Saturday, April 12, 2014

Gestae Breslauorum

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, I hereby set forth on my task of chronicling the deeds of Carl Garris, Aaron Sanders, and Scott Gwara on their journey to the far off land of Palo Alto.

Our travels to San Francisco passed mostly uneventfully. The Breslauer Bible remained secured within our innocuous blue backpack. Dr. Gwara made sure that we kept eyes on it at all times. One small problem did arise: while at the Columbia airport, we received an email from our contact at Stanford, Jackie, telling us that I, Carl, had not completed the online safety training courses. I had shared an account with Dr. Gwara, which apparently was a big no-no. While waiting at our layover in Houston, I completed the GERT training, which certified me to enter Radiological Controlled Areas, and the Web Safety Training. . . which taught me the “difficult” art of creating a proper password. I wasn’t able to complete the final course until we had arrived in Palo Alto. By that time, it was nearly midnight. In order to get to the SLAC guest house, we took a taxi cab with a driver (with questionable knowledge of the English language) who insisted it would cost us “a million millions” to go all the way to SLAC.

After a good (but somewhat short) night’s sleep, we got up and made our way to the SSRL. After getting security clearance, we entered into the SSRL laboratory. It was nothing like I had expected. When I thought of a high tech particle accelerator, I imagined a sort of sterilized and organized sort of futuristic compound peopled with scientists in lab coats. In contrast to my expectations, SSRL was filled with an overwhelming abundance of wires, tanks, computers, and other scientific apparatuses using up every bit of space; it reminded me of market where as many vendors as possible had crowded in to take advantage of the coveted space. Contrary to my expectation of sterile scientists in lab coats, the scientists were dressed incredibly casually (I felt rather overdressed wearing a tie).

Arriving at our beam hutch, we met Sam Webb and Courtney Roach, the most excellent scientists who were going to help us on the project. Sam Webb told us a bit about some of the other projects he had worked on dealing with cultural applications of the Synchrotron. For instance, he had used the Synchrotron to restore a 200 year old aria which had been erased. Read more at

I will describe how we proceeded with our experiment in the next blog post which I will post tomorrow.

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