By Sharon Traweek

The original breed of particle physicists constitutes a neighborhood of subtle mythmakers--explicators of the character of subject who without end adjust our perspectives of house and time. yet who're those humans? what's their international rather like? Sharon Traweek, a daring and unique observer of tradition, opens the door to this strange area and provides us a glimpse into the internal sanctum.

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The walls of the cafeteria are mostly glass; the limited wall space is covered with rotating exhibits of artwork done by SLAC employees and a blackboard sometimes used by the physicists during their coffee breaks or after lunch. Outside, away from the square and sheltered by oaks, is a patio with several tables and chairs. Altogether there is seating for about one hundred (SLAC has about twelve hundred employees). The food is rather good for a cafeteria; the head of this service takes great personal care of the entire operation, and she and her staff (which is mostly Chicano) are friendly and skilled.

Ties to Stanford are stressed by the SLAC Public Information Office brochures, and in its fund-raising efforts the Stanford Development Office emphasizes the link to the famous research and Nobel Prize-winning work done at SLAC. The formal affiliation between the two institutions is such that the university has a contract from DOE to administer SLAC. Payroll and em- Powerful Places in the Laboratory 23 ployee benefits, for example, are dispensed through Stanford. ) This pattern of mutual assistance, whereby SLAC is used to enhance the prestige of the university and the university is used by SLAC as an administrative buffer that also disseminates information to citizens, is-so far as I know-unique among high energy physics laboratories.

The p~ysicists find annoying the association in the public mind between physics and weapons research. Their second theory assumed the bombing must have been an "inside job," their suspects being the people who were then trying to establish the first. financed research lab- Powerful Places in the Laboratory" 2 1 oratory. They were later successful: the United Stanford Employees (USE) won the National Labor Relations Board-sponsored vote over the Teamsters. From the beginning USE leaders have been concentrated at SLAC-particularly among the techniciansand more widely dispersed on the Stanford campus as a whole.

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Beamtimes and lifetimes: the world of high energy physicists by Sharon Traweek
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