For several months in 2006, I was a tour guide at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, which is the lab that provides the data I analyze. I lived near the center in Menlo Park, CA for more than a year. I gave several tours of SLAC in addition to my regular research duties.
One tour I gave was to a group of students from the Seoul Science High School. At the end of the tour, they surprised me with set of gifts that they had brought from South Korea.
According to my friends, this tassel is part of a traditional Korean woman’s dress; apparently the students did not know whether their tour guide would be male or female. The tassel now hangs above my desk in my office in the Physics Research Building.
They also gave me a business card holder in a foam case. The holder is metal with inlaid iridescent decorations. My Korean friends tell that the animals adorning the holder are symbolic of long life. This gift received frequent use on my trip to Washington, DC earlier this year because I gave and received cards at almost every office I visited.
This view is a highlight of every tour of SLAC. I took this photograph near one end of the Klystron Gallery, which is a building that sits directly above the accelerator. It houses the equipment that transforms electricity from the grid into microwaves that propel the electrons and positrons on their two mile journey to BaBar. The Gallery, like the accelerator beneath, is two miles long and as straight as possible. Looking down a straight two-mile-long hallway gives visitors and exciting and slightly surreal lesson in perspective.