Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011

Have a safe day!

Tuesday, Feb. 22
2 p.m.
Computing Techniques Seminar - FCC1
Speaker: Sebastian White, Brookhaven National Laboratory
Title: Two Physics Projects Based Largely on Mathematica: Picosecond Timing R&D at the Accelerator Test Facility and ATLAS ZDC Timing Reconstruction
3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 23
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Linda Young, Argonne National Laboratory
Title: Frontiers in X-Ray Science

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Tuesday, Feb. 21

- Bagel sandwich
- Golden broccoli cheese soup
- Fish and chips
- Coconut crusted tilapia
- Burgundy beef tips
- La grande sandwich
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Chicken fajitas

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Feb. 23
- Broiled tilapia with Thai coconut curry sauce
- Jasmine rice
- Tropical coconut cake

Friday, Feb. 25
- Bacon, boursin and spinach soufflé
- Filet mignon with morel sauce
- Grilled asparagus
- Herbed new potatoes
- Chocolate silk Napoleon with carmel dipped pecans

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Jonckheere a jack-of-all-trades

Alan Jonckheere playing Santa with Pono Casey. Photo: Courtesy Brendan Casey

Alan Jonckheere sums up his 40-year career at Fermilab as looking for “the bump,” that elusive crest in data plots that signals a potential unexpected discovery.

If there is one thing that physicists love to do, according to Jonckheere, who retired this past December, it’s “to find something totally unexpected.”

During his decades of research on the DZero experiment, Jonckheere devoted himself to searching for “the bump.” He was party to several key discoveries in particle physics, including the top quark, a missing building block of matter. He also helped the collaboration produce some of the most stringent parameters on particles and their interactions. But those often ground-breaking analyses were predicted by theorists and past data.

“It was really fun and exciting to be here during that period and work with Leon (Lederman),” but alas, “it [the top quark] was expected.”

What ended up becoming unexpected was the variety of different jobs Jonchkeere would take on to keep the experiment running smoothly. He became known as a jack-of-all-trades, said Herb Greenlee, who joined the DZero experiment in 1990.

“Alan's contributions go beyond his official jobs and titles,” Greenlee said. In addition to working as the online software manager, software release manager, data quality convener and within the authorship and election committees, Jonckheere “did whatever was needed…often without a lot of visibility or credit.”

It was common to see people lined up outside Jonckheere’s office, requesting all sorts of help, he said.

Sometimes those requests included toys, games and maybe even a pony. True to his jack-of-all-trades nature, each December Jonckheere donned a red suit and served as Santa Claus for the NALWO playgroup.

Jonckheere and his wife of 41 years are building their retirement home on a lake in western Illinois. They plan to spend time with their children and grandchildren, boating and water skiing. But, apparently, 40 years of searching for "the bump” are not enough. Jonckheere plans to work with the laboratory as a guest scientist, telecommuting and popping in to the laboratory often.

“I'm retiring from the laboratory, but not the experiment,” he said.

This, for him, is to be expected.

-- Rita Hoover

From Symmetry

In a birder's paradise

Fermilab is a diverse habitat for more than 280 species of birds. Peter Krasper carefully moniters their appearences. Photo: Reidar Hahn

For birders, it all comes down to that moment. Focus your binoculars, steady your hands, and look, hard, until you find that glimpse of feathers, a spark of recognition.

“Do you see it?”

Peter Kasper points over the field and across, to where the caps of Queen Anne’s Lace dance in the breeze and a discerning eye can just make out a slight brown blob—a Henslow’s Sparrow, an uncommon bird in the state of Illinois.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is home to more than 280 species of birds, including several endangered species, and a way station for unusual migrants.

Accelerator physicist Peter Kasper monitors the site avidly. He has been birding since the fourth grade, when he saved up pocket money for binoculars and one of the first bird books ever written for his home country, Australia. While he joins in far-flung expeditions across continents with fellow birders and physicists, it’s Fermilab that he prowls with binoculars every week. He knows the birds that come and go like old neighbors or friends.

Read More

-- Daisy Yuhas

In the News

Dick Durbin critical of proposed funding cuts affecting Fermilab, Argonne

From Geneva Patch, Feb. 20, 2011

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Friday spoke out against proposed funding cuts that could cost this area thousands of jobs and opportunities to conduct important research.

Durbin shared his concerns in a letter to leaders of a Senate subcommittee responsible for energy and water funding allocations.

If enacted, the cuts would total about $2.25 billion across three different budgets. These funds directly impact the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia and Argonne National Laboratory in southern DuPage County near Burr Ridge.

Read more

In the News

Budget crunch could prematurely shutter Tevatron

From Scientific American, Feb. 21, 2011

It has been a rough 2011 for the physicists working on the Tevatron, the top particle collider in the U.S. and the second most powerful in the world after Europe's Large Hadron Collider. On January 10, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, which operates the Tevatron, announced that the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) had denied a proposed three-year extension of the collider. The particle physics giant, then, would be retired in the fall of 2011.

Now things are looking even bleaker for Fermilab and the Tevatron. The Fermilab Neighborhood blog reports that lab director Pier Oddone said at an all-hands meeting February 15 that budget cuts proposed in the House of Representatives would force a number of drastic measures at Fermilab. Among them: an immediate shutdown of all accelerators, two-month staff furloughs, and probable layoffs of some 400 employees.

Read more

Director's Corner


CERN physicist Leszek Ropelewski, left, shows a collection of detectors to Fermilab Director Pier Oddone, center, and CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer, right, in an EDIT laboratory. Photo: courtesy of CERN.

When I visited CERN two weeks ago Rolf Heuer and I had the opportunity to get a guided tour of the particle detector school EDIT, “Excellence in Detectors and Instrumentation Technologies”. This was quite a remarkable event and is described in yesterday’s issue of Fermilab Today. We are planning to host the school here in the US next. It will be a great deal of work, but also greatly rewarding.

The range of topics at the school was breathtaking:

  1. Basic and advanced electronics;
  2. Photodetectors: principles, performance and limitations;
  3. Detection of scintillation and Cerenkov light from crystals and fibers;
  4. Silicon strip and pixel technologies;
  5. Gaseous detectors: present features and future role; and
  6. Calorimetry: from the basic concepts to the energy flow.

Nearly 90 students were selected from some 250 applicants from industry, national laboratories and academia from many countries. A relatively small number of US students participated, something that we would like to remedy when we conduct the school here.

The school was truly a global collaboration. All the major laboratories and detector collaborations participated by donating the time of the tutors and lending equipment to the school. In all, 110 teachers, experts in particle physics instrumentation, taught the students. For most of the two-week-long intensive course, students had effectively one-on-one tutoring.

One of the problems of modern particle physics is that constructing detectors are major events that do not occur frequently. Often it is hard for graduate students to develop expertise broadly across experimental techniques. If a student is lucky enough to have experience in detector construction, it is most likely that it would be narrow in scope and limited to a single detector technique.

Enter EDIT. In two weeks students progressed from very basic to advanced detector technology in the six areas mentioned above. The experimental set-ups were great, taking the students from very simple fundamental electrical measurements in silicon devices and simple gas detectors to state-of-the-art devices.

One aspect worth pursuing further was the interest from industry in sending their young scientists and engineers to the school. Evidently industries and particle physics have similar problems in giving broad detector experiences to their scientists and engineers. The mixture of students from academia, national laboratories and industry made the school a much richer experience for the students.

Certainly CERN put a lot of effort organizing the school and it showed. We all have a great challenge ahead to continue this excellent EDIT program in the future.

Accelerator Update

Feb. 18-21

- Six stores provided ~50.78 hours of luminosity
- Vacuum personnel fixed a vacuum leak on the Tevatron D17 collimators
- The antiproton source developed with water flow sensor
- On Monday morning Pbar personnel accessed and began repairs on two water leaks

The integrated luminosity for the period from Feb. 14-21 was 33.64 inverse picobarns. NuMI reported receiving 7.42E18 protons on target during this same period.

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


WDRS announcements

FRA scholarship applications due March 1

Latest Announcements

Lunch and Learn about power and control in relationships - Feb. 23

Argentine Tango classes through Feb. 23

School's day out - Feb. 25

Introduction to LabVIEW course - Feb. 25

Embedded Design with LabVIEW FPGA and CompactRIO class - Feb. 25

Rapid Hardware Prototyping and Industrial Control Application Development with LabVIEW FPGA, Compact RIO, and FlexRIO by National Instruments course - Feb. 25

NALWO - Mardi Gras potluck - March 3

March deadline for The University of Chicago tuition remission program - March 4

On-site housing for summer 2011 - Now taking requests deadline - March 7

NALWO arts & crafts show & tell - March 15

Fermilab Employee Art Show applications due - March 16

The Service Desk is offers a new loaner laptop service

View UEC tax presentation for users online

FRA Scholarship 2011

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