Fermilab Today Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tuesday, Oct. 9
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar - One West
Speaker: L. Klamp Spentzouris, Illinois Institute of Technology
Title: Current Graduate Student Research in Accelerator Physics at IIT

Wednesday, Oct. 10
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: B. Fitzpatrick, Google
Title: Building Scalable Systems and Moving Large Datasets

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


WeatherBreezy 73°/43°

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Current Security Status

Secon Level 3

Wilson Hall Cafe
Tuesday, Oct. 9
- Tomato bisque
- Lemon pepper club
- Beef with peppers
- Smart cuisine tortellini alfredo
- Grilled chicken Caesar wrap
- Assorted slice pizza
- Rio Grande taco salads

*Carb Restricted Alternative

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Oct. 10
- Middle Eastern cornish hens
- Lentil rice
- Stuffed plum tomatoes
- Almond baklava

Thursday, Oct. 11

Chez Leon Menu
Call x4598 to make your reservation.


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Generators drive computer fix

Generators and air conditioners sit outside the Grid Computing Center last week Tuesday and Wednesday to allow for preventive maintenance.

Last week, the Computing Division broke new ground.

But few people across the globe noticed.

And that's exactly what Fermilab wanted.

"From a computing standpoint, they did not see any interruptions at all and there were well over 3,000 computers involved," said Adam Walters, department head of facility operations.

To make it happen, the computing division and FESS brought in four semi-trailer sized generators and hooked them up to the two Grid Computing Center rooms.

"Essentially it looked like we were having a rock concert or something," Walters said.

What they were doing was even more edgy than earsplitting guitar anthems.

To allow for day-long transformer and electrical switch preventive maintenance, CD had to switch the grid computers to back-up generators. But that meant transferring the power to the Grid Computing Center that supports the laboratory's largest experiments, including CDF and DZero.

Data crunching by researchers from universities across the globe would have been forced to sit idle for hours or days.

The crew from FESS, CD and subcontracted electricians tensed when the breaker was switched. But they were confident in the three weeks of preparation and shutdown simulations they had done.

The generators whirred on and cold air pushed into the room. No data lost. Computers humming happily.

CD timed the electrical feeder maintenance to coordinate with the site-wide electrical outage last Wednesday to avoid additional work interruptions.

"We think we saved a lot of the user community's time," said Gerald Bellendir, head of facilities planning in the computing division. "It would have affected people all over the globe."

-- Tona Kunz

Photo of the Day

DZero teams defy gravity

DZero collaborators celebrate the final day of thei week-long meeting with a volleyball tournament on Sept. 27. This year was the 13th DZero International 2-on-2 Sand Volleyball Tournament. The winners (for the third time in a row) were Len Cristofek and Miroslav Kopal.

In the News

Physics Nobel goes to German, Frenchman

Chicago Tribune, Oct. 9, 2007

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Two European scientists won the 2007 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for a discovery that lets computers, iPods and other digital devices store reams of data on ever-shrinking hard disks.

France's Albert Fert and German Peter Gruenberg independently discovered a physical effect in 1988 has led to sensitive tools for reading the information stored on hard disks. That sensitivity lets the electronics industry use smaller and smaller disks.

"The MP3 and iPod industry would not have existed without this discovery," Borje Johansson, a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences told The Associated Press. "You would not have an iPod without this effect."

The two scientists discovered a phenomenon called giant magnetoresistance. In this effect, very weak changes in magnetism generate larger changes in electrical resistance. This is how information stored magnetically on a hard disk can be converted to electrical signals that the computer reads.

Read More

Director's Corner

Kicking the tires

Pier Oddone
Pier Oddone

We have just completed two arduous weeks of reviews and meetings. A little more than a week ago we had the DOE Annual Program Review that brings program managers and consultants from the field to review and critique the scientific programs of the laboratory. The review takes three days, with plenary and parallel sessions to allow the committee to analyze the programs in depth. Overlapping with this review, we had a two-day meeting of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel. Although not formally a review of Fermilab, P5 did in fact review the Tevatron experiments in relation to the proposal to run in 2010 and for the first time heard a discussion of the roadmap recommended by the Steering Group.

Last week the FRA board met at Fermilab for two days. The board, chaired by Bob Zimmer, University of Chicago president, includes a diverse group of scientists, corporate managers and policy makers. It has seven subcommittees that oversee the laboratory in its many aspects. These subcommittees conduct parallel sessions the day before the full board meeting. We discussed the main issues confronting the laboratory and the actions that we are taking to address them. The full board also heard reports of the Administrative and Physics Visiting Committees, the report of the Root Cause Analysis Team on the LHC triplet failure and the report of the Steering Group on the proposed roadmap for the accelerator-based part of our field. The board is an invaluable group not only with respect to overseeing the laboratory but also in helping the laboratory with advice on the many issues we confront.

So these groups kicked the tires hard, and we should all be pleased with the results. The comments of all these groups have largely been complimentary of the laboratory and the staff, impressed at the level of activity and vitality in the laboratory and appreciative of the leadership the laboratory has shown in developing new ideas and new approaches to research in the coming decade.

In the News

Fermilab and Fermi:
Top 10 science feats

The Beacon News, Oct. 8, 2007

On Dec. 2, 1942, a team of scientists led by Enrico Fermi ushered in the nuclear age beneath the University of Chicago's Stagg Field.

Fermi's team demonstrated the first controlled sustainable nuclear chain reaction. They not only transformed a scientific theory into a technical reality. They accomplished the top scientific achievement of all time in a city famous for such innovations.

Read More


Have a safe day!

RSVP for Amy Lee Segami lecture
In celebration of Illinois Arts Week, the Fermilab Art Gallery will host a public lecture by Amy Lee Segami from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, in One West. The lecture will explore the "Probability of Certainty in Creative Problem Solving Technique" along with a demonstration of Suminagashi. A one-hour tour of Fermilab will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public. Please RSVP before Oct. 10 by contacting Georgia Schwender.

Register for S/CII training
Technical personnel and managers can sign up for suspect/counterfeit items identification training. Training is scheduled to take place Oct. 16-18 at Argonne National Laboratory. Today is the last day to register at the Fermilab Professional Development Web site.

Health and Wellness Fair Oct. 11
Fermilab's Employee Health and Wellness Fair will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Sexual harassment training today, Wednesday
The Office of Professional & Organization Development offers sexual harassment training for FNAL employees today. Training for managers and supervisors is on Oct. 10. Training only will be offered once this fall. It is intended to raise awareness of issues surrounding workplace sexual harassment discrimination. Employees can find more information and enroll online here. Supervisors or managers can enroll here.

Scottish Country Dancing tonight
Scottish Country Dancing will meet tonight at Kuhn Barn on the Fermilab site. Instruction begins at 7:30 p.m. Newcomers are always welcome. Most dances are fully taught and walked through. You do not need to come with a partner. For more information, call (630) 584-0825 or (630) 840-8194 or folkdance@fnal.gov.

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