SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Post image for SLAC Director Emeritus and Nobelist Burton Richter to receive National Medal of Science President Obama Friday (Oct. 3) named former SLAC Director and Nobel Prize winner Burton Richter as one of 10 recipients of the National Medal of Science, and also named eight recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The two awards are the nation’s highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. The new awardees will receive their medals at a White House ceremony later this year. “These scholars and innovators have expanded our understanding of the world, made invaluable contributions to their fields, and helped improve countless lives,” President Obama said in a press statement. “Our nation has been enriched by their achievements, and by all the scientists and technologists across America dedicated to discovery, inquiry, and invention.” Richter said, “I’m deeply honored, and I’m happy to be in such distinguished company.” He added with a laugh, “While Berkeley got three medals and Stanford got two, we did win the Big Game.” Richter served as SLAC’s director from 1984 to 1999 and is the Paul Pigott Professor of Physical Sciences Emeritus at Stanford University. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1952 and a PhD in 1956 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Richter’s career at Stanford started in 1956 as a research associate in the High Energy Physics Laboratory. He joined SLAC as an associate professor and rose to technical director before becoming the leader of the laboratory. Richter shared the 1976 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovery of the J/psi particle, whose existence implied the existence of the charmed quark. He has received other numerous honors and awards, including the Enrico Fermi Award, presented in 2012 by President Obama, and the Department of Energy’s Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and former president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and the American Physical Society. Richter is also a member of JASON, an independent group of scientists that advises the U.S. government. In recent years Richter turned his attention to energy issues, and in 2010 was the author of Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century. He is a member of the DOE’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and chaired its fuel cycle subcommittee from 2000 to 2013; was a member of the first PCAST Review Panel for the National Climate Change Assessment; and is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Precourt Institute for Energy and the Woods Institute for the Environment. The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation. Awarded annually, the medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to science and engineering. The President receives nominations from a committee of presidential appointees based on their extraordinary knowledge in and contributions to chemistry, engineering, computing, mathematics, and the biological, behavioral/social, and physical sciences. This year’s National Medal of Science winners also included: Bruce Alberts, University of California, San Francisco, CA; Robert Axelrod, University of Michigan, MI; May Berenbaum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL; Alexandre J. Chorin, University of California, Berkeley, CA; Thomas Kailath, Stanford University, CA; Judith P. Klinman, University of California, Berkeley, CA; Jerrold Meinwald, Cornell University, NY; Sean C. Solomon, Columbia University, NY; David Blackwell, University of California, Berkeley, CA (awarded posthumously).

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SLAC scientists in Menlo Park take first dip into water’s mysterious “no-man’s land”

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Scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park have made the first structural observations of liquid water at temperatures down to minus 51 degrees Fahrenheit, within an elusive “no-man’s land” where water’s strange properties are super-amplified. The research, made possible by SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser and reported June 18 […]

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Menlo Park Fire Protection District responds to two-alarm fire at SLAC last night

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A fire alarm last night at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park at 9:47 pm brought response from Menlo Park Fire Protection District Engine 6, which arrived to find heavy black smoke pouring from one of the structures. The Captain requested a full first alarm response on arrival. A second alarm at 10:02 pm brought in additional Menlo […]

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SLAC chemist Riti Sarangi ponders big and little scientific questions

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In many respects you could say SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory scientist Riti Sarangi grew up at the lab. From 2001 to 2007 she used the facility while pursuing a PhD in chemistry at Stanford, where she had come after completing her undergraduate studies in India. Her interest in science, though, was sparked early in life. “My […]

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Beamline scientist Apurva Mehta reminds us that SLAC is no longer about atom smashing

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Apurva Mehta, a material science physicist, came to SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park 17 years ago “to build a beam line” — one that is still up and running, he points out. “SLAC was the birthplace of synchrotron science in many respects,” he says. “That was certainly key to my decision to come here. All […]

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“The Dark Universe Through Einstein’s Lens” is July 23 SLAC Public Lecture in Menlo Park

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Debbie Bard, a staff scientist at SLAC in Menlo Park and a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophyics and Cosmology, will deliver the SLAC Public Lecture, “The Dark Universe Through Einstein’s Lens,”on July 23 from 7:30 to 8;30 pm. One of the most surprising predictions made by Einstein’s theory of relativity is that […]

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Let it bee – saving a hearty colony on the SLAC campus in Menlo Park

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The colony of honeybees that’s lived in an old blue oak tree in front of Building 41 on the SLAC campus in Menlo Park for nearly 50 years has been relocated because the decaying tree must be cut down, for safety’s sake, prior to the building’s renovation. Beginning in May, San Jose beekeeper Art Hall […]

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Linac Coherent Light Source X-ray laser pushed to record energies at SLAC in Menlo Park

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John Hill watched with eager anticipation as controllers in Menlo Park ramped up the power systems driving SLAC’s X-ray laser in an attempt to achieve the record high energies needed to make his experiment a runaway success. The Brookhaven National Laboratory scientist was the leader of a research team that had come from Illinois, Germany, […]

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SLAC study reveals active site of enzyme linked to stuttering

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Scientists from the Joint Center for Structural Genomics (JCSG) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park have determined the 3-D structure of the chemically active part of an enzyme involved in stuttering. While the discovery is not likely to lead to a cure for stuttering any time soon, it is welcome news to scientists […]

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SLAC’s historic ‘End Station A’ hosts electron beams once again in Menlo Park

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Electrons are once again streaming into SLAC’s historic End Station A, setting the stage for a new user facility in the huge, concrete hall where the first evidence for quarks was discovered. Fed by billion-particle bunches of high-energy electrons diverted from the linear accelerator supply to the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the new beamline, […]

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Kavli open house draws sell out crowd eager to learn more about astrophysics and cosmology

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After a decade spent studying some of the most puzzling questions in astrophysics, providing research and learning opportunities to more than 100 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, publishing thousands of scientific papers and pushing back the boundaries of what’s known about the cosmos, the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology in Menlo Park decided […]

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