In 1962 the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (now the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory) began with the Congressional authorization of its two mile long linear accelerator, the first $100 million science project. The science mission was the study of the interaction of high energy electron with matter, a study that had brought Robert Hofstadter his 1961 Nobel Prize for his work at the much smaller linear accelerator at the Hanson lab on the main Stanford Campus. The first beam was delivered in 1966, a remarkably short construction time for such a large project. The era of what is called High Energy Physics had begun at Stanford.
A combination of advances in accelerators, detectors, and scientific breadth has kept SLAC at the frontier of science ever since, though the areas of research have changed greatly now including chemistry, materials, biology, cosmology, and many other sciences as well as the original high energy physics. Four Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work at SLAC and today it is generally regarded as the world's leading laboratory for photon science because of it X-ray laser. Professor Richter will discuss both the science and technology evolution that made all this possible.
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