Friday, November 16, 2012 @ 8 p.m.
Tickets - $7
Five physicists; five topics; 12 minutes to impress you as to why THEIR physics research is the coolest.
If you've ever wished you could grade your physics teacher the way your teacher graded you, now may be your chance.
In Fermilab's first physics slam, five scientists will compete for the audience's approval, each explaining a topic in
particle physics in plain English and in only 12 minutes. As slammers, they are at the mercy of the audience, which
decides the winner - the evening's slam champion.
Hosted by College of DuPage's Chris Miller, and following the tradition of poetry slams and comedy slams, the
physics slam pits physicists against each other as they
duke it out to give the clearest, most entertaining presentation on topics such as extra dimensions, weird particle
phenomena, new experiments and accelerator technologies - the kinds of things people hear about but don't necessarily
grasp. Slammers tackle these topics while steering clear of jargon, and the audience leaves a lot smarter.
When scientist-slammers compete, everybody wins.
Meet the Contenders:
Accelerator Driven Systems: Stuart Henderson
How can particle physics help with the nuclear waste problem associated with nuclear power plants? Is there an
alternative to storing waste in the ground for nearly a half-million years to let it decay until safe? It turns out
that accelerators developed for particle physics can also be used to destroy nuclear waste, turning
the difficult to handle waste into materials that are much easier to handle and store until safe while at the same time
generating lots of electrical power. Nuclear power systems that use accelerators, known as Accelerator Driven Systems or
ADSs, have been studied for some time and demonstration facilities are under construction in Europe and Asia. A quick
description of the potential that particle accelerators bring to nuclear power will be presented.
Stuart Henderson is Fermilab's Associate Laboratory Director for Accelerators. Prior to joining the lab two years ago,
he headed up the Spallation Neutron Source accelerator at Oak Ridge National Lab, the world's highest power pulsed
proton accelerator, where he worked for nearly a decade. When there he headed the Accelerator Physics Group and then became
Accelerator Division Head with the responsibility of recommissioning the accelerator facility. Before SNS he spent 10
years at Cornell University as a Scientist on the Cornell Electron Storage Ring electron-positron collider,
which at the time was the world's highest luminosity particle collider. He has a PhD in Physics from Yale University,
and has been elected to the executive committees in both the American Physical Society and the American Nuclear Society.
Holography of the Universe: Chris Stoughton
Our understanding of the physical world changed dramatically
one hundred years ago with the introduction of two great theories:
quantum mechanics, which describes "light" things, and general relativity,
which describes "heavy" things. One challenge remains - how to
reconcile these two theories. While each one agrees amazingly well
with all existing measurements, we do not know how to make them agree
with each other! They meet at a very very very very very small
distance -- billions of times smaller than any object we know about.
This is where predictions from the two models collide. The problem is
that we had no way to make measurements at that distance.
Until now. The Holometer is an experiment designed, using the
Holographic Principle, to take very far-away and remarkably small
measurements to see whether space itself is grainy.
Dr. Chris Stoughton started his research career studying small things
(neutrinos, charm quarks) and then worked on "big" projects to map the
Universe. Now, he works on this exceedingly small project. He'll
talk about the two theories, the Holometer, and what it is that
scientists do all day.
Discovery Science with Muons: Doug Glenzinski
The muon, a heavy cousin of the electron, was discovered in 1936. Since that time they have only ever been observed to do
one of two things: 1) interact with a nucleus or 2) decay into an electron and two neutrinos. But a new experiment at
Fermilab, the Mu2e experiment, is going to look for a third thing: a muon interacting with a nucleus and decaying into
an electron and nothing else. This is a decay process that's predicted to occur very, very rarely, maybe once every quadrillion
muon decays, (or less!). But this very rare decay may hold the key to understanding physics at its most fundamental
level. The Mu2e experiment is an ambitious endeavor whose goal is to observe this very rare decay for the first time -
a discovery that could reveal a new paradigm of physics.
Doug Glenzinski has been at Fermilab since 1999 where he spent the first 11 years studying proton/anti-proton collisions
with the CDF experiment. Prior to that he spent four years working at CERN studying electron/anti-electron collisions with
the OPAL experiment. He began his research career with the discovery of the top quark in 1995. Doug is currently the
deputy project manager for the Mu2e experiment.
Neutrino Monologues: Deborah Harris
Neutrinos are a billion times more plentiful than protons and neutrons, yet we know very little about them. Fermilab,
home to more neutrino experiments than any other lab in the world, is studying these particles like never before. Debbie
Harris has been working on neutrino experiments since 1994 and is currently one of the spokespeople for MINERvA, an
experiment that studies how neutrinos interact with ordinary matter.
Project X: Bob Tschirhart
Project X is a next generation particle accelerator for fundamental physics research. It has the potential to drive world-
leading experiments exploring the science of neutrino,
and high-precision experiments with other particles produced by Project X that can search for new physics related to, and beyond,
the recent discoveries at CERN, our sister laboratory. Dr. Robert Tschirhart is serving as the
research program scientist for Project X. He has been at Fermilab since 1992, pursuing
experiments fueled by accelerators of ever increasing power.