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World physics community gathers for 40th anniversary of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) celebrated 40 years of outstanding research into fundamental particle physics and synchrotron radiation with a special anniversary event on Oct. 2.

More than 1,300 people -- including SLAC staff, government representatives and research scientists from around the world -- gathered under a huge white tent erected on SLAC's central green to commemorate the laboratory's accomplishments and contributions to science.

Located at Stanford University in Menlo Park, Calif., SLAC is a national laboratory operated by Stanford for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Founded in October 1962, SLAC's mission is to design, construct and operate state-of-the-art electron accelerators and related experimental facilities for use in high-energy physics and synchrotron radiation research.

SLAC Director Jonathan Dorfan underlined the crucial contribution of SLAC's staff to the success of the laboratory over the last 40 years. "I proudly and gratefully dedicate this entire celebration to the SLAC staff gathered here today," Dorfan said. "It is their skill and work that makes all this possible."

Jack Marburger III, chief science adviser to President George W. Bush and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, delivered the keynote address at the closing dinner on the Stanford campus.

"These have been good years for SLAC, and I am delighted that this great laboratory is positioning itself today for decades more of outstanding work at the very foundations of physical science," Marburger said. "The comprehension in human terms, and the interpretation in human metaphors, of a decidedly unhuman universe is the ultimate justification for institutions such as SLAC. It is fitting that we celebrate them on occasions such as this."

Highlights of the afternoon celebration included a series of speeches outlining the historic contributions that SLAC has made to scientific research. The series featured a keynote address written by Ray Orbach, director of the DOE Office of Science, and delivered by Peter Rosen, associate director for high energy and nuclear physics in the DOE Office of Science.

"SLAC is famous for innovative and bold projections into the unknown," Orbach wrote. "We celebrate extraordinary scientific achievements. We also celebrate contributions to our country, for the service of the men and women who have been and are associated with SLAC is legendary. Unselfishly, they have contributed to science, education, government, national security and world peace."

Added Dorfan: "Our 40th anniversary is a tremendous milestone for science. It's a day for looking back on our accomplishments while enthusiastically embracing the future and looking ahead to expanding our horizons."


By Tom Mead

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