Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011

Have a safe day!

Thursday, Jan. 6
1 p.m.
Computing Techniques Seminar - FCC1
Speaker: Tom Hacker, Purdue University
Title: Milliseconds to Decades: Developing a Data Life Cycle Cyberinfrastructure for Scientific Data
1:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar (NOTE DATE and TIME) - One West
Speaker: Nicola Mehrtens, University of Sussex
Title: The XMM Cluster Survey
2 p.m.
Computing Techniques Seminar - FCC1
Speaker: Saurabh Bagchi, Purdue University
Title: Sharing Computational Resources on the Grid: How to do it Reliably and Unselfishly
3:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 7
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Dan Amidei, University of Michigan
Title: Evidence for a Mass Dependent Forward-Backward Asymmetry in Top Quark Pair Production at CDF

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

Upcoming conferences


Take Five


Weather Slight chance of snow

Extended Forecast
Weather at Fermilab

Current Security Status

Secon Level 3

Wilson Hall Cafe

Thursday, Jan. 6

- Breakfast: Chorizo burrito
- Apple sticks
- Tomato Florentine
- BBQ pork sandwich
- Kielbasa & sauerkraut
- Chicken Marsala
- Smoked turkey melt
- Assorted sliced pizza
- SW chicken salad w/roasted corn salsa

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Thursday, Jan. 6

- Coquille St. Jacques
- Pork tenderloin w/ Marsala sauce
- Steamed broccoli
- Roasted potatoes w/onions
- Apple turnover w/ cream chantilly

Wednesday, Jan. 12
- Spicy black bean & sausage calzone
- Confetti corn salad
- Pineapple flan

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


Fermilab Today

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CMS Result of the Month

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Fermilab postdoc improves Google Sky galaxy views

Galaxy images before (left) and after co-adding. Image courtesy of Jiangang Hao.

With their palette of celestial hues, galaxies are among the most beautiful objects in the universe. Now a Fermilab postdoc, Jiangang Hao, has made the jewel-toned images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey sharper, deeper, and even more accessible to the public by adding them to the Google Sky database.

Created in 2007 as an extension of Google Earth, Google Sky compiles SDSS images to allow indoor, amateur astronomers to dynamically scan and zoom through the sky with a flick of a mouse rather than flipping through lists of images. But most of Google Sky’s pictures are intentionally low-quality to allow for quick download speed. Faraway objects such as galaxies are particularly fuzzy and are black and white.

This can be limiting for astronomers, who need full color to determine a galaxy’s position. Like an ambulance siren that changes its tone as it moves further away, a galaxy’s color appears redder the more distant from us it is: a phenomenon known as redshift.

“If you see a small galaxy, you can’t always tell if that’s its intrinsic size or its distance,” Hao said. “Color is a better way to tell distance.”

To get better images of distant objects, astrophotographers can use either a long exposure, which often results in a blurred image, or a technique called co-adding, where multiple images are stacked on top of one another so that bright spots are amplified.

Hao and fellow Fermilab astrophysicist Jim Annis did the latter with one strip of the sky, co-adding more than 3 million full-color SDSS images and converting the stacks into a file format that Google Sky could understand. The files are available for download from their website, and the data are hosted off of Fermilab’s servers.

“This was easier than building our own system,” said Annis, who helped co-add the color data. “The Google Sky system lets it be visible.”

Making the data publically available may prove useful for Hao’s own research into how gravitational attraction affects galaxy clusters. The human eye is better than a computer at detecting clusters and patterns, and astronomy enthusiasts on sites such as Galaxy Zoo have already begun characterizing and classifying the new, sharper images. Hao and Annis’ website has received thousands of hits since its launch Oct. 31.

“With color images, it’s easier to get the public interested in this kind of research,” Hao said. “We can make use of all that brainpower for scientific research.”

There’s still a long way to go; the deep images make up only 300 of the 40,000-square degrees of the sky. Hao is looking forward to the deep images of the southern sky that the Dark Energy Camera in Chile will produce over the next five years. He’s broken the ground for others to help compile this data: a paper he and Annis uploaded to the arXiv database describes the co-adding technique.

“Galaxy clusters,” begins its abstract, “are spectacular.”

-- Sara Reardon


Retirement event

A retirement celebration for Ray Stefanski will take place at 2:30 p.m. today during a reception on the second-floor crossover. All are welcome.

In the News

In search for elusive boson, U.S. experience vs. European technology

From The Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 2, 2011

In the search for what could be the universe's lone undiscovered fundamental particle, the big new atom-smasher in Switzerland is widely regarded as the only game in town.

The Large Hadron Collider, built by the European group CERN, is several times as powerful as the next-biggest accelerator, the Tevatron, near Chicago. So far the Tevatron has not been able to detect the elusive particle, the so-called Higgs boson.

Still, with the Tevatron nearing the end of its scheduled lifetime, researchers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory say they're not yet out of the hunt. Fermilab is asking Congress for $100-million to keep chasing the Higgs for three more years. Scientists say the plea is more than patriotic zeal. They see real opportunity.

One reason is that the experience of Tevatron researchers—10 years searching for the Higgs—can trump the Large Hadron Collider's technology. Quitting now, says Ian P. Shipsey, a professor of physics at Purdue University who works at Fermilab, would be like nearing the summit of a mountain and then abandoning the mission because a better-equipped team plans to try hiking up from the other side. New equipment might not outweigh the Tevatron's huge head start, he says.

Read more

Result of the Week

Hunt for a supersymmetric neutrino

The above image shows the expected and observed 95 percent confidence level upper limits on cross section multiplied by a branching ratio of a supersymmetric neutrino produced in quark-antiquark annihilation and decaying via lepton-flavor-violating interactions into (electron and muon) or (muon and tau) or (electron and tau) final states.

Supersymmetry is a theoretical idea that states that for every fermion observed, there is another, yet-undiscovered, boson (and vice versa.) This theory effectively doubles the number of types of particles that physicists expect exist in our universe. It is one of the most popular theories for physical phenomena beyond what we currently know because this extension to our Standard Model allows for the unification of all the forces – something that is currently missing.

Particle physicists have been hunting for the existence of supersymmetry for decades. Furthermore, cosmologists are excited since it predicts a stable particle, which is a leading candidate for dark matter in the cosmos.

If supersymmetry is the correct theory, then a fundamental principle of particle physics, the conservation of quantum properties known as quantum numbers (this analysis focuses particularly on baryon and lepton numbers), is no longer conserved. This principle ensures that, for example, for every lepton created in a collision, an antilepton has to be created as well. Since baryon number and lepton number conservation have been tested very precisely, these couplings need to be very small in order to not conflict with experimental data.

R-parity is a symmetry that particle physicists can use to classify particles -- Standard Model particles have an R-parity of one while supersymmetric particles have an R-parity of negative one.

CDF has performed a first search for R-parity violating decays of heavy supersymmetric neutrinos into final states involving a third-generation lepton, the tau, at the Tevatron. This work is based on the Ph.D. thesis of Yanjun Tu and has been recently published in Physical Review Letters. Specifically, CDF scientists searched for a for supersymetric neutrino decaying into (electron and muon) or (muon and tau) or (electron and tau) final states. These processes are not allowed in the Standard Model, because they violate both lepton-number, and R-parity conservation. However, SUSY allows such a process. Any observation therefore will be a proof of new physics and long awaited confirmation that supersymmetry exists.

Technically, the search is challenging; the hadronic decaying modes of tau leptons are necessary to differentiate the taus from the electron and muon directly created from the collision in the final states. The observations are consistent with the Standard Model expectations within the uncertainty of the measurement. The first upper limits on the relevant physics have been set. Confirmation of supersymmetry will have to wait for another day.

-- edited by Andy Beretvas

From left: Anadi Canepa, Pennsylvania; Nigel Lockyer, Pennsylvania and director of TRIUMF; Yanjun Tu, Pennsylvania; Pasha Murat, Fermilab.

Accelerator Update

Jan. 3-5

- No stores due to TEV sector B1 vacuum problems
- Safety personnel beginning safety system checks
- TEV sector B1 vacuum problems fixed and cryo system cool down begins

Read the Current Accelerator Update
Read the Early Bird Report
View the Tevatron Luminosity Charts


Latest Announcements

Donate children's winter gear through Jan. 12

Traffic Safety Seminar - Jan. 20

Correction - Chez Leon dinner Friday, Jan. 21

Oracle E Business Suite and ProCard application systems downtime on Saturday (01/08/11) & Sunday (01/09/11)

Indian Creek Road closed Thursday, Jan. 6

Barn Dance Jan. 9

GSA announced 2011 standard mileage reimbursement rate

Accelerate to a Healthy Lifestyle wrap up

Yoga session begins Jan. 4

International Folk Dancing resumes weekly Jan. 6

Scottish country dancing meets Jan. 4

Project Management Introduction class - Feb. 14, 16 & 18

Scrappers Club meets Jan. 4

Users Center closed through Jan. 7

Discounted Bulls tickets for Jan. 4 & 10

Reminder Weight Watchers at Work

FRA Scholarship 2011

Toastmaster Jan. 6

Open basketball at the gym

Disney On Ice presents "Toy Story 3" Feb. 2-13

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