Energy Secretary Abraham Visits Lab, Lauds Community
U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham addresses the
SLAC community (Photo by Diana Rogers)
By Tom Mead
On Monday, November 25, U. S. Secretary of Energy Spencer
Abraham visited SLAC. Accompanied by his wife and Raymond Orbach, Director
of the DOE Office of Science, Abraham addressed an attentive crowd of SLAC
staff, users and press that filled the Panofsky Auditorium and overflowed
into the Lobby, Breezeway and Orange Room.
This was the Secretary’s first visit to SLAC and he
specifically asked to speak to the staff. His speech outlined thoughts on
the immediate and far-reaching value of fundamental science research.
"I often refer to our national laboratories as America’s
crown jewels – national assets that make a priceless contribution to
national security and to scientific knowledge," Abraham said in the
opening minutes. "But beyond that, the research conducted here and at our
sister laboratories around the country produces startling technological
advances that have applications in every walk of life, and that have
helped to make the United States the world leader in science and
While lauding SLAC’s overall excellence, Abraham made
specific note of BABAR, the
GRID development (in which a network of computers functions as one
computer), LCLS (the first x-ray free electron laser),
GLAST and SLAC’s
role in establishing the World Wide Web.
He summed up by thanking the SLAC community. "I’d like to
leave with a final message of ‘Thanks’ to those of you who perform this
work, on a day to day basis on the front lines, often with inadequate
resources I realize, but with unlimited resources in terms of intellectual
Following his 30-minute presentation, Secretary Abraham
toured the SLAC site, visiting the linear accelerator, the Next Linear
Collider Test Accelerator, the BABAR
detector and a structural biology experiment at the SSRL. The structural
biology experiment was of special interest to Abraham.
The Secretary was delighted by his tour of the SLAC site
and was surprised, and pleased, to note the large number of young people
from so many countries working at the Lab.
The enthusiasm of the staff was infectious and Secretary
Abraham spoke of his idea to deliver a major policy speech on the
importance of fundamental science research and the practical consequences
of such research to the nations’ economic health and to its security.