SLAC History & Lore

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Photo Exhibit Highlights SLAC History

As part of the opening of the new Research Support Building, SLAC's Archives and History Office is currently displaying a photo exhibition called "SLAC Perspectives: Then and Now." These photos, taken from the new exhibit, give a glimpse of SLAC's construction and early years.

SPEAR-heading X-ray Science for 40 Years

Last Saturday marked the 40th anniversary of an historic event: In 1973, a team of research pioneers extracted hard X-rays for the first time from SLAC's SPEAR accelerator. Like X-rays from an X-ray tube, the radiation generated by SPEAR can deeply penetrate a large variety of materials and probe their inner structures. However, SPEAR's X-rays are significantly more intense and unlock the possibility for brand new science.

Shedding Light

In 1971, physicist Burton Richter of Stanford Linear Accelerator Center was building a new type of particle collider called a storage ring. The lab’s two-mile-long linear accelerator—housed in what was then the longest building in the world—would shoot electrons and their antimatter twins, called positrons, into the 80-meter-diameter Stanford Positron Electron Accelerating Ring, and SPEAR would set the beams of particles on a collision course. Richter and his colleagues stood by to examine the debris to see what discoveries came out.