A little taste of Stanford Linear Accelerator tour…

Shel Israel came along on the tour we got earlier this week of the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) with Bebo White, one of the members of the team that built the first US Web site, and he wrote it up.

If you’ve visited Silicon Valley and drove down freeway 280 you’ve actually driven over SLAC. It’s that really long building in Menlo Park right near Sand Hill Road (if you’ve pitched a VC there, you’ve been within a few hundred yards of the two-mile-long building that sits on top of the accelerator).

It’ll take me a while to get the video up. I have a ton of videos in the can, so it’s scheduled to run Feb. 7th.

Speaking of stuff that’s been in the can for a while is my Intel 45 nanometer fab tour. That’ll be up tonight along with some Intel news.

Thanks Shel for writing up our tour and taking some pictures. Oh, and can’t wait to get the rest of the tour (it was so interesting that we ran out of time and out of tape).

One lasting impression: I’ve felt far smaller all week. Partly because of the intellects of the people we met. Partly because of what they are studying (forces and particles that haven’t been produced, or at least measured, since the creation of our universe). Partly because of the history of this place and the scale. It’s interesting that we need to build two-mile-long buildings to study things we can’t even see.

Thanks to Bebo White for arranging this tour. It had a profound effect on my life and I’ll never forget it. Sitting at the feet of Paul F. Kunz, author of the first Web site in the United States, was like sitting in church. It was a special moment. I love that he didn’t think the Web was that big a deal. Even assigned someone else to build the first US Web site. Remember, these are physicists who were more excited about smashing particles and studying what happens.

I’m thinking we should do a photowalking tour of SLAC. Would you like to go on a tour?

UPDATE: Wikipedia says that SLAC is the longest straight object in the world.

18 thoughts on “A little taste of Stanford Linear Accelerator tour…

  1. Forgot to add on a completely seperate note have you seen the search engine Midomi yet? Not all that useful for the day to day but after driving in my car for hours with an unidentified tune in my head it can set my mind at ease. I did a little write up on it but their site is at http://www.midomi.com/
    Try humming Yellow Submarine to it…. very cool stuff :-)

  2. Forgot to add on a completely seperate note have you seen the search engine Midomi yet? Not all that useful for the day to day but after driving in my car for hours with an unidentified tune in my head it can set my mind at ease. I did a little write up on it but their site is at http://www.midomi.com/
    Try humming Yellow Submarine to it…. very cool stuff :-)

  3. Cant wait for the video. If you found it interesting I highly recommend picking up one of Brian Greene’s books (either The Elegant Universe or The Fabric of the Cosmos). Both are great and will certainly leave you feeling smaller but in awe of the beauty and majesty of this universe we live in.

  4. Cant wait for the video. If you found it interesting I highly recommend picking up one of Brian Greene’s books (either The Elegant Universe or The Fabric of the Cosmos). Both are great and will certainly leave you feeling smaller but in awe of the beauty and majesty of this universe we live in.

  5. A photowalking tour would be awesome! I might even find a way to drive down from Seattle for that.

    Robert, your counts of these events and the movies are really cool and a great peak at this HUGE ecosystem based on such teeny, tiny technology. Very cool! (literally) :-P

  6. A photowalking tour would be awesome! I might even find a way to drive down from Seattle for that.

    Robert, your counts of these events and the movies are really cool and a great peak at this HUGE ecosystem based on such teeny, tiny technology. Very cool! (literally) :-P

  7. I don’t know if he was joking or not, but one of their high performance computer guys once mentioned that you also couldn’t have too many people standing around one rack since the machine room is actually not on the ground floor…

    Also, in November, they have a “Run the Gallery” event (no, you don’t actually get to run down the big hallway, just on the path on top of the accelerator).

  8. I don’t know if he was joking or not, but one of their high performance computer guys once mentioned that you also couldn’t have too many people standing around one rack since the machine room is actually not on the ground floor…

    Also, in November, they have a “Run the Gallery” event (no, you don’t actually get to run down the big hallway, just on the path on top of the accelerator).

  9. Byron: yup, and if they run all four lines there it uses about the same amount of power that half the city of Palo Alto uses.

    We got tons of lots of facts like that on the video, including video of a skeleton they found when they were digging out the earth to produce the accelerator.

  10. Byron: yup, and if they run all four lines there it uses about the same amount of power that half the city of Palo Alto uses.

    We got tons of lots of facts like that on the video, including video of a skeleton they found when they were digging out the earth to produce the accelerator.

  11. SLAC is loads of fun, I got a tour there back when I was an undergrad. Back then they said that they generated a terabyte of data per day when the accelerator was running…

  12. SLAC is loads of fun, I got a tour there back when I was an undergrad. Back then they said that they generated a terabyte of data per day when the accelerator was running…

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