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Fermilab Lecture Series presents:
Physics Slam
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.
One champion.

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.


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