by Judy Jackson
Where else could you read about the first observation of the tau neutrino; the flowering of the yellow prairie coneflower; an award for a Vietnamese maestro of physics conferences; and grilled rib lamb chops with basil butter and tomato risottoall in one issue?
Only in FERMINEWS. The issue with the tau neutrino appeared on August 14, 2000, but you could pick up almost any copy and find a similarly eclectic mix of physics and just about anything else, always including the Chez Léon menu.
October 18, 2002: New Computing Division Head; Prehistoric Artifacts on the Fermilab site; Students Visit from Alabama High School; Grilled Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese, Crab Stuffed Fillet of Sole, Chocolate Soufflé with Frangelico Ice Cream.
June 27, 2003: Run II Status; Michael Turner on Why Accelerators Matter; Physics of a Corked Baseball Bat; Last MINOS Plane Installed; Field Greens, Pears and Parmesan, Pork Tenderloin with Marsala Sauce, Yam Puree, Peach Melba. (Peach Melba again? Didn't we just have that two years ago?)
It was all there in FERMINEWS, plus the classified ads.
For a couple of reasons, FERMINEWS was not your average physics laboratory newsletter. First, it had a diverse audience: not only Fermilab employees, retirees and users but the greater particle physics community, colleagues at other laboratories around the world, people in government, students, particle physics groupiesand our next-door neighbors. Recently, having paid his debt to society, one of FERMINEWS's readers requested an address change from his previous residence at one of the nation's more well-known correctional institutions. Not everyone believed it was possible to produce one publication for so many different readers, but FERMINEWS definitely tried. It was gratifying to walk into a Congressman's office in Washington and see a copy of FERMINEWS on his desk, but perhaps just as gratifying to see it on the coffee table in the dentist's office in Batavia. (It was really gratifying to see it in the dentist's office in Geneva, Switzerland.)
From the start, FERMINEWS aimed to give a picture of real life at a particle physics laboratory. Perhaps it was ahead of its time, but FERMINEWS was about reality before reality was cool. That meant that readers were as likely to find a story about the driver of the Fermilab taxi or the coming of spring to the Fermilab prairie as they were about the latest development in superconducting magnet technology or accelerator luminosity records. Stories about accounting systems and profiles of neighboring villages shared its pages with articles on neutrino physics and science funding. Not that FERMINEWS didn't cover science and science policy. It simply recognized that there's more to life at a physics lab thanuhphysics.
In fact, FERMINEWS was always as much about people as physics. A lot of the people in it were doing physics, or thinking about physics, or thinking about funding for physics, or teaching physics, or making physics experiments work. But plenty of others were harvesting prairie seeds or balancing books or shoveling snow. Or cooking great meals for all of the above. FERMINEWS once ran a story about a reporter's mom. What it came down to is that FERMINEWS was a family publication, from the nuclear (not that kind of nuclear) family that is Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to the extended family of readers around the world and in the neighborhood who care about Fermilab and particle physics.
Which probably explains why readers loved those Chez Léon menus. Everyone knows that the most important question in any family is, "What's for dinner?"
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|last modified 6/14/2004 email Fermilab|