SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

SLAC by the Numbers

What do numbers have to say about SLAC?
  • SLAC began in 1962 with 200 employees.
  • Nearly 1,700 people now work on staff plus 300 postdoctoral researchers and graduate students.
  • 3,400 scientists from around the world use our cutting-edge facilities each year.
  • 1,000-plus scientific papers are published each year based on research at SLAC
  • 6 scientists have been awarded Nobel prizes for research at SLAC that discovered 2 fundamental particles, proved protons are made of quarks and showed how DNA directs protein manufacturing in cells.
  • Our employees hail from 50 countries.
  • 150 buildings sit on our 426-acre site on the Stanford campus.
  • 3,073.72 meters (1.9 miles) long, our linear accelerator is one of the longest buildings on Earth.
  • Electrons zip down that linear accelerator at >669,600,000 mph – 99.9999999 percent of the speed of light.
  • 275 universities make use of our resources, and 55 companies use our X-ray facilities for research aimed at developing medicines and other products.
  • SLAC works with Stanford in 4 research centers: Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences, Stanford PULSE Institute and SUNCAT Center for Interface Science and Catalysis.
  • Our X-ray laser zaps samples with pulses a few millionths of a billionth of a second long.
  • The lab has had 3 names:
    • Project M (1956-1960)
    • Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (1960-2008)
    • SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (2008–present)
  • 3.2-billion -pixel camera we’re designing for the world’s deepest sky survey will shoot the equivalent of 800,000 8 -megapixel digital camera images per night.
  • 3.6-million -degree-F matter created in our labs mimics extreme conditions in the hearts of stars and planets.
  • SLAC managed construction of the main instrument for a space telescope that’s discovered more than 100 pulsars since its launch in 2008 .
  • The 1st website in North America was at SLAC, designed to help physicists share their research results.
  • SLAC’s 1st scientific discovery was a fossil: Paleoparadoxia, found in 1964 during excavation for the linear accelerator. It lived 14 million years ago and resembled a hippopotamus.
  • In 1975, the Homebrew Computer Club began meeting in the SLAC auditorium. This Silicon Valley grassroots group helped spark the personal computing revolution.
  • We’re 50 years old, and counting!

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