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 Legacy.com:
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 Legacy.com:
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.
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.
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
Nobel laureates Ernest O. Lawrence, Owen Chamberlain, Emilio Segrè and Edward McMillan, whom he considered an important
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
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
father worked as a welder on natural gas pipelines, and "often came home with parts of his khaki clothing burned
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;
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
Living a dream
Elioff immediately went to visit the university's Radiation Laboratory, which would eventually become known as
and sought out the lab's director, Ernest O. Lawrence. Lawrence didn't ordinarily allow first-year grad students to
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
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
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,
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
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
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
Tommy's exceptional technical and management skills. Everybody loved Tommy--how could one not? He had a uniquely
way of breaking down complex problems and selecting practical and convincing solutions. This proved invaluable when dealing
In short, Dorfan said, "Tommy was the ideal leader for a federally funded construction project, as his countless
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky Papers Exhibit created using
Stanford, which integrates with Stanford Libraries' discovery and
(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
December 13, 2018 - April 20, 2019
In memory of Rita Taylor ( 1928 -2018)
(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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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
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 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
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
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
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 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
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!
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
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
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 University Libraries press release, October 2014, announcing launch of Stanford Wayback Archive with SLAC's
- 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
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.
- SPEAR-heading X-ray Science for 40
Years, SLAC Today, 7/8/2013
- Archives short feature: Stanford Synchrotron Radiation
- John Harris and Herman Winick, "SSRL
Report: SPEAR Becomes a Shared Facility," The SLAC Beam Line, 1-2/1980, p.14-15
- Sebastian Doniach, Keith Hodgson, Ingolf Lindau, Piero Pianetta, and Herman Winick, Early Work with
Synchrotron Radiation at Stanford, Journal of Synchrotron Radiation (1997) 4, p.380-395
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
August 20, 2012 - May 8, 2013
Celebrating 50 Years of Discovery
exhibit at Arrillaga Alumni Center extended through May 2013
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."
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.
Ten Years Ago...The Research Office Building (aka the ROB or Bldg. 048) was officially dedicated on April 2,
Interaction Point, May 2002, page 3
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
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.
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
August 10,2011 - September 15, 2011
Twenty years ago, August 1991, Paul Ginsparg, a theoretical physicist, started the first e-print archive at
firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
First Free Research-Sharing
Site, arXiv, Turns 20 With an Uncertain Future," Josh Fischman, The
Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/10/2011
- "Brief and Biased History of Preprint and
Database Activities at the SLAC Library, 1962-1994 (with a few updates in Jan 1997, Jun 1999, Apr 2000, Jan
2002)," Louise Addis
- "Citing and Reading Behaviours in
High-Energy Physics: How a Community Stopped Worrying about Journals and Learned to Love Repositories,"
Anne Gentil-Beccot and Travis Brooks, 8/2009, SLAC-PUB-13693
- "Information Resources in
High-Energy Physics: Surveying the Present Landscape and Charting the Future Course," Anne Gentil-Beccot,
Salvatore Mele, Annette Holtkamp, Heath B. O'Connell, and Travis Brooks, 4/7/2008, SLAC-PUB-13199
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).
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
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.
- Text of June 8, 1976 press
release, SLAC Beam Line, June 1976, p.2
- The Hunting of the
Quark, Sheldon Glashow, SLAC Beam Line, September 1976, p.Q-1
- The Hunting of the Quark: A True Story of Modern Physics, Michael Riordan, Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1987,
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."
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
X-ray science at SLAC began with the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation
Project (SSRP). A
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
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.
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
Cherrill Spencer also earned a special commendation prize for the highest number of valid entries which filled
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,
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
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)
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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