his replacement, but would return to celebrate milestone events like the 1998 shutdown party for SLAC's 17-year-old IBM Virtual Machine system or, most recently, my own retirement earlier this year.

Chuck was a great leader, setting the vision for the group and providing opportunities, resources, and encouragement to his people. He was also compassionate and understanding. Ken Martell once said, "My coolest recollection of Chuck is when we (I was a computer operator in the union) went on strike around 1973. We were blocking the intersection of Palm and Galvez on [Stanford] campus and I saw Chuck walking towards us. I thought, Oh [expletive], here goes my job! Instead, he handed out PB&J sandwiches to us. He said we looked kind of hungry standing in the hot street."

He will be missed.

Memorial Service (UPDATED): A Celebration of Chuck’ s life will be held at St. Augustine of Canterbury church on Saturday, September 29 at 2 p.m. 1800 Wildcat Blvd., Rocklin, CA with Pastor Liz Armstrong officiating. Memorial donations to Chuck’s memory can be made to the Tam Alumni Association, PO Box 992, San Ramon, CA 94583.

April 23, 2018 - July 23, 2018

Roland Sharpe, 1924-2018
Roland Sharpe

Roland L. Sharpe, the Supervising Engineer responsible for the original design and construction of SLAC, died on March 15, 2018 at 94. Sharpe was responsible for recommending both the current design (instead of the initially proposed two parallel tunnels design), as well as its present site. He later formed his own company and was in great demand internationally. SLAC reached out to Sharpe in 1994 and he served as a consultant for seismic work as well as new research facility construction.

Shepherding the building of a landmark facility

In 1959 the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) tasked Sharpe, who was with John Blume & Associates at that time, with reviewing the University’s proposal to construct a $107 million Two-Mile Linear Electron Accelerator research facility. Sharpe and his team completed a detailed feasibility study for the project with a cost estimate of $114 million. Upon Congressional approval and Stanford’s selection of Aetron-Blume-Atkinson to manage the project, Sharpe became the Technical Director, in charge of all engineering and architectural design and construction, except for that of the accelerator itself.

Sharpe worked closely with Panofsky and the physicists to develop an integrated workflow and schedule. A diplomatic manager, he insisted on written minutes “to avoid arguments later.” At SLAC’s formal dedication in September 1966, President Lyndon Johnson sent a telegram with "congratulations for completing the first major U.S. funded project within budget, on time, and works as predicted."

A testament to Sharpe’s designs, the original structures from the early 1960’s sustained only minor damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and were evaluated with high marks by independent structural engineering firms 30 years after their construction - in sharp contrast to many newer facilities deemed in need of serious strengthening..

Ongoing contributions to SLAC

In 1994, Sharpe to returned to SLAC as a consultant to reassess SLAC’s structures and. was recognized for his "intimate knowledge of SLAC, vast experience,… and intellectual curiosity [which enabled SLAC] to develop an innovative seismic assessment program." Beyond developing the Seismic Program, Sharpe contributed to other successful SLAC projects including the SPEAR3 project (dedicated in 2004) and the Linac Coherent Light Source – LCLS (dedicated in 2010).

Prolific author and mentor

Roland Sharpe was the author of over 200 technical papers throughout his career. He was also a valued member of many professional organizations:

  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Distinguished Member
  • Structural Engineering World Congress (SEWC) Founder, Past President
  • Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Honorary Member
  • Structural Engineers Association of California College of Fellows and Honorary Member
  • Japan Structural Consultants Association (JSCA) Honorary Member
  • Association of Consulting Engineers India, Honorary Fellow Member

Memorial service arrangements and obituary details will be provided when available.


  • Huggins, R. The Development of Seismic Guidelines for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC-PUB-7248). Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, August 1996.
  • Sharpe, R. Engineering Design Summary Report for Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (ABA-107). Aetron-Blume-Atkinson, 1966.
  • Sharpe, R. 52-Year Application of Provisions to Major Research Facility. 14th U.S.-Japan Workshop on the Improvement of Structural Design and Construction Practices, December 3-5, 2012.
  • March 1, 2018 - April 23, 2018

    John Ehrman, 1935-2018

    John Ehrman

    Dr. John Robert Ehrman was born on July 5, 1935 in Richmond VA, and earned his PhD in physics at the University of Illinois. While there he took a programming course on the ILLIAC and became, in his words, "hooked on computers." He also programmed their IBM 650, of course again in the low-level assembly language which became his passion. After graduation he was hired by the computer center to manage the group running their IBM 7090/7094 computers.

    In February of 1964 in San Francisco he went to his first meeting of the IBM SHARE Users Group, and his reaction was "this is much more fun than staid, stodgy academic conferences." That meeting was the start of his participation in that organization for over half a century.

    After leaving Illinois he traveled around the country before taking a job in the computer center at SLAC, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, in February 1966. He taught assembler language courses both at SLAC and on the Stanford campus, and worked on projects involving Assembler, Fortran, and the Wylbur interactive text editor. He often wrote up meticulous notes in his fine calligraphic hand for distribution to anyone interested. In 1971 he published a textbook, "System/360 and assembler language programming."

    He remained active in SHARE, was involved in projects for them on Assembler, Fortran, and Testran, and served on their board from 1972-1974.

    John left SLAC in 1983 and joined IBM at their Santa Teresa lab in San Jose. In 1988 he began a project to create the High Level Assembler, which incorporated and expanded on the earlier user-contributed "SLAC mods" to the standard Assembler H. In May of 1992 the first version was released, and it continued to be actively developed for the next twenty years.

    John loved classical choral music, and was a bass singer in Schola Cantorum, based in Mountain View, for 52 years.

    John is survived by a younger sister who lives in Sacramento, and by Tineke Graafland, his wife and partner of 33 years. Tineke and John had met at SLAC, where she worked in the Human Resources department.

    John died at home of cancer on February 20, 2018.

    John Ehrman biography

    January 22, 2018 - February 28, 2018

    Bill Burgess: Greatly Loved, Much Missed and Very Fondly Remembered!

    Bill Burgess

    Bill died at 11 am on October 10, 2017 in Arizona at 75 years young, with all of his close family present. His wife Myra, Greg, his eldest son, who came from Scotland to help over the last few weeks, Greg's wife, (Mya), and their two daughters arrived in time to be with Bill before he finally gave up the fight, and his youngest son, Paul, who had been with them all the time, and of great help as they all struggled with Myra and Bill's ill health.

    Bill had been finding life increasingly more difficult these last few years with severe arthritis making walking difficult, and a multi-year struggle with lung cancer, going through surgery and radical chemotherapy, but ever upbeat, always looking for the silver lining, and always with a "to the point" joke to tell at everyone's expense, and most often with a glass of good malt scotch nearby. In typical fashion, he dealt with the weakening legs by getting a powerful electric motor scooter to aid his getting around (and he enjoyed terrorizing walkers and fellow-shoppers when he visited the local shopping centers. Some of us remember an unlikely, yet very joyous, celebration lunch at Domaine Chandon, celebrating the announcement of Bill being declared cancer free in April 2015, after his very long and very hard fight overcoming lung cancer.

    Born, educated and wed in Scotland, he matured in cryogenic engineering at the CERN laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, the European center for high energy physics founded just after the end of WW II, and supported by some 22 European countries. There he worked under the direction of Tom Taylor. He was well liked, a very hard worker and anxious to learn all he could in this new, exciting environment. His practical and intuitive knowledge of cryogenics was admired and valued by colleagues and he contributed to the successful installation and operation of the CERN ISR, (Intersecting Storage Ring) low-beta insertion, the first system of superconducting magnets routinely operated in a particle collider. Later, he went on to work on LEP, (the Large Electron Project), superconducting high-luminosity insertion, which again was brought to a timely and successful completion. He left CERN with a record of project successes and had earned the reputation of being a strong team player. His many friendships from that era lasted throughout his SLAC time, indeed until his death.

    Bill was recruited in 1988 to take on a challenging job at SLAC where the first electron-positron linear collider was being built. Working directly with Bill Ash, he was part of the team building the SLD detector for the new collider Tiny beam spot sizes, (one micron), and high magnetic field gradient super-conducting quadrupole design were the technical parameters forced by the science, and Bill's first job was the design of the liquid helium system that brought in the cryo-coolant, but could not take up too much space. This was Bill's first challenge. His second was moving into a leadership engineering role, in a new lab with new colleagues. All of this he accomplished well. He quickly built a cadre of friends, created a technical team, together with Bill Ash, and integrated into the SLD experiment quickly and effectively. His proposed technical solution faced critical opposition from some of the local conservative engineers, but in the end his ingenious design worked beautifully!

    Also as part of the SLD/SLC project, Bill managed to rescue a considerable amount of the cryogenic equipment from the Texas SSC project. It required political as well as technical skills of the first order to make the two manufacturers, (Air Liquide in France and Sulzer in Switzerland), acquiesce to the terms of their contracts. But Bill did so in typical fashion, and actually made all of it work reliably, as specified. He also did a substantial rework on the spin-rotator magnets for the SLC Polarized Gun project, and engineered the Accelerator Polarized Gun cooling system, and later the repositioning and modification of the helium liquefier used for the hydrogen targets for the experiments at End Station A. And still later, he was responsible for the testing and commissioning of the large, new BaBar superconducting magnet, which included taking many trips to Europe to help in bringing that construction project to completion.

    He also had another important skill, (especially for someone who would retire in a few more years), and that was his good habit of good documentation. He managed that aspect of the Cryogenic Group very well. Any question about any component on any system under his charge would be answered in short order. He also brought all of the cryogenic control systems up to current technology of digital and computer control. His infectious enthusiasm was only outdone by his honesty. One could not help liking him, and his ability to manage/build team spirit and develop technical know-how as he mentored younger colleagues was something he was proud of. One of his technical consultant colleagues, Hans Quack, said on the occasion of Bill's retirement, "Bill brought interesting solutions to cryogenic problems, but more importantly, he brought color into our lives." So true.

    Bill was one of those rare people who seemed larger than life, always with a great big cheerful smile on his face, and he will never be forgotten by those who spent time with him. He made lifelong friendships wherever he worked or even traveled. European colleagues invited him to their homes and would stay at Bill and Myra's home when visiting the United States. He and his beloved Myra were amazing hosts at their well known parties and dinners. He loved to barbecue and to entertain. And indeed, Bill really loved life.

    He is remembered with great warmth and with admiration for his hard work and engineering talent.

    This article has been pulled together by friends and colleagues who worked with Bill Burgess: M. Breidenback, A. Candia, W. Craddock. V. Flynn, D. leith, S. St. Lorant, M. Smith. We are grateful for help from CERN from Tom Taylor and Philippe Lebrun.

    September 29, 2017 - January 22, 2018;

    SLAC Newsletters ALL digital!

    March 1964 masthead

    The SLAC Archives, History & Records Office (AHRO) recently completed a long-term project to digitize and deposit in an archival repository all of the available laboratory's staff newsletters from 1963 to May 2011. The newsletters and their index are available online

    1970 masthead 1990 masthead 1995 quarterly masthead

    We are still on the hunt for a few missing issues from the 1960s and 1970s, and will be more than grateful to any 'Lab Hero' who can locate one or more of these until now fugitive publications.

    February 6, 2017 - September 29, 2017

    Share your memories of Sid

    Sid Drell, 2002. (Ginter)

    Sidney Drell was an integral part of SLAC and Stanford through decades of his career, during which he was known for his significant contributions to science, national security and nuclear arms control. A man of conscience and integrity, Drell was also known for his humility and wisdom, making lasting impressions on the people whose lives he touched. As a way of celebrating and remembering him, we'd like to collect any of your "Sid Stories" that you would like to share with us, be they funny, serious, casual, profound ... or somewhere in-between.

    Share your story

    Read Sid stories shared by others

    October 31, 2014 - February 6, 2017

    Stanford Web Archive Portal (SWAP) Launches with SLAC's First Web Pages

    Stanford's Wayback Machine
October, 2014
    • Stanford University Libraries press release, October 2014, announcing launch of Stanford Wayback Archive with SLAC's first pages
    • SLAC's press release October 29, 2014
    • SUL October 2014 video tour of SLAC's first U.S. website
    • CBS Channel 5 news story (video) on SLAC's first U.S. website

    Read more in AHO's online exhibit

    August 22, 2013 - October 31, 2014

    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 

    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 internal site--login required)"]

    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 

    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 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.


    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 

    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: 07/11/2022