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.”


11 Of The Best Men’s Shoes To Wear Without Socks That Won’t Smell

11 Of The Best Men's Shoes To Wear Without Socks That Won't

Warm weather means it’s time to swap your shoes and say goodbye to bulky boots and hello to sandals, boat shoes and slip-on sneakers. Some guys who really want to free their feet this season might even dare to go sockless, but there is a catch.

Wearing sneakers without socks in the summer always sounds like a good idea — until it isn’t. Between the sweltering heat and extra outdoor time, bare feet can get sweaty and smelly quick. That is, only if you’re wearing the wrong shoes.

If you’re looking to forgo socks with your footwear, the key is to look for sneakers that are made with breathable materials like canvas, leather or wool. It helps to have an antimicrobial lining to prevent bacteria or odor buildup. Machine-washable shoes are a winning idea because you can easily toss them in the laundry when they get too mucky.

To help you on your sockless journey, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best men’s shoes you can wear without socks that won’t leave your feet sweaty or smelly. And if you want more of our editor-sourced products and reviews, sign up for HuffPost’s sales and deals newsletter.

Take a look below:

  • Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Ox

    These Converse have a canvas upper, canvas lining and cushioned footbed.Find them for $50 at Zappos.

  • Sperry Authentic Original

    These Sperry shoes have a leather upper and dri-lex sock liner.Find them for $95 at Zappos.

  • TOMS Classic Canvas

    These TOMS have a canvas upper, breathable textile lining and suede leather footbed.Find them for $48 at Zappos.

  • Nike Revolution 4

    These Nikes have a mesh upper and fabric lining.Find them for $60 at Zappos.

  • Vans Authentic Core Classics

    These Vans have a canvas upper and cotton lining.Find them for $50 at Zappos.

  • Rockport Ports of Call Perth

    These Rockports have a leather upper and moisture-wicking suede lining. Find them for $110 at Zappos

  • Allbirds Men’s Wool Loungers

    These Allbirds are made with moisture-wicking wool and are machine washable.Find them for $95 at Allbirds.

  • adidas Running UltraBOOST

    These adidas shoes have a knit textile upper and foam insole.Find it for $179 on Zappos.

  • Keds Pro-Keds Royal Lo Classic Canvas

    These Keds have canvas uppers, a breathable fabric lining and foam footbed.Get them for $60 at Zappos.

  • Dockers Beacon

    These Dockers have a nubuck and mesh upper with a breathable fabric lining.Find them for $60 on Zappos.

  • Sanuk Rounder

    These Sanuks have a canvas upper and lining.Find them for $52 at Zappos.

  • New Balance M990V4

    These New Balances have leather upper and fabric lining.Find them for $165 on Zappos.


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.
 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.


Zalando’s Director of Engineering on AI and the future of fashion

Image result for Zalando’s Director of Engineering on AI and the future of fashionLast week’s TNW Conference featured an amazing lineup of speakers, all sharing their unique knowledge and insights into the future of tech. A prominent theme this year was machine learning and artificial intelligence — namely, how industries can harness its power.

Stacia Carr, Director of Engineering at Zalando, gave an inspiring keynote about how she integrates this tech into her work.

As the fashion industry moves more and more online, customers want to know if the clothes they’re ordering will fit. Together with her team, Carr uses machine learning to make intelligent predictions on variations in size across the industry. We asked her more about her background, how she got to where she is today, and what the future holds:

You graduated from Berklee College of Music and went on to work in the music industry for a while. How did the transition towards engineering happen and what inspired the change?

For me the intellectual part of the transition was really natural — music is math — from math to computer science – and really overall, thinking in abstract concepts for system design is very similar to composition. Studying computer science felt really familiar and exciting to me. 

The inspiration for the shift was also very natural. I was at Berklee in the early ’90s just as affordable digital recording technologies were hitting the market. It was so obvious to me that with a dial-up modem and the possibility of making high quality recordings at home, suddenly we’re living in a world where one didn’t need to impress a record label in New York or LA to invest in a musician’s work.

The musician could take their future into their own hands. I wanted to make this happen so I started working in online music distribution startups where I could combine newly acquired programming skills with my music background. 

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You left San Francisco, the epicenter of tech entrepreneurship and innovation, for Berlin. What was the potential you saw in Europe and in Zalando in particular?

I loved working and living in San Francisco, particularly during the late ’90s and early 2000s. This was an incredible time of change, possibility, and people with very diverse backgrounds coming together to explore the potential of the internet with a lot of genuine curiosity and heartfelt desire to shape the future.   

What I experienced over the subsequent 15 years was an increased focus on creating wealth and development of products that seemed to benefit smaller numbers of people. I saw moving to Europe as a way to disrupt my personal and professional life trajectory.

I wanted to live in Europe since I was a teenager, but I had no idea what it would be like to work here. So the move was a way to push myself way out of my comfort zone and at the same time realize an important dream. 

Working at Zalando represented an opportunity to take my experience, share it with others, and support the development of the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

Zalando’s ambition felt very familiar to me and from my perspective the fashion industry is about where the music industry was when I first started working in the mid ’90s — ripe for disruption, innovation, and democratization through the possibility of digital automation. 

In interviews, you’re vocal about the need for more diversity in tech. Is there anything you wish you had known at the start of your journey as a woman in engineering?

My time at Berklee left me well prepared for working in a male dominated industry; while I was there, the male to female ratio was 9 to 1. If I could have spoken to my younger self both in music and in tech I would love to say, “don’t be fooled, they sound like they know what they’re talking about, but they have just as many questions as you do.”

Is leadership something that came naturally to you? What are the biggest challenges of being a leader of an engineering team?

Yes, I was the kid roping the neighborhood kids into building a lemonade stand or writing a local newspaper together. I love bringing people together to work as a team — the human connection and the possibility of creating something big together is exciting and personally fulfilling.    

When you lead engineers, technical folks, or just really smart people, you have an inherent responsibility to create a container for them to thrive that is also deeply connected to value creation for customers and business. It’s really easy for individuals to get caught up in their own growth ambition and lose sight of the customer or business objective. It’s your job to gently and thoughtfully reset that focus. 

Stacia Carr on stage at TNW Conference 2019 in Amsterdam

People don’t usually think about fashion as a tech-driven industry. What are the most exciting innovations we should be looking out for?

A lot of 3D is coming our way in the fashion world. As more and more fashion purchases move online, we as an industry need to turn to 3D technologies to be able to provide the customer with the right fit, ensuring a more sustainable experience for everyone.

Customers should be looking out for 3D fitting rooms, even more personalized recommendations, and inspiration in the form of outfits and collections to suit all occasions. Online shopping experiences are becoming increasingly personalized, making use of vast amounts of data and technologies such as machine learning to show that they know the customer better than anyone else.

At your role in Zalando, you’re innovating sizing with machine learning. What other areas of the fashion industry could benefit from this technology? Where do you see AI in fashion heading to in the future?

AI in fashion is, on the one hand, about creating a personalized experience for customers. Machine learning helps us to analyze the very personal nature of fashion and teach an algorithm what makes a good outfit, for example, allowing us to scale inspiration for the benefit of all our customers.

On the other hand, AI also offers sustainability. Using machine learning, we’ll be able to produce on demand, design in 3D, and reduce the type of wastage which has become commonplace with mass-produced clothing. It’s a very exciting time to be working in fashion!


I’ve always dreamed of designing for Madonna someday: Varun Bahl

Designer Varun Bahl and showstopper Sanya Malhotra at Blenders Pride Magical Nights 2019 in Guwahati, Assam on Friday

Guwahati: Pride is your individuality, it is everything, said designer Varun Bahl. The fashion designer was in Guwahati, Assam on Friday to participate in the Blenders Pride Magical Nights 2019 held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the city. Incidentally, ‘Pride’ was also the theme of the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour and the evening was only an extension to that.

In an exclusive interview with EastMojo, Bahl talked about up fashion trends, his creations and what inspires them, among others. Excerpts from the conversation:

EastMojo: Tell us about your theme for the show tonight.

Varun Bahl: Today, we have started a new brand Varun Bahl Pret, whose basic theme is based upon nature largely, besides many other things. Flora and fauna are an important part of our creation. Few months ago, while I was sitting and sketching, I made a flower of five petals. Thereafter I started repeating the pattern and subsequently many beautiful patterns came up and it gave birth to the Varun Bahl Pret. So this is what I am showing tonight and the idea behind this was to reach out to a much larger audience. This couture is basically for weddings. As we see a lot of people look for wearing Indian clothes, so I thought of contemporising the whole Indian wear. This is the five petal story and every design and every print is based on it. It is contemporary Indian clothing.

EM: How will you define ‘Pride’, the theme for the evening?

VB: Pride is your individuality, it is everything. For me, pride is my journey — how I handled and I achieved it. My uniqueness is my pride.

Designer Varun Bahl at Blenders Pride Magical Nights 2019 in Guwahati, Assam on Friday
Designer Varun Bahl at Blenders Pride Magical Nights 2019 in Guwahati, Assam on Friday
EastMojo image

EM: What inspires your creations?

VB: A lot of flora and fauna. In terms of detailing, I love the Victorian period — this is very costume type so we need to wash down and make it relevant for the 21st century and for 2019. That will also be showcased in tonight’s event — high necklines and all. I love the art nouveau period which was in the earlier 19th-century period, it is my favourite period. I also like Barukh though it is not showcased tonight.

EM: What do you have to say about the earlier and the present fashion trends — the way they are evolving?

VB: What is past fashion is past, it was relevant then what is at present it is relevant now. We should not think about yesterday. But in future, I think today we are in the best stage, one of the nicest stage of fashion. Many things are co-existing because individuals wear according to their style and personality. There are many changes nowadays. Like I have introduced many things in fashion industry, one being the use of very light and pastel colours in bridal wear. I was one of the few ones to start this and now everyone is using this. Today, at the show, you’ll see I have brought in contemporary Indian wear. You will see a lot of ‘shararas’ but they won’t look like a ‘shaadi ka sharara’. It is a trouser which cut in a certain way in which a sharara is cut and worn with a short kurti, which is slightly short. It may be a shirt or a jacket. So Indian wear is modernised in my creations tonight. The kind of clothing I showcase can be worn by women in any way and any where across the planet.

EM: How would you describe your personal style?

VB: My personal style is very casual, a T-shirt and jeans. I don’t think much about what to wear when I am working. But when I go out in evenings, I dress up and go.

EM: How do you unwind when you are not working?

VB: I live in a city called New Delhi and there is a lot of social activities happening in the evenings. I am a very social person and I like going out and meeting people. I also like watching movies when not working.

EM: We have heard that you earlier showcased your designs in Milan Fashion Week. Tell us about the experience there.

VB: It was many years ago. It was a wonderful experience. As a young designer to showcase the designs there and to show India anywhere, it was really wonderful.

EM: Tell us about your upcoming projects.

VB: I am working on my next couture collection that is coming up in July. And I also have to make this Pret reach out to more and more audience.

EM: Any celebrity/person you dream to design for someday.

VB: I have always dreamed to design for Madonna someday.


The Curious Case of Kanye West’s New Shoes

Today, Kanye West stepped out in Calabasas in typical Kanye fashion. He was fully decked out in Yeezy gear, including a prune-colored oversized T-shirt that was layered over a nubby long-sleeve shirt in faded indigo blue and trousers the shade of sun-bleached violets. The most eye-catching element of his outfit? A peculiar pair of ankle-hugging gray booties. With a paper-thin rubber sole that turned up towards the toe, the shoeswere unconventional to say the least. Were they scuba socks? Karate slip-ons? The details remain unclear. My colleague, Vogue Culture Writer Bridget Read, made the most astute observation: “They look like L.L. Bean insoles.”

Kanye West Wearing a Sock Shoe

The rapper and fashion designer has a history of flaunting bizarre footwear. Last August at the wedding of his friend 2-Chainz in Miami, West styled his Louis Vuitton suit with a pair of too-small pool slides that appeared to be borrowed from his wife Kim. (He would later defend his choice in a now-deleted Tweet, arguing that the awkward sandal-to-foot ratio was a traditional Japanese style. It wasn’t.)

Kanye West Wearing a Sock Shoe

Either way, West’s footwear isn’t totally out of the ordinary. Sock shoes have been around for quite some time—both Balenciaga and Vetements have released elevated versions of the style. It could be that the rapper is dipping his um, toeinto an entirely new Yeezy category.