A day in the life of an accelerator designer

Tor Raubenheimer

What do particle accelerators and craggy outcrops have in common? Both have Tor Raubenheimer trotting the globe. Thanks to both his work at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and his passion for rock climbing, he has gotten to know people and places on several continents.

“There are places around the world where I know a group of people and I can go and work and hang out,” says Raubhenheimer. “It’s neat.”

Raubenheimer is an accelerator physicist — someone who designs, builds or operates particle accelerators. It’s a title that only a few thousand people lay claim to worldwide. Throughout his career, Raubenheimer has operated SLAC’s accelerators and designed new ones through international collaborations.

He is also an avid rock climber. He makes frequent trips to a local climbing gym — three or four times a week, he says — and occasionally, much longer trips to climbing destinations. Just in the last few years, he has climbed in Australia, Sardinia and Thailand as well as at California favorites like Joshua Tree National Park. For Raubenheimer, rock climbing is a fun way to get to know people and places.

“It’s having something in common, right?” Raubenheimer says. “Either accelerator physics or climbing. When you go to a different area, it makes merging into the culture there much easier.”

Raubenheimer’s climbing pursuits also played a part in bringing him to SLAC. During his college years as a physics and computer science double major at Dartmouth College, he took a year off to ski and climb in Yosemite National Park and was captivated by Yosemite Valley. After college, when he had the opportunity to work as a programmer at SLAC, the proximity to Yosemite and other outdoor wonders attracted him to California.

Working at SLAC opened Raubenheimer’s eyes to accelerator physics.

“As an undergraduate, I had no idea that the field even existed,” he says. “I knew about high-energy and particle physics. I knew about lasers. I didn’t know that there was actually a field studying accelerators.”

As a programmer at SLAC, he worked on software for the damping rings that helped narrow the particle beams emitted by the two-mile SLAC linear accelerator. Occasionally, he needed to go into the linear accelerator tunnel to check on a component or fix something. It’s this hands-on work, he says, that got him hooked.

“The immediate satisfaction of being able to do something and see a result was great,” Raubenheimer says.

He decided to go to graduate school in physics and got his PhD at Stanford, where he worked on a couple of other research projects before returning to accelerator physics. He worked on the linear collider at SLAC as well as researching problems that would need to be solved to build more advanced linear colliders. During his postdoc at SLAC, he started working on the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) X-ray laser and brought his knowledge of linear colliders to the project. In the years since, while a scientist and professor at SLAC and Stanford, he has worked on designing accelerator facilities at SLAC and internationally.

For the last few years, Raubenheimer has been working on the upgrade for LCLS, called LCLS-II. The upgraded LCLS-II will be able to shoot electron pulses and produce X-ray laser flashes up to one million times per second. LCLS-II will let scientists investigate microscopic phenomena in incredible detail and may ultimately lead to advances in storing energy and curing diseases.

The multifaceted nature of accelerator physics makes it an interesting challenge. On top of theory and simulations, Raubenheimer says, “you have to worry about plumbing, and all the details of how you support things, and what metals go in radiofrequency fields and what don’t. So it’s a very broad field. It requires expertise and knowledge across a wide set of disciplines.”

Many physics experiments involve either huge facilities and thousands of collaborators, like the Large Hadron Collider experiments, or smaller-scale equipment and a handful of researchers. For Raubenheimer, one of the draws of accelerator physics is working on large-scale projects in small teams, which lets him have his fingers in many pies.

“You’ll do the theory, you’ll do the simulation studies, and then you can do the experiments,” Raubenheimer says. “I like having large facilities to play with, but with a small group of people, you can really be involved in all aspects of the physics.”

[“source=symmetrymagazine”]

Mexico accuses designer Carolina Herrera of cultural appropriation

A dress from the Carolina Herrera New York Resort 2020 collection, which the Mexican government says incorporates elements from the traditional shawls of Saltillo in Coahuila stat.e

 A dress from the Carolina Herrera New York Resort 2020 collection, which the Mexican government says incorporates elements from the traditional shawls of Saltillo in Coahuila state. Photograph: Carolina Herrera

Three months after calling on Spain to apologise for its colonial abuses, the Mexican government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has found a more contemporary and cultural bone to pick.

The country’s culture minister, Alejandra Frausto, has written to the Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera to demand an explanation for her company’s use of indigenous Mexican designs in its latest collection.

The label says its new Resort 2020 line “takes on the playful and colourful mood of a Latin holiday” and is about “visceral reactions of delight-eclectic patterns, unexpected silhouettes, pulsating energy”.

It has certainly prompted an unexpected and energetic response from the Mexican government, which has asked the brand to explain why it is using designs “whose origins are well documented”.

In a letter sent to Herrera and the company’s creative director, Wes Gordon, Frausto said: “This is a matter of ethical consideration that obliges us to speak out and bring an urgent issue to the UN’s sustainable development agenda: promoting inclusion and making those who are invisible visible.”

The letter, seen by the Spanish newspaper El País, singled out certain designs.

A dress from the Carolina Herrera New York Resort 2020 collection.
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 A dress from the Carolina Herrera Resort 2020 collection. Photograph: Carolina Herrera

It claimed that one long white dress embroidered with bright animals, colours and flowers was derived from the culture of the Tenango de Doria community in Hidalgo state “where each piece of embroidery tells the story of the community and each element has a personal, family or community meaning”.

Two other dresses, it added, incorporated elements from the famous traditional shawls of Saltillo in Coahuila state.

In a statement, Carolina Herrera said the collection had been conceived as a “tribute to the richness of Mexican culture” and its craft techniques.

“There’s an undeniable Mexican presence in this collection,” said Gordon. “It’s something that jumps out at you and I always intended it to be something latent as a way of showing my love for this country and for all the incredible work I’ve seen there.”

The designer added: “My admiration for the artisanal work has only grown as I have travelled to Mexico over the years. With this new collection, I have tried to highlight the importance of this magnificent cultural heritage.”

Last month, the Mexican government said a law would be brought before the senate to “tackle the plagiarism that different indigenous peoples and communities have suffered” by recognising them as the lawful owners of their cultural and identity elements.

[“source=theguardian”]

Tonys 2019: Behind the Scenes With Legendary Event Designer Raúl Àvila

people dressed in black attaching rainbow roses to a green wall

On a night as star-studded and revered as the Tony Awards, any event designer would be hard-pressed to create an atmosphere as award-worthy as the plays being celebrated. But Raúl Àvila is not just any event designer. Àvila, who counts A-list event planner Robert Isabell among his mentors, designed this year’s Tony Awards red carpet with a theme that feels “particularly profound” to him. “The theme of this year’s carpet is inspired by the anniversary and celebration of World Pride,” he tells Architectural Digest. “I’m so proud to showcase the flag in the way that it deserves. What a beautiful testament to how far we’ve come.”

For this year’s carpet, Àvila stuck with roses, some of which he dyed or spray painted to compliment the theme (all roses, as has been the case in years past, were generously donated by Passion Roses. The Colombia-born designer and his team spent “months and months” planning the elaborate red carpet decor to ensure “the most seamless transformation” possible. “There are so many people involved with the process and many voices to be heard, but ultimately we always find consistency in the decision,” he says. In terms of inspiration, Àvila says he didn’t need to look any further than the Broadway community itself, which has always been “such a representative community.”

three bouquets of yellow roses
This year’s pride theme called for a rainbow of roses.

Courtesy of Raúl Avila Inc.

gray shelves stacked with boxes orange buckets on the floor in front of them
Supplies for the big night.

Courtesy of Raúl Avila Inc.

a pair of hands wearing gloves holding a bouquet of roses
Arranging roses for the display.

Courtesy of Raúl Avila Inc.

“We draw inspiration from everywhere, but focus, of course, on the broadway community in all its splendor,” he says. “Whether it’s the shows themselves, the music, the artists, or the performers, Broadway is an endless source of inspiration.” In previous years, Àvila has showcased bursts of pink and red-hued roses, an arresting all-red rose wall, and even a lush, all-green red carpet backdrop, all of which spoke to some facet of the dynamic world of theater. “I wanted the red carpet to evoke the style and elegance of the theater,” he told Vogue in 2016 of the all-red rose wall. “I chose roses in a striking red to cover the length of the step and repeat. It’s the ideal backdrop for arrivals to capture the glamour of the evening.” That year, Àvila and his team of 50 crew members needed 20 hours to assemble the 100,000 red roses; this year’s colorful homage to the LGBTQ community will undoubtedly require even more time and effort. But, Àvila says, it’s always worth it witnessing his vision come to life. “Seeing everything come together in the end, when I can finally take a breath and say ‘We did this,’ is always my proudest moment,” he says. “[Then] I celebrate with everyone. It’s the Tonys!”

[“source=architecturaldigest”]

An Ecologist and a Game Designer Walk Into a Forest

An Ecologist and a Game Designer Walk Into a Forest

There are animated parties in the forest with a motley bunch of attendees, their colours and calls hidden among the trees. Pay a little more attention and you can see birds of various hues and sizes in a palpable buzz of activity. Mixed species bird flocks have been reported all around the world, and form the basis of a new card game called ​Flocks!” developed by an unlikely duo.

Mixed Species Bird Flocks

Flock image: Rangu Narayan. Modified to current form: Navodita

In the beginning it is overwhelming because you see one bird, then you see another and then you realize there could be so many…there is not just one or two species but very often, several of them,” says Priti Bangal who studies mixed species bird flocks as a PhD student at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

There is some systemic kind of play inherent in mixed species bird flocks,” says Prasad Sandbhor, a freelance game designer based in Bangalore. He got interested in issues related to nature and society through extra-curricular activities while growing up, and now designs games professionally.

The game rules do not move away from scientific observations. The creators did not bring in anything alien for the sake of a story. For example, gregarious species are important in the formation of mixed species flocks and hence their role as flock starters in the game.

Also Read: An Overview of the Gardens Under the Sea

Another important rule states that a species added once, singly or in a group, cannot be added to a mixed species flock again. The idea comes from the fact that a family group of a gregarious species present in a mixed species flock is not joined by another family of the same species.

It is the same in case of solitary species, which are often territorial in nature. ​I try to justify the ecology side of things and he [Prasad] tries to justify the game-play side of things. We always try and find the balance in between,” Priti says.

Flocks!

Image of cards: Prasad Sandbhor. Modified to current form: Navodita

When we started, we thought anybody could play this game and our play testing has been with a wide age group,” Prasad says. From the feedback they have received, it seems to be especially effective among high school kids.

It is a good introduction to birds and mixed species flocks, and players seem to remember the roles of birds – warblers as flock starters, drongos as protectors and the interactions between other species. ​It is a good way to introduce people to the different elements in the flock…but it is not a lesson plan,” Priti says.

The popularity of other science-based games in the market such as Birds of a Feather, Wingspan, Evolution and Phylo, gives them confidence that there are takers for Flocks!.

It has the potential to be a game on its own and we would like to bring it out in the world for people to play,” Prasad says. They would like to keep it self-sustainable and are looking for companies or ecological organisations who may be interested in collaborating. They also want to collaborate with schools to test the game with a larger audience and use it as a means of scientific outreach.

The journey so far has inspired them to keep working on designing games and playful material like stories and comic books among other formats. They want to work on material that connects players to nature, making them curious to look around and observe natural phenomena, says Prasad.

For Priti, discussing mixed species flocks with people outside an ecology background has allowed her to think about questions that may otherwise be taken for granted. ​It helps me become clearer in articulation about the system,” she adds. ​It definitely has been a fun and enriching experience.”

[“source=thewire”]

Apple Store designer proposes restoring Notre-Dame as… basically an Apple Store

notre-dame eight (3)

Eight Inc, the design firm best known for conceptualizing the Apple  Store and the now-iconic giant glass cube on 5th Ave in New York, has proposed to restore Notre-Dame’s sadly destroyed roof and spire — with a giant glass roof and spire. I don’t think the French will go for it.

The idea is to recreate the top of the building entirely out of structural glass, which is stronger than normal glass and thus could support itself without any internal framework.

It’s hard to know what to make of the proposal. It seems to me so inappropriate that it borders on parody. Leaving aside the practical concerns of keeping the glass clean and replacing any portion that’s cracked or something, the very idea of capping a gothic cathedral made almost entirely of stone with a giant sunroof seems like the exact opposite of what the church’s creators would have wanted.

Tim Kobe, founder of Eight, disagrees.

“I believe this definitive example of French gothic architecture requires a deep respect and appreciation of the history and intent of the original design,” he told Dezeen. “It should not be about the ego of a new architectural expression but a solution to honor this historic structure.”

I find that statement, especially the part about ego of new architectural expression, a little difficult to swallow when the proposal is to rebuild a nearly thousand-year-old cathedral in the style of an Apple Store.

He called the glass roof and spire “spiritual and luminous,” saying they evoked “the impermanence of architecture and the impermanence of life.”

That seems an odd thing to strive for. I’m not a religious person, but I as I understand it the entire idea of a cathedral is to create a permanent, solid representation of the very permanent presence of God and His everlasting kingdom of heaven. Life is fleeting, sure, but giant stone cathedrals that have outlasted empires seem a poor mascot for that fact.

Of course, it must be said that this wouldn’t be the only garish glass structure in the city that traditionalists would hate: The pyramid at the Louvre has attracted great ire for many years now. And it’s much smaller.

The French Senate (and many others) have expressed that they would like the cathedral to be restored to as close to its original state as possible — preferably with something better than centuries-old dry tinder holding up the roof. But President Macron has called for something more than simple reconstruction, and Prime Minister Philippe backs him, especially concerning the spire, which was a relatively late addition and as such isn’t quite as historic as the rest.

A design competition is to be held to create a new spire “adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era,” which certainly could mean many things and inspire many interesting ideas. Here’s hoping they’re a little better than this one.

[“source=techcrunch”]

Halston review – glitzy 70s designer all dressed up

Trendsetter … Halston with Liza Minnelli.

In the 70s, the American designer Halston was one of fashion’s biggest stars. But since his death from an Aids-related illness in 1990, his reputation has dimmed, despite attempts to revive his company (one of them involving Harvey Weinstein and Sarah Jessica Parker). Now comes this flattering, myth-inflating documentary by Frédéric Tcheng, who gives us the story of Roy Halston Frowick, a kid from Des Moines, Iowa, who reinvented himself in New York as a milliner to the super-rich and joined the big league by putting Jackie Kennedy in a pillbox hat at JFK’s inauguration. He became one-name famous by designing party dresses that one interviewee gigglingly describes as best worn without knickers.

This profile has a pretentious – and pointless – framing device in which fashion writer Tavi Gevinson plays a fictional archivist who turns detective to investigate his life. As well as understanding the fashion mood of the 70s, Halston savvily realised that dressing his beautiful celebrity pals Liza Minnelli, Anjelica Huston and Bianca Jagger was the best possible advertisement. He also increased diversity on the runway, promoting African American models, and his muse was Pat Ast, the frizzy-haired size-20 actor who had worked with Andy Warhol.

His secretary pinpoints the beginning of the end for Halston as the opening of the Studio 54 nightclub, where he picked up a $1,000-a-week cocaine habit. He spent money like crazy, once sending a private plane to fetch his dinner. Then there were the business decisions. In 1983, he signed a disastrous $1bn deal with the US high-street chain JC Penney – appalling his elite fanbase. By 1984, Halston lost the rights to his name and company.

The archive clips suggest Halston is a role Richard E Grant was born to play: the designer had a long-limbed loucheness, grandiose affectations and put-on accent, along with a fierce perfectionism.

[“source=theguardian”]