Fermilab Today Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

Have a safe day!

Monday, Sept. 27
2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Itay Yavin, New York University
Title: Inelastic, Excited, and Magnetic Dark Matter
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Special Topics: Decommissioning User Magnetic Tape Reading; CDF Silicon Lifetime and Performance

Tuesday, Sept. 28
10:30 a.m.
Research Techniques Seminar - (NOTE LOCATION) Curia II
Speaker: Albert Young, North Carolina State University
Title: Neutron-Antineutron Oscillation Measurements Using Cold and Ultracold Neutrons
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar - One West
Speaker: Vladimir Shiltsev, Fermilab
Title: Accelerators as High Precision Seismometers, Tunnel and Orbit Drifts in the Tevatron, and the ATL Law of Ground Diffusion in Space and Time

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Secon Level 3

Wilson Hall Cafe

Monday, Sept. 27
- Breakfast: croissant sandwich
- Spicy beef & rice soup
- Corned beef reuben
- Roast pork loin
- Lasagna
- Chicken Oriental wrap pineapple
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Pacific Rim rice bowl

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Sept. 29
- Brandy-pork tenderloin
- Cauliflower gratin
- Cinnamon apple crisp

Thursday, Sept. 30
- Closed

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From symmetry breaking

So long and thanks for all the physics: The Hitchhiker's Guide

A Hitchhiker's Guide for first-year physics students

Of all of the documents uploaded to the arXiv - a virtual library of scientific publications - it is possible that only one is adorned with a smiling alien made of Feynman diagrams and the words "DON'T PANIC."

You might need an Infinite Improbability Drive to verify that claim, though. Over the course of more than 19 years, users have uploaded more than 627,000 publications to the database.

The document in question is "The Hitchhiker's Guide to First Year Physics Labs at UCD," a collection of handouts Ph.D. student Philip Ilten wrote between 2009 and 2010 for a class of freshmen he taught at University College Dublin.

Ilten arranged his handouts into a book during downtime at a theory school on QCD phenomenology and shared them with the world on Sept. 9.

"I'm a die-hard believer of open-source," he wrote in an e-mail. "I really believe that for science to make progress, we need to share absolutely everything."

It's not that he thinks his explanations are perfect. In the introduction to the book, he warns, "Despite my best effort, I am certain this book still contains spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, and worst of all, physics mistakes."

But the book is a living, crowd-sourced effort. A couple of people have already contacted him to offer their input, and he has made corrections.

A glance through the Physics Education section of the arXiv reveals that comprehensive guides like this are rare in the library. Rarer still might be the guide's approachable language and conversational tone.

Read more

Special Announcement

Flu vaccinations available for employees at high risk

Starting Oct. 1, the Medical Office will offer 110 influenza vaccinations to full-time employees who meet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control definition of high risk.

You may register on the ES&H website. Additional doses are expected to arrive throughout October. Check Fermilab Today for future availability announcements.

As they have done in past years, the Medical Office will distribute any vaccinations not used by employees at high risk for the flu to the general employee population on a first-come basis starting about the middle of October. Fermilab Today will announce when registration opens for the general population.

Fermilab will offer only the standard vaccine dose, not the dose marketed to those older than 65 that contains four times the level of immunity-inducing antigen. The CDC and American Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) does not recommend one vaccine type over another. However, if you are over 65 years old, you may wish to consult your physician to learn if there is a recommendation based on your specific medical history.

Historically the flu peaks in March. Vaccination in late October or early November will offer ample time before the typical onset of the flu within our community.

In the News

"Gathering Storm" back on the radar

From Nature News, Sept. 23, 2010

An update of a landmark report repeats a stirring call for US investment in science, technology and education.

Efforts to increase US competitiveness by funding basic scientific research and education have failed to improve the country's global outlook, says a report released today by the US National Academy of Sciences, the US National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. It comes at a time when two key bills for science funding are set to expire and several science programs have had their budgets frozen in the current versions of the appropriations bills in Congress. "There is support for research but it is unstable, and these investments only make sense if they are sustained for the long haul," says report coauthor Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering in Washington D.C.

Read more

ES&H Tips of the Week -
Computer Security

Who is watching you type?

Beware of potential dangers when using public terminals and computers or personal computers in public spaces.

When you use an ATM, you presumably are careful to make sure that no one is close behind you to watch as you type in your personal identification number. However, when using a public computer to access the Internet, the watcher who might steal your password could be hiding virtually inside the computer terminal.

Hackers can install "keyboard sniffer" programs on public terminals, including those used to print airline tickets. These record every key you type. The clandestine watcher can learn your username and password by accessing the terminal after you have left.

A Fermilab physicist on travel abroad recently fell into this trap. He used a public kiosk to read laboratory e-mail and do other personal business. It was later discovered that his username and password had been stored on the kiosk machine. That meant that hackers had access to his Fermilab Services Account and personal accounts until he changed his passwords.

To prevent this from occurring, exercise extreme care when using a public kiosk or terminal computer. Avoid accessing systems such as e-mail that require account names and passwords. If you need to print airline boarding passes, use your confirmation code rather than your frequent flyer account and password.

If you are using your personal computer, only access e-mail or other systems requiring authentication of your password when you are using an encrypted network or a network you trust.

-- Irwin Gaines, Computing Division

In the News

Underwater telescope searches for space secrets

From BBC News, Sept. 24, 2010

It is one of the most unusual telescopes on the planet.

Floating just over one kilometre below the surface of the world's deepest lake - Baikal in central Russia - the NT-200 telescope points not at the sky but towards the centre of the Earth.

Its designers are not interested in observing the fish or other lifeforms that inhabit the lake.

The telescope was built to capture an elusive fundamental particle called the neutrino, in a bid to unravel the secrets of how the universe formed.

Neutrinos have no electric charge and interact very weakly with other forms of matter.

So much so that they are able to pass straight through the Earth without hitting anything. This has led some to dub them "ghost particles".

Read more


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