Fermilab Today Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday, Sept. 11
3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept. 12
2:30 p.m.
Special Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II (NOTE DATE)
Speaker: U. Nierste, Universitšt Karlsruhe
Title: Bs-anti-Bs Mixing and Supersymmetry
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: G. Crabtree, Argonne National Laboratory
Title: The Global Energy Challenge

Click here for NALCAL,
a weekly calendar with links to additional information.


WeatherPartly cloudy 70°/42°

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Secon Level 3

Wilson Hall Cafe
Tuesday, Sept. 11
- Tomato bisque
- Lemon pepper club
- Burgundy beef tips
- Smart Cuisine: Tortelli Alfredo
- Grilled chicken caesar wrap
- Assorted slice pizza
- Rio Grande taco salad

*Carb Restricted Alternative

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Sept. 12
- Stuffed summer vegetables
- Fresh ginger cake

Thursday, Sept. 13

Chez Leon Menu
Call x4598 to make your reservation.


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Water causes ripple in Fermilab bird sightings

Great blue heron
Image courtesy of Eric Vaandering

Fermilab has always been a haven for our feathered friends, but this year bird expert and AD physicist Peter Kasper said we're seeing fewer birds than in the past two years.

But the decline in bird sightings has more to do with the end of a drought-fed spike than a drop in Fermilab's avian appeal. A 2005 drought brought a general influx of birds in 2005 and 2006, including herons, egrets and cormorants. The drought also attracted a rare influx of shorebird species. The increased rain this year destroyed the muddy shores they used for breeding, removing Fermilab's appeal.

"During the past two years, Fermilab was a bird-watcher's paradise," said Kasper, who runs the Birds of Fermilab Web site.

The 2005 drought caused water levels to drop at DUSAF and A.E. Sea ponds near the Village on the laboratory's east side. At the same time, the laboratory started pumping water out of DUSAF Pond to replenish the cooling system that was hit hard by the heat wave.

"DUSAF Pond was pretty much totally dry," said Rod Walton, Fermilab's resident ecologist.

Kasper said that the low water levels and the developing mud flats -- exposed muddy deposits along the pond shores -- were coinciding factors that made Fermilab look like a bird resort. Wading and seabirds, attracted by the easy fish access, flocked to the ponds. Varying species of shorebirds, very long-distance migratory birds that travel from the southern portion of the Southern Hemisphere to the Artic tundra, stopped at Fermilab's new mudflats.

The drought eased in 2006, but the ecological impacts from 2005 brought a different crop of birds. New plants had taken root in the mud. That trapped more silt, raising the pond floor and creating a more-bird friendly environment when the water returned. Wet-area plants, including reeds, sprang up along the shore, and in some cases, in the middle of the lakes themselves. These plants provide ideal breeding conditions and a thriving aquatic food source.

The rain has returned, and the number and types of birds spotted has reverted to its normal state, which includes a slow area-wide increase in fishing birds, such as herons, egrets and cormorants.

Change brings biodiversity, said Kasper, meaning that Fermilab's areas will attract different species at different times, a great thing for birdwatchers. Although water levels have risen somewhat, the drought's lasting impacts on vegetation could be an attraction for birds in the future.

View a list of bird species seen at Fermilab this year.

-- Tona Kunz and Rhianna Wisniewski

In the News

Drell appointed acting director as Dorfan accepts new university position

From SLAC Today, Sept. 10, 2007

Persis Drell, deputy director of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), has been appointed acting director by university President John Hennessy while the search for the successor to Jonathan Dorfan continues during the fall.

Dorfan, who last March announced his intention to step down this fall after eight years as SLAC's director, will relocate to the university's main campus and become an assistant to the president. In this role, Dorfan will focus on the relationship between Stanford and SLAC, including the renewal of the lease of the SLAC site to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Stanford's contract to continue overseeing SLAC on behalf of the DOE.

Read more

Photo of the Day

The Lightning Rods are 2007 Softball League champs

Congratulations to The Lightning Rods, the 2007 Softball League champions. The Lightning Rods celebrated winning 6-1 in their regular season and 4-0 in their playoff season.

Director's Corner

Joint Dark Energy Mission

Pier Oddone

With the recommendations of the Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee of the National Academy, one piece of the future particle physics program is now largely in place. The Joint Dark Energy Mission has been selected to be the first of the "Beyond Einstein Probes" to go forward to a launch. This BEPAC recommendation stems both from the immense scientific interest to understand dark energy and the technical readiness of the proposed candidate projects for the JDEM satellite. We at Fermilab are collaborators in one of the three proposals for JDEM, the Supernova Acceleration Probe, or SNAP, led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and involving a wide international collaboration.

For many years, the Department of Energy has supported research at the interface of particle physics and astrophysics here at Fermilab as well as at other institutions. Fermilab has a distinguished record in developing the theoretical underpinnings for this connection and, more recently, has developed strong experimental programs to explore it further.

The most dramatic discovery of the last decades has been the discovery of dark energy by two teams, one of them supported by the Department of Energy. A common quip is that the discovery of dark energy is and will be the largest discovery ever made: 75 percent of the universe is dark energy and hence no other discovery will ever be larger! At this point we know nothing about dark energy other than it exists. The partnership of DOE and NASA provides a great opportunity to advance the study of this profound mystery by using a satellite in space to obtain the most precise data subject to minimal systematic errors.

All of the three proposed JDEM projects attack the problem of dark energy and in addition offer rich surveys that are useful for many astronomical and astrophysical investigations. We at Fermilab bring a number of strengths to JDEM, from our expertise in silicon detectors, to our experience in supporting astronomical surveys like the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the future Dark Energy Survey. JDEM will be a natural and exciting evolution of the national program and our program. The next stage for us will be to work as members of the SNAP collaboration to help develop all the plans and information necessary for the selection of a single JDEM mission.


Computer Security Awareness seminars today
Today, Sept. 11, is Computer Security Awareness Day. Presentations on computer and Internet security will be held between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Wilson Hall Atrium and One West. See the poster for presentation schedule.

GSA election results Wednesday
The FNAL Graduate Student Association will announce winners of the 2007-2008 officers election on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Candidate and announcement information available here.

Register for ALCPG07
The joint meeting of the American Linear Collider Physics Group and ILC Global Design Effort will take place at Fermilab Oct. 22-26. The deadline to register is Oct. 12. A block of rooms is reserved for meeting attendees at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. This block of rooms will be held only until Sept. 19. Meeting attendees are encouraged to book your rooms soon. Questions? Contact Cynthia M. Sazama. More information

Wanted: Graduate students for ALCPG07
Are you a graduate student who would like free food and a T-shirt? Volunteer to be a scientific secretary at the ALCPG/GDE meeting at Fermilab on Oct. 22-26. For details contact Andreas Kronfeld.

TIAA- CREF financial education seminar
On Sept. 13, 2007, TIAA-CREF will hold a financial education seminar titled "Your Retirement Income Options." Chad Stein will present the seminar, which will focus on several types of available income options. Attendees will obtain a basic understanding of how to select income options to fulfill your needs upon retirement. Enroll online here. Review the information about the seminar here.

Learn Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional
A course on Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Professional will be offered on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Attendees will learn about PDF files, how to quickly identify components of the Acrobat interface and how to create PDF documents and much more. Learn more and enroll

Buffalo Fest on Friday
From 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, the Users' Center will host Buffalo Fest on its patio. Buffalo burgers and sausage are $5 each; hot dogs are 2 for $5. All sandwiches come with chips. No Fermilab buffalo were harmed for this festival.

Additional Activities

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