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Cut the SLAC


By Jon Cartwright

The US Department of Energy (DOE), it would seem, is getting a minor headache trying to come up with a new name for SLAC.

What’s wrong with SLAC, you ask. Well, last year the DOE tried to copyright the description of the acronym, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, but was stopped in its tracks by Stanford University, which runs the lab. Apparently the university wanted to hold onto the rights to the word “Stanford”, thus forcing the lab to rename itself.

SLAC isn’t finding it that easy. To help matters, director Persis Drell is pointing imaginative types to a website to suggest acronyms anonymously. Preferably the name should reflect the change in the lab’s mission, she notes.

It is of course customary on these occasions to have an open discussion, so we’ve been racking our brains for ideas. If “Stanford” is out of the question, perhaps just replace the first letter? We could have the Big Linear Accelerator Centre (BLAC), for instance. Or, if synonymy with the original acronym is your game, there’s the Linearly Organised Optimum Science Establishment (LOOSE). (Okay, so that one’s a little contrived.)

As some employees at SLAC have suggested, they could keep the original acronym but change the meaning. How about the Science Lab And Café? (I’ve never been, but I assume there’s somewhere to get a bite to eat.)

Still, the prize for the most cynical must surely go to the author of the blog an American Physics Student in England. He or she has put forward the Fundamental Understanding-of-Nature Discovery MachinE (FUNDMe).

I await your suggestions…

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