SLAC considering a name change, “other” SLAC crosses fingers

09Jul08

It seems like the powers-that-be at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center are considering changing the lab’s name. Besides reflecting the broader spectrum of science done at the lab since its 2005 reoganization, apparently there’s some issue with the DOE registering for ownership of the lab’s title. Stanford University, who operates the lab, objects to anyone else owning something officially branded ‘Stanford.’

It\'s a copyright, get it?

For those with a vested interest, you can make comments and make name suggestions directly to the naming committee using this form. [My suggestion: Fundamental-Understanding-of-Nature Discovery MachinE, or FUNDMe]

As an undergraduate at Stanford, SLAC played a big role in shaping my passion for particle physics, so nostalgia prevents me from agreeing with the name change. What am I supposed to say now? “I developed a love for particle physics at the DOE Lab formerly known at SLAC” ??

It pains me to think that there are undergrads who won\'t get this joke.

(It pains me to think that there are undergrads who are too young to get that joke.)

There is, notably, one group who will celebrate a change in the lab’s name: the Stanford Labor Action Coalition, a student group that has shared SLAC’s acryonym since 1998. This has led to a history of confusing Stanford Daily headlines whenever the student group or the lab made big news. I mean, really, who could tell which one was holding a minimum wage protest and which one was probing CP violating in the B meson. (Actually, given the caliber of the university’s campus workers and the state of science funding, you really never know…)

(Thanks to Inna for pointing this out.)

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