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Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009


Laser-Plasma Accelerators Ride on Einstein's Shoulders

Electrons in a billion-electron-volt (1 GeV) beam travel at 99.99999 percent the speed of light. The Accelerator and Fusion Research Division’s (AFRD’s) LOASIS program achieved this energy with a laser plasma accelerator just 3.3 centimeters long. BELLA will reach 10 GeV in a meter; the difference in scale between the laser’s wavelength and the accelerator length is six orders of magnitude, and with standard techniques a single numerical simulation could take more than a year. In a frame of reference moving close to the speed of light, however, simulations can take advantage of Einstein's theory of special relativity to stretch the laser pulse and contract the plasma. Jean-Luc Vay and AFRD colleagues Cameron Geddes and Eric Esarey have shown that in the "electron frame," simulations are more than 1,000 times faster than in the standard "laboratory frame." More>

Special Event: Lab Presence at SC 2009 Computing Conference

Berkeley Lab is among the many participants at this year’s SC 2009 computing conference in Portland, OR. Visitors can talk to a Lab expert, watch a 3-D representation of science and engineering data, listen to talks on energy-efficient computing, or check out a bandwidth challenge, in which researchers will attempt to move 10 terabytes of data in only two hours. Lab scientists will also be making significant contributions to the conference program, participating in tutorials and panel discussions, presenting technical papers, and co-leading an exhibitor forum. More>

Special Event: ALS Hosts Science Café Today at Noon

The Advanced Light Source will today host a science café, during which three researchers will talk about their use of beamlines for energy-related research, followed by discussion with other scientists and interested audience members. The event starts at noon in Building 2-100B. Café guests include Simon Teat, Martin Kunz and Jinghua Guo. The café provides a forum for developing new cross-discipline collaborations related to solar cells, batteries, and carbon sequestration. For more information, call x5760.

Special Event: ‘In Conversation’ With Materials Scientist Ron Zuckermann Tomorrow

"In Conversation With…" is the next-generation science seminar series during which host Alice Egan interviews scientists about their lives and work in language everyone can understand. Her next guest is Ron Zuckerman, who will discuss biological nanostructures and the world of peptoids. The conversation takes place Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Building 66 Auditorium. Go here watch Egan’s "conversation" with Christian Kisielowski on the TEAM microscope in August.

Payroll: State Personal Income Tax Increases

In response to the state fiscal emergency, the California Personal Income Tax (PIT) withholding tables have been revised, affecting wages paid Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. The withholding rates have been increased by 10 percent to accelerate tax collections and to prevent under-withholding by employees. In addition, the rates for supplemental wages and bonus payments have increased to 6.6 percent and 10.23 percent, respectively, effective Nov. 1. While the withholding rates have increased, the underlying state tax rates that determine the taxes employees owe in 2009 have not changed. Your net pay beginning with the following pay dates will be lower than your current net pay as a result of these tax changes: bi-weekly pay date(s) — Nov. 20, Dec. 4 and Dec. 18; monthly pay date — Dec. 1. Any off-cycle checks issued for terminations, tuition reimbursements, relocation and time card corrections paid beginning Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, will be affected as well. Go here for more information, or contact the Lab’s Payroll Manager (x5848).

EH&S: Safety Culture Survey Deadline Extended to Monday, Nov. 16

To help make the Lab safer, improve the protection of the surrounding environment and enhance communications, staff are asked to fill out an Environment, Health & Safety culture survey. The survey has 48 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. All answers will be anonymous unless you add your name to the comments fields. The survey runs through Monday, Nov. 16.

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