Fermilab Today Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009

Have a safe day!

Wednesday, Oct. 28
3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 29
11:30-2 p.m.
Health Fair - Wilson Hall Atrium
2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Andrew Wetzel, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Title: Satellite Galaxy Merging and Disruption
3:30 p.m.

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


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Secon Level 3

Wilson Hall Cafe

Wednesday, Oct. 28
- English muffin sandwich
- Chicken noodle soup
- Steak sandwich
- Maple Dijon salmon
- Mongolian beef
- California club
- Assorted slices of pizza
- Chicken pesto pasta

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Oct. 28
- Flank steak with shitake mushroom sauce
- Ginger scallion rice
- Coconut custard

Thursday, Oct. 29
- Closed

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From symmetry breaking

America's accelerator future

Dennis Kovar, associate director of the Office of Science for High Energy Physics, at the "Accelerators for America's Future" symposium in Washington, D.C.

The next big thing in particle accelerators may not be so big, and it might not have anything to do with research into the subatomic secrets of the universe. Instead it could offer a better way to slice silicon into chips, treat cancer, stop terrorist attacks, tap new sources of energy, reduce the world's growing burden of nuclear waste or turn air pollutants into fertilizer.

More than 400 people are in Washington, DC this week to draw up a list of possibilities for the Office of High Energy Physics in the DOE's Office of Science, which builds and operates America's major research accelerators and funds research on accelerator technology. Called "Accelerators for America's Future," it kicked off Monday with an all-day symposium and continued Tuesday and today with invitation-only working groups focusing on industrial applications and production, national security, energy and the environment, medicine and biology, and discovery science. They'll report their findings later.

What the Office of Science hopes to get from all this is a sense of what these various accelerator users need, both now and in the future; the major cost, technical and policy barriers they face; which areas of accelerator R&D hold the most promise; and how to bridge what one speaker called "the valley of death" between basic research and deploying a new technology, according to Dennis Kovar, associate director of the Office of Science for High Energy Physics. (You can find slides from his talk and other presentations here)

Read more.

— Glennda Chui

In Memoriam

Robert "Obie" Oberholtzer

Robert Oberholtzer, who worked at Fermilab for 41 years, died Sunday. Visitation will take place today from 4 to 9 p.m., followed by funeral services Friday at Moss Family Funeral Home.

Fermilab's Mr. Fix-It, Robert "Obie" Oberholtzer, died Sunday in Geneva after a brief illness. He was 61.

Oberholtzer began work at the switchyard 41 years ago when the laboratory first opened. During the design stages of the Antiproton Source in the 1980s, former Fermilab Director John Peoples recruited Oberholtzer to help.

"Obie knew his stuff, and he knew it extremely well," Peoples said. "He was just the soul of the Antiproton Source. You have the people who really made this place work, and Obie was one of them."

If there were power supply problems, operators called Oberholtzer first, waking him from sleep or tracking him down after work at the bowling alley, said his close friend and colleague Jim Budlong.

"His wife told me, 'Obie would just spring to attention; he'd love the challenge,'" Budlong said. "He'd get it going and then go back and tell her how he got it working."

With decades of experience at the laboratory, Oberholtzer had a knack for locating hard-to-find parts or sensing impending problems.

"He would walk through the building and say some power supply sounded funny. Sure enough if we didn't catch it in time, he'd have to fix it," said Fermilab's Keith Gollwitzer.

Oberholtzer had no problem telling others how he felt, which made him one of the best people to deliver a roast. He'd often lay down the law for young graduate students.

Roger Dixon, head of the Accelerator Division, said Oberholtzer was "one of those guys who knew everything." Oberholtzer's talent could humble his colleagues, Dixon said, whether he was playing in a softball game or fixing a power supply.

His annual Christmas party at Batavia Bowl was the best party of the year, said Fermilab's Dave McGinnis. "This year's going to be like Christmas with no Santa Claus."

Visitation will take place today from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Moss Family Funeral Home at 209 S. Batavia Ave. in Batavia, followed by funeral services Thursday at 10 a.m. Check here for more information.

— Chris Knight

Special Announcement

Nominations now accepted for director's volunteer award

Each year, Fermilab has more than 200 volunteers who help to keep the laboratory's K-12 education programs running like well-oiled machines. These volunteers are role models and mentors for teachers and students, answer tough questions about Fermilab and its science, maintain Lederman Science Center exhibits, visit area classrooms and more.

Once a year at a reception, the laboratory recognizes the efforts of an especially dedicated volunteer. Please let the Education Office know when you're impressed by a colleague's contribution.

Nominate a Fermilab staff member, user or contractor candidate for this award.

In the News

Storage ring dust-up

High-energy physicists have finally pinpointed their dust problem. Inside multi-million dollar storage rings, high-speed trains of electrons are often derailed by micron-sized specks of dust. Now a team has shown that dust grains arise from sparks inside a Japanese storage ring, as they report in an upcoming paper in Physical Review Special Topics--Accelerators and Beams (PRST-AB), a free, online journal. The team also serendipitously caught on video one of the tiny grains being swept along in the electron beam--the particle physics equivalent of a criminal caught by a security camera. The feat opens the possibility for further characterization of the dust.

Read more

From the Computing Division

Group Leader Eileen Berman, at your Service Desk

Eileen Berman, group leader of the Service Desk, wrote this week's column.

Eileen Berman

About two weeks ago, I took off my Grid Facilities Department manager hat and took on the new position of Service Desk Group Leader.

Chief Information Officer Vicky White created the position as part of the Computing Division's efforts to improve service at the Service Desk.

Part of my job is to serve as a link between the Service Desk and the rest of the laboratory. So one of my first steps has been to get up from my desk and get out into other parts of the lab.

I have been attending meetings in various divisions to explain any changes to the Service Desk and to gather feedback and ideas. Based on the conversations I've been having with employees and users across the laboratory, I will develop a set of goals to accomplish in this post.

The Computing Division might not be able to implement every change people suggest for the Service Desk. But I am gaining an understanding of underlying problems many people face, and I am looking for solutions.

I have already begun to orchestrate changes to the way we process tickets at the Service Desk:

  • Service Desk representatives have in the past delegated most tasks to groups of experts - or, for hardware problems, to vendors. Now we have begun training these representatives to handle more of those requests themselves.
  • We have improved our record-keeping tools to give Service Desk representatives better resources to solve recurring problems.

I hope that with this aid, Service Desk representatives will be able to cut down the turn-around time for tickets.

I am also working toward collecting better data, including data about Service Desk performance, so the Computing Division can monitor its progress as we make these changes.

I am excited to take on the challenge of improving the Service Desk. I know I have a lot to learn. I am looking forward to receiving your input and suggestions. You can contact me at berman@fnal.gov. Please continue to open tickets with the Service Desk to resolve your computer problems.

Special Announcement

"Taking Care of Yourself as Caregiver" talk today

As the average lifespan increases, the number of adults caring for elderly parents and raising children at the same time is growing.

Ginny Stack, who provides on-site Employee Assistance Program services at Fermilab, will give a talk, "Taking Care of Yourself as Caregiver" about how to address the challenges of balancing work, children and parents. People in this group, known as The Sandwich Generation, often provide for others at expense of their own well-being.

"We feel that this really is a big concern with people at the laboratory, given that the average age in the lab is around 50 to 55 years old," said Fermilab's Kathy Johnson, who helped organize the event on behalf of Unity Coat.

Johnson said providing information relevant to lab employees fit the goals of Fermilab's participation in Disability Awareness Month, which is this month.

"We are all touched by disability in some respect, whether it's our own, our friends', our neighbors' or our family's, and we really are just one breath away from having a disability," Johnson said.

The talk will take place from noon to 1 p.m. this Wednesday at One West. Johnson said they are planning another event about elder care in January or February.

Photo of the Day

Service Awards - 35 years

Five Fermilab employees received service awards in September for 35 years of service. Front row, from left: Shirley Jones, Wayne Waldon and Patrick Liston. Second row, from left: Sue Schultz and Craig Moore. Bruce Chrisman, on the right, presented the award.
Safety Update

ES&H weekly report

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ES&H section, includes two first aid cases and one recordable injury case. An employee was carrying a 25-pound cart up three flights of stairs with a coworker and noticed back pain the next day. The medical office gave the employee prescription medication, making it a recordable injury.

Find the full report here.

Safety report archive


Latest Announcements

Health screenings available

Badminton League open house today

Health Risk Assessments - Learn more about your potential health risks

Coed indoor volleyball starts in November

"Taking Care of Yourself as Caregiver" - today

Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking - Oct. 29

Facilitating Meetings That Work - Nov. 4

Fred Garbo Inflatable Theatre at Fermilab Arts Series - Nov. 7

PowerPoint Tips and Tricks - Nov. 11

Access 2007: Intermediate - Nov. 18

Process Piping (ASME B31.3) class offered in October and November

HTML Intro: Intro to Web Publishing - Dec. 1

"The Night Before Christmas Carol" at Fermilab Arts Series - Dec. 5

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