Fermi National Laboratory


Questions and Answers from Virtual Ask-a-Scientist of June 5, 2002

More information about the program

Moderator
Welcome to Fermilab's Virtual ask a scientist. Brian and Janet are ready for your questions!

Moderator
On this webpage you can see Live Events from the detectors of CDF and DZero http://www.fnal.gov/pub/now/live_events/index.html

Moderator
Recent Fermilab Press Release: Fermilab opens gate to buffalo fans http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/press_releases/buffalo_pass.html


Sallie
How will MiniBoone detect neutrinos?

Janet Conrad
MiniBooNE will see neutrinos interact in a tank of mineral oil. The particles produced in the interaction produce a little bit of light we observe in our detector.

Janet Conrad
To add to Sallie's question... The way we detect the light is with phototubes. Phototubes work like inverse light bulbs. Light goes in and electricity comes out. We record the electrical pulses that the light produces.


Moderator
On this webpage we post an accelerator update on a daily basis: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/news02/update.html


Sallie
Will information obtained from MiniBoone help confirm that neutrinos oscillate, or prove that they have mass?

Janet Conrad
MininBooNE will confirm or rule out whether the LSND experiment observed neutino oscillations. Oscillations can only occur if neutrinos have mass. So if MiniBooNE sees a signal, that will indicate that neutrinos must have mass. More in a moment...


Moderator
Did you know that there is an exceptional variety of birds living, breeding on Fermilab grounds? Here is a link to our "bird pages": http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/campus/ecology/wildlife/birds.html


minou
The information about the neutrinos and the speculation about the Big Bang and dark matter has been fun to follow, but it all seems very remote from "everyday" life. I hate to ask the applicability question, but I will anyway. In practical terms, where does the knowledge about neutrinos get us?

Janet Conrad
Other experiments have also seen evidence for oscillations, so at this point we think neutrinos probably do have mass. What is exciting about the result MiniBooNE studies is that , if the signal is there, neutrinos must have enough mass to affect the way the universe evolves.


Moderator
At Fermilab we have an education center called "Lederman Science Center". This is their homepage: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/ed_home.html


george
Hi. How does neutrino physics fit in with the accelerators at Fermilab?

Janet Conrad
We produce our neutrino beam using accelerators. What happens is that we accelerate protons up to high energies and crash them into things . Neutrinos are part of the stuff that comes out.


Wally
What's it like being a physicist?

Brian Connolly
I am a graduate student at Florida State University working on D0, a 3 story experiment which measures collisions of protons and anti-protons. Being a graduate student RULES. The hours are are long (although I make my own), but I get to see phenomena that no one has seen before!


Sallie
I am familiar with SNO and Super K, but what is the LSND experiment?

Janet Conrad
LSND stands for Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector. This experiment was run at Los Alamos from 1993 to 1998. It used neutrinos produced by an accelerator. So this is the only accelerator based experiment with evidence for oscillations.


Moderator
QuarkNet is a research collaboration between high school students, teachers and particle physicists. This is the QuarkNet website: http://quarknet.fnal.gov/

Moderator
Questions asked and answered before you entered the room will not be visible to you. Please check back in a week for the complete transcript.


minou
Most of the textbook stuff you see about neutrinos, and the info I looked up on the Internet, talk about neutrinos being massless. Research is moving so fast now--do you think it will be a huge problem to keep what is taught being concurrent with what is known?

Janet Conrad
Yes! That is a big problem that I have in the class I teach at Columbia. The Standard Model has to have massless neutrinos. We don't know how to fit in neutrino mass yet. So I teach my class saying -- we will assume that neutrinos are massless even though that is probably wrong.


george
Brian--What do you plan to do when you're done with grad work?

Brian Connolly
I just obtained my Ph.D. a few months ago, and I plan to do a post-doc for a couple of years so that I can eventually teach and do research. More...

Brian Connolly
However, people end up doing lots of things with their high energy physics Ph.D.'s. Some teach or move into the technology sector or even Wall Street!


David
Hi, whne a photon "boils off" a cathode, how can it go in a particular direction if, at ejection, it acquires wavelike properties and then acts as an isotropic radiator of energy in all directions with an equal likelihood of being observed as a particle within the expanding sphere of its e-m radiation. Futhermore, isn't the concept of an isotropically radiating photon a return t a pre-Planck continuous wave view of e-m radiation and therefore a violation of the quantum view of energy?

Brian Connolly
To David - It's been a while since I thought about these things. However, I believe the electron radiates from the cathode in all directions (in the absence of an e+m field). Whether it is a particle or a wave has nothing to do with the direction that it can be radiated (and certainly not a violation of any conservation laws). More...

Brian Connolly
As a matter of fact, according to quantum mechanics, the electron has *a* probability of being anywhere. So theoretically, there is a probability of the electron showing up on the moon - albeit a very small probability. This is not a violation of any conservation law that we know about.

Janet Conrad
The "wave packet" is really the probability of where the particle will be found when you make a measurement. Therefore, while there can be a probability for finidng a particle anywhere, there can be a much much larger probability for finding it in certain locatiosn than others.


Moderator
On the Fermilab website you can find a High Energy Physics timeline, explaining who discovered what and when. This is the url: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/timeline/index.html


Sallie
Janet, What does the name MiniBooNE mean?

Janet Conrad
Small Booster Neutrino Experiment


Moderator
Physics is our mission, but buffalo may be Fermilab's main attraction for visitors. What are buffalo doing at a physics laboratory? Here is the answer: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/campus/ecology/wildlife/bison.html

Moderator
And to make the Fermilab animal story complete, I would like to inform you about the butterfly activity. A total of 51 species of butterflies were seen on the Fermilab campus during the past three years. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/campus/ecology/wildlife/butterflies.html

Janet Conrad
... and if you like bird watching rather than butterfly watching, Peter Kasper from the MiniBooNE experiment runs a webpage for birdwatchers at Fermilab.



george
Brian--will you try to work at Fermilab? Is it a good place to work?

Brian Connolly
I might apply to work at Fermilab - however, there are LOTS of high energy experiments all over the planet - from Geneva, Switzerland to Anarctica. I want to try doing something different - so I might move on to an experiment somewhere else!

Brian Connolly
For george - as for whether Fermilab is a good place to work - Fermilab is a FANTASTIC place to work! I work in the midst of prarie land among deer and birds and even buffalo! Furthermore, it is the highest energy particle accelerator in the world right now.


Moderator
Did you know that Fermilab had the second (or third) website in the U.S.A.? Read more about this: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/help/history.html

Moderator
The Birds at Fermilab site is at: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/campus/ecology/wildlife/birds.html

Moderator
A short while ago we put together an online photo collection that introduces Fermilab in all its facets. Here is the link: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/whatis/picturebook/index.html


Sallie
Why was mineral oil chosen for the MiniBoone experiment instead of the heavy water used at SNO?

Janet Conrad
That's a good question -- two reasons. First, for the energy of neutrinos we are trying to observe, mineral oil gives us a good signal. Second, we borrowed most of the phototubes on the experiment and they are built to work in oil, not water. So for both physics and practical reasons.


Siep
How do you repair a detector, for example the one at CDF, if the beam is still running?

Brian Connolly
Siep - the beam does not run 24 hours a day 7 days a week (although we'd like it to). Sometimes we have 'down time' where we cross into the area where the detector is an repair it. However, only minor repairs are possible since we usually have a short time and the detector is hard to work on when it is all pieced together.


Moderator
What is the Tevatron doing right now? Check the Tevatron status: http://www-bd.fnal.gov/servlets/d11?project=outside


Wally
How will the new accelerator at CERN affect Fermilab's status?

Janet Conrad
The new accelerator at CERN will be much higher energy than Fermilab. So when it turns on, it will be at the energy frontier. But it will not turn on for another 5 years, and there is a lot of exciting work for CDF and D0 before then. More in a minute...

Janet Conrad
... Once the new accelerator at CERN turns on, the present Fermilab accelerators will be used for high precision measurements. There are two ways to get at new physics -- high energy or high precision. So Fermilab does not give up the physics frontier at all.


Moderator
Fermilab has a big audience that visits the lab for cultural events. On this page you can see what we offer: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/events/culture.html

Moderator
To get our protons on the way we use a "chain of accelerators". Here is more information: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/physics/accelerators/chainaccel.html

Moderator
This is the website of MiniBooNE, Janet's experiment: http://www-boone.fnal.gov/

Moderator
And this is the website of DZero, where Brian does his research: http://www-d0.fnal.gov/


Tulip
Isn't the detector hidden behind big bricks? Do you need to move those bricks every time you need to do repairs?

Brian Connolly
Tulip - in order to move the detector where the proton-anti-proton collisions are occuring, we have to move about 50 cement blocks (each about the size of a small car). More..

Brian Connolly
However, when the detector is in place, we replace one of the block with a secure doorway.


Moderator
And this is the website of DZero, where Brian does his research: http://www-d0.fnal.gov/

Moderator
Physics questions from real people and physics answers from Fermilab scientists. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/questions/index.html


Sarah
Who came up with the word 'flavor' when talking about neutrino's? Is that word used among scientists as well?

Janet Conrad
"Flavor" is defintiely the term we use, but I don't know who first came up with that word.

Janet Conrad
Physicists use a lot of peculiar words to describe particles. For example, there are the "strange" particles, becaus when physicists first saw them, they looked really strange.

Janet Conrad
"family" is used as a synonym for flavor.

Janet Conrad
The neutrino was first predicted to exist by Wolfgange Pauli. He predicted its existence in a letter to his scientific colleagues because he could not attend the meeting -- he had a date.

Janet Conrad
The enutrino was named by Enric Fermi -- that's why iy's Italian. neutrino means "little neutral one"

Sarah
Interesting! I thought scientists only used very difficult terms for these things!

Janet Conrad
Actually, a lot of being a physicist is learning to talk like one.


Siep
Brian, may I ask what you do at DZero?

Brian Connolly
I am (was) a graduate student working on measuring the mass of the top quark - a sub-atomic particle discovered in 1995 by my experiment, and another similar experiment at Fermilab called CDF.

Brian Connolly
I say was a graduate student, because I JUST defended my Ph.D. a month ago!

Siep
And did you figure it out? The mass of the top quark?

Brian Connolly
Yes. The top quark mass can be measured in a number of ways. That is, it appears in our detector in a number of ways. My measurement was the last of 3 basic measurements that can be made of the top quark. My measurement is not published, so I really can'[t tell you what MY particular measurement is, but I can tell you is it consistent with the other top measurements that are around 175 GeV/c^2 (which is about the size of a gold atom!)


Moderator
Fermilab produced its first high-energy particle beam on March 1, 1972. Since then hundreds of experiments have used Fermilab's accelerators to study matter at ever smaller scales. Here an overview of the top ten achievements so far. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/physics/discoveries/index.html

Moderator
The Fermilab Education Office offers seven programs for under-graduate students: http://www-ed.fnal.gov/lasso/program_search/undergrad.lasso

Moderator
Virtual Tour: The next best thing to visiting Fermilab in person. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/tour/index.html

Moderator
We have VideoNews and streaming video of lectures and colloquia. Here is the url: http://www-visualmedia.fnal.gov/VMS_Site/s_videostreaming.html


george
What's the most rewarding part of being a physicist?

Janet Conrad
I think it is finding out something which no one else has ever known before.


Moderator
On this webpage you can see Live Events from the detectors of CDF and DZero http://www.fnal.gov/pub/now/live_events/index.html


Theo
I have a question for Janet. How does one become a spokesperson at an experiment? Does this mean you 'manage' the experiment, make the decisions?

Janet Conrad
An experiment starts out as a group of people with a shared idea. We then have to organize to make it happen. There are a lot of roles on an experiment. the role of the sopkesperson is to coordinate the others and to interface with the lab.

Janet Conrad
An experiment chooses new spokespeople on a regular basis. MiniBooNE re-elects sopkespeople every 3 years. This is my 2nd term.

Janet Conrad
Managing an experiment is like herding cats -- everyone has very strong opinions. So my job is mainly to try to help the group reach consensus.

Janet Conrad
It isn't like being a CEO who makes absolute decisions -- I have to reflect what the group wants.


Tulip
Now the tank is filled up, what's next? When can MiniBooNE start taking data?

Janet Conrad
MiniBooNE is about to start running. We are starting to commission our beamline.

Janet Conrad
Our detector is ready to go. It is taking data on "cosmic rays". Cosmic rays are produced when particles from outer space collide witht he atmosphere. They rain downn on you and me and the MiniBooNE detector. We can see them in the detector very clearly.


Moderator
Recent Fermilab Press Release: Fermilab opens gate to buffalo fans (http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/press_releases/buffalo_pass.html)


Tulip
Last year there was an accident at the neutrino experiment in Japan. Was there something for MiniBooNE to learn from that?

Janet Conrad
A terrible accident happened at the Super K detector last fall. They have enourmous phototubes, the size of a TV set (20 inches in diameter). There is a vacuum inside the photobes. One tube imploded causeing a huge release of energy and many other tubes were then destroyed ... (more comign)

Janet Conrad
Super K understands why the accident happened and are rebuilding with protection for the tubes so that that this will not happen again. They are making great progress. We wish them well.

Janet Conrad
MiniBooNE will not face the same problem because we have much smaller tubes and because our tubes are not as deep under liquid, so there is much less stored energy in each tube. We have done careful studies to be sure our system is stable.


Moderator
Did you know that there is an exceptional variety of birds living, breeding on Fermilab grounds? Here is a link to our "bird pages": http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/campus/ecology/wildlife/birds.html

Moderator
On the Fermilab website you can find a High Energy Physics timeline, explaining who discovered what and when. This is the url: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/timeline/index.html


Wally
Janet--What's it like being a female physicist in a field so dominated by males?

Janet Conrad
The field actually changing. In my generation (associate prof level) there are only about 10% women physicists. But there is a much higher fraction of women at the graduate level. Now, in high schools most hysics classes are 50-50. more soon...

Janet Conrad
I really like what I do and I think it suits my personality as a women very well. High energy physics is a field where there is a strong sense of community.

Brian Connolly
Wally - Janet is right - the field is changing - my sister is a particle physicist on a competing experiment!


Sarah
Are there anti-neutrinos?

Janet Conrad
Yes there are. The antiparticle partner of the neutrino is an antineutrino.

Brian Connolly
Yes, quarks (things that make up the nuclei of atoms) and leptons (which is either an electron-like particle or neutrino) all have anti-particle partners.


Moderator
Fermilab maintains a good relationship with the neighboring communities. We often get questions from our neighbors. We answer and post them on our Community Forum website: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/community/forum.html

Moderator
Here is a link to the online subscription form for FermiNews: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/ferminews/web_signup_fnews/sign_up.html

Moderator
A question some people ask us is "Why support science?". We devoted a webpage to the answer: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/matter/whysupport/index.html


Theo
This chat is cool, but I have got to go. Can I read it somewhere later?

Moderator
Yes. Check back in in about a week for a transcript of today's session! Thanks!


Sarah
Janet, do you give tours at your experiment?

Janet Conrad
Yes. You can set up a tour through the office of public affairs at Fermilab.

Sarah
Great! Thanks.


Moderator
To find out more about Enrico Fermi, visit: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/whatis/enricofermi.html


Wally
Brian--are neutrinos also produced in colliders?

Brian Connolly
Wally - neutrinos are produced at my experiment in proton-anti-proton collisions. However, in any given collision, one or two MIGHT be produced. Since neutrinos hardly ever interact with every day matter, we don't detect the neutrino, and they show up as a missing particle or missing energy in our detector. More...

Brian Connolly
Wally (cont.) On the other hand, Janet can detect and study neutrinos because she produces lots of them.


Wally
Janet--What's the connection between Brian's experiment and yours?

Janet Conrad
All of the experiemnts at Fermilab are united by the goal of trying to understand what is Beyond the Standard Model. We know that the Standard Model is just a model -- there is a lot that it does not explain. We need clues to try to understand what the larger theory really is. Brian's experiemnt and my experiment both look for these clues.


Tulip
Brian, are there job opportunities in the corporate world for you?

Brian Connolly
Tulip - in terms of job opportunities, high energy physicists have good technical training, and are also used to sifting through tremendous amounts of data. They can therefore get jobs ranging from those dealing with electronics to those dealing with financial market.

Tulip
Do you consider to switch?

Brian Connolly
No, because I like doing research (I like making discoveries about the world). Furthermore, I like the challenge, and I LOVE telling people about what I do. That is, I like teaching!


Moderator
What is the Tevatron doing right now? Check the Tevatron status: http://www-bd.fnal.gov/servlets/d11?project=outside


Siep
Could it be that the Tevatron is down at the moment?

Moderator
Yes. The Tevatron is on shutdown until June 18th.

Janet Conrad
To Siep -- The Tevatron is shut down at the moment to make some major improvements. This will give Brian's experiemnt a lot more antiprotons. There will be another shutdown in October for another set of big improvements. The number of collisions is just going up and up.


Siep
Janet, when do you think MiniBooNE finds what it is looking for? How long does this data taking last? And how many people work on that?

Janet Conrad
It will take us about two years to collecxt all of the data. Analysis will take a bit longer. We are aiming for the 75th anniversary of proposal for the existence of neutrinos for bringing out our results.


Moderator
Order Fermilab brochures online: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/public_affairs/brochures.html

Moderator
A glossary and online resources for those who would like to know more. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/more/index.html

Moderator
Physics questions from real people and physics answers from Fermilab scientists. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/questions/index.html


Wally
What's all the talk about the Linear Collider? Is that going to be a big improvement?

Janet Conrad
The linear collider is an idea for how to study beyond the Standard Model physics in a very clean way. It is a technologically very difficult accelerator to build. But that also makes the R&D work very exciting.


Moderator
And here's an interesting article from Wired.com: Data Collection: More the Merrier http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,52909,00.html


Wally
How does this vary from the LHC?

Janet Conrad
The Linear Collider will happen much farther in the future than LHC. The LHC will be the next new high energy machine to turn on. It has mroe than 10 times the energy of the present Tevatron. Such a big leap is bound to find new physics -- everytime we increase by an order of magnitude, new phenomena shows up.

Brian Connolly
Wally - colliding protons and anti-protons (or protons and protons together) is very messy. Protons (anti-protons) are made of quarks and gluons, and when you collide them together, you don't know as much as you would like about the actually particles being collided. The linear collider, which collides electrons and anti-electrons together. In these events you know exactly what is being collided, and the their energy. The events resulting from such collisions are therefore very 'clean'.


Moderator
Virtual Tour: The next best thing to visiting Fermilab in person. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/tour/index.html

Moderator
Here's a chart showing increases in Luminosity during Run II. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/now/tevlum.html

Moderator
Fermilab publishes a bi-weekly magazine called FermiNews. You can sign up, it's free! Here is a link to the online version of the magazine http://www.fnal.gov/pub/ferminews/ferminews02-05-24/index.html


Wally
So when do you think you'll be releasing results from MiniBoone?

Janet Conrad
WE think is will be in 2004 or 2005 (neutrinos were predicted to exist in 1930, so this is 75 years after the "birth" of the neutrino).


Moderator
Looking for a photo from Fermilab? Try: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/vismedia/index.html


Wally
So, Brian... As you just finished your PHD work, how does the life compare to what you expected as a lowly undergrad?

Brian Connolly
I assume what you mean by undergrad is a graduate student. Life is different because I am very much RELIEVED that it is over (although my thesis topic was mega-fun), and I am excited about what my future (along with the future of high energy physics) might hold!

Janet Conrad
brian -- you will LOVE being a postdoc. That's the best possible job. You finally know what you are doing and have the authority to do it. And there is no commuting to your experiemnt!


Moderator
Here are photos of buildings at Fermilab: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/vismedia/gallery/buildings.html

Moderator
All the news that's fit--Fermilab's web news archive: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/archive.html


Wally
What was your thesis topic (if I may ask...)?

Brian Connolly
My thesis topic was the measurement of the top quark where the top quark decays into just quarks. The problem is, there are a lot of collisions of protons and anti-protons that produce a lot of garbage that looks exactly like the top quark. I therefore had to use sophisticed techniques to find the top, like neural networks (which are mathematical algorithms that LEARN the difference between garbage and what you are looking for).


Ron
What are the main goals of Run 2?

Brian Connolly
The main goals of Run II are to make more precise measurements of the particles that we already know about, and to find new particles which are predicted by better, more comprehensive theories about the make-up of the universe. In particular, the Higgs particle, which is a prediction of the higgs mechanism which give rise to mass.


Moderator
To get our protons on the way we use a "chain of accelerators". Here is more information: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/physics/accelerators/chainaccel.html


Ron
How is Run II going, then?

Janet Conrad
Run II is just starting up. The Luminosity keeps increasing. We expect a big increase after theupgrades they are installing this week.

Brian Connolly
The experiments have not taken much data yet, and we (D0 and CDF) are still trying to understand what is coming out of our detectors. Furthermore, we are wrapping up the few last minute pieces that still need to be included to make the detector do everything that we want it to do.


Sallie
Janet -- Is there any difference in the neutrinos generated by the accelerator and the cosmic ones? And are you able to detect both kinds?

Janet Conrad
Cosmic rays produce neutrinos in the same way we produce enutrinos at accelerators. Most cosmic rays are protons. The protons hit the atmosphere and neutrinos are produced in the explosion of particles which come out. Similarly, at MiniBooNE, protons hit a target and neutrinos are produced in teh stuff that comes out. The neutrinos produced by Cosmic rays have very similar energies to those produced at MiniBooNE. In pronciple we could see the neutrinos produced in the atmosphere. But many fewer of those neutrinos will pas through MiniBooNE than neutrinos produced by the accelerator. So in practice, we don't expect to see any atmospheric neutrino interactions in our detector.


Moderator
Here's another great High Energy Physics site: http://particleadventure.org/particleadventure/

Moderator
And a list of other institutions: http://www.hep.net/sites/directories.html


Ron
What will be the next big discovery at Fermilab?

Janet Conrad
If MiniBooNE sees a signal, that would be a BIG discovery. The implication for the Standard Model is that there are extra neutrinos called "sterile neutrinos" that have to be fit into our theory. The implication for cosmology is that neutrinos are a significant part of the dark matter of the universe.

Brian Connolly
We have a lot of weird events at D0 and CDF which could be statistical fluctuations, but also could be clues to physics beyond our presently accepted understanding of the way the universe operates. If they are indeed 'new' physics, then we will detect a lot of these events in Run II, because the detectors have been improved, and the amount of data that will be taken will increase by a factor of ~20.


Moderator
Transcripts of this session will be available next week. Check back at: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/virtual/


Janet Conrad
The neutrino was originally predicted because of a big problem with nuclear decay. If you added up all of the energy of the outgoing particles and all of the momentum of the outgoing particles, some of it was missing. So scientists had to either give up energy and momentum conservation or else invent a new particle -- the neutrino


Ron
So what exactly do you hope to discover?

Janet Conrad
On MiniBooNE, we produce a beam of "muon -type" neutrinos. We know they are muon-type because they produce muons when they interact in the detector and nto electrons. If they turn in to (or oscillate to) electron-type neutrinos, then instead we will see electrons produced int he detector.


Moderator
Here's a transcript from a session with Roger Dixon and Robin Erbacher. http://www.fnal.gov/pub/inquiring/virtual/aas_transcript3-19-02.html


Janet Conrad
It is a lot like starting out a race with all tigers and finding some lions in the mix at the end.

Sallie
But since you're talking about "flavors," wouldn't it be more in keeping with the jargon to say you started with strawberries and found some blueberries in the mix at the end?

Janet Conrad
Actually, since there are three flavors, I think Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla works well -- neutrino neopolitan.

Janet Conrad
We actually turned that in to the Ben and Jerry's website when they requested new icecream names, but they did not take us up on it.

Brian Connolly
Bummer, dude.

Janet Conrad
The High School teacher on our experiment is from Vermont, But Ben & Jerry's was not impressed.


Moderator
Fermilab's art gallery has regular shows: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/Art_Gallery/

Moderator
There is also a very active lecture series.. http://www.fnal.gov/culture/lecture.shtml


Ron
Where do you see physics leading? I mean beyond your current experiments.

Janet Conrad
Neutrino physics is a very exciting field. Now that we are pretty sure enutrinos have mass, this raises many more questions for us to explore.

Janet Conrad
This is a very exciting time for physics. While lots of "big" things work in the Standard Model, there are a lot of "little effects" which we cannot fit in. This is the same situation as at the turn of last century, when Newton's laws seemed to work so well for almost everything -- but there grew to be to many "little problems". In order to make a big breakthrough, we have to gather all of the problems together to come up with some larger explanation. You have to live at the right time, when there are enough accumulated anomalies to figure it all out. It think we are very close to that point in hgih energy physics right now. That's why this is such an exciting field.

Brian Connolly
We will soon be discovering (in the next 20 years, say) if many physics theories proposed today survive the test of experiment. For instance, we will discover whether the Higgs exists, and show whether or not Supersymmetry is a valid theory.


Moderator
Here's a page of Frequently Asked Questions about Fermilab: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/faqs/index.html

Moderator
Director Michael Witherell's vision for the lab: http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/directorsoffice/index.html


Moderator
Thanks to all for visiting. Please check back for more Virtual Ask A Scientist sessions!

Janet Conrad
Bye everyone!

Brian Connolly
bye!

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last modified 6/12/2002   email Fermilab