Friday, Feb. 25, 2011

Have a safe day!

Friday, Feb. 25
1:30 p.m.
Computing Techniques Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Rajeev Thakur, Argonne National Laboratory
Title: Future Directions in MPI
2 p.m.
LHC Physics Center Topic of the Week Seminar - Sunrise (WH11SE)
Speaker: Pushpalatha Bhat, Fermilab
Title: Multivariate Analysis Methods
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Greg Landsberg, Brown University
Title: Searches for Physics Beyond the Standard Model at CMS

Monday, Feb. 28
2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Justin Khoury, University of Pennsylvania
Title: Screening Dark Energy
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Special Topics: 325 MHz RF Cave/SC Cavity Tests

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

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Feb. 25

- Breakfast: Chorizo burrito
- Chunky vegetable soup with orzo
- Buffalo chicken wings
- Cajun breaded catfish
- *Teriyaki pork stir-fry
- Honey mustard ham and swiss panini
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Carved turkey

*carb-restricted alternative

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

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

Wednesday, March 2
- Chicken marbella
- Green rice
- Sautéed zucchini with coriander chutney
- Caramel chocolate cheesecake

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Blizzard shows spirit of accelerator, detector crews

AD's Chris Olsen uses snowshoes to make his way around the lab during the blizzard. Photo Courtesy of Darren Crawford.

Editor's note: This is the second article in a two-part series. The first article ran on Friday, Feb. 18.

Media and town officials said it was too dangerous to be outside; stay home, they said; enjoy a rare adult snow day. Schools closed, businesses closed, postal delivery ceased. But operation of the Tevatron did not.

Amidst the worst blizzard in decades on Feb. 1-2, with nearly 15 inches of snow and more than 50 mph winds producing even higher drifts, the crews that keep Fermilab’s accelerators, detectors and cryogenic systems running showed up for work. They brought extra food and clothes, snow shoes and a determined attitude that bad weather would not best them.

Think of the accelerator operators as the Marine Corp. of science: they do the job when no one else wants to; they are the first line of defense. The accelerator complex never ever sleeps, even with the rest of the U.S. under a blanket of snow. Shutting it down would require lengthy, ramped up restart periods.

“You can’t just turn it off,” said Dan Johnson, head of the Accelerator Division’s Operations Department. “Even when the accelerators aren’t accelerating beam all the support systems have to run. The Tevatron has to stay cold, we still need vacuum, we still need water. If you’re not careful, the accelerator tunnel could flood."

“We just knew they were going to be here if they had to walk in with snow shoes on,” Johnson, said of the operators. “It presented a challenge and they love a challenge so they just handled it.”

And boy did they have challenges.

Some started work early to avoid getting trapped in unplowed roads and to prevent missing their midnight shifts; others stayed late to cover for employees who lived far away and couldn’t make it in. Some, such as Aron Soha at CDF and Darren Crawford in the Main Control Room, put in 15-to 18-hour shifts, catching brief respites of shut eye in out of the way rooms.

At 4 a.m. during the height of the blizzard with blowing snow nearly erasing the roadways, the Main Control Room got a call from the Meson Test Beam area from an experimenter who had struggled in from the village and said he was ready to take beam.

“That was a jaw dropper,” said Crawford, operator crew chief that night.

Read more

- Tona Kunz

In the News

Science budget cuts threaten high-tech jobs, future frontiers

From Chicago Tribune, Feb. 25, 2011

Editor's note: This Op-Ed was written by Fermilab Director Pier Oddone and Argonne National Laboratory Director Eric D. Isaacs.

In these tight economic times, people of all political stripes agree that America needs more good jobs, especially in the economically vital areas of science and engineering.

Yet thousands of high-tech jobs in the Chicago area would be lost if lawmakers enact science budget cuts now being considered in Washington. Losing these jobs would create a ripple effect in our local economy. Beyond that, the loss of innovative projects and young scientists to other countries could hamper America's global competitiveness for decades to come.

The cuts proposed in the U.S. House would have an immediate and massive effect on the Chicago area's two national laboratories, Argonne and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. This budget effectively reduces both labs' current budgets by 40 percent, with a loss of $83 million at Fermilab and $110 million at Argonne. We estimate the cuts would require the furlough of 1,900 employees, and layoffs for more than 1,000 others, including more than 100 postdoctoral researchers. Such cutbacks would be unprecedented.

Read more

Video of the Day

Spotlight on CERN

The 'Spotlight on CERN' video series has a new look. This video features CERN Director General Rolf Heuer, a tour around CERN's tunnels and two comic books relating to the laboratory.
In the News

House cuts to DOE national labs would also hamstring industry

From Science, Feb. 25, 2011

A spending bill passed by the House of Representatives last week would bring the Department of Energy's (DOE's) entire science program to a screeching halt and wreak havoc on research funded by other agencies and by private industry.

The so-called continuing resolution, which provides funding for the federal government for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year, would cut DOE's Office of Science by 18%. The $4.9 billion agency supports 10 national laboratories as well as research at hundreds of universities. Republican opposition to the Obama Administration's plans to beef up clean energy research may be the driving force behind the deep cuts, but if they are enacted—the bill now goes to the Senate, which takes issue with many provisions—the impact would extend far beyond research geared toward developing green energy technology.

Read more

CMS Result

First supersymmetry results from the LHC

Collision events in the figure above are arranged according to degree of momentum imbalance: balanced events pile up on the left while unbalanced events are put on the right. One of the supersymmetric models that CMS ruled out is shown in yellow: if this model were true, the physicists would have observed twice as many unbalanced events (See figure 2 in the paper for details).

Editor's note: This is the first CMS Result written by Jim Pivarski, a CMS collaborator. Fermilab Today will now publish two CMS Results a month. Pivarski will write one of these.

What's so super about supersymmetry? A lot of things, actually. Originally proposed to relate the particles that make up matter (fermions) to the particles that make up forces (bosons), the theory would also solve many other mysteries.

Supersymmetry predicts an energy scale at which fundamental forces combine (grand unification). It also explains why the Higgs boson mass would need to be much lower than this energy scale for the Higgs mechanism (the mechanism by which particles obtain mass) to work. Additionally, it provides a natural candidate for dark matter, the substance scientists believe is holding the universe together. As a principle of nature, supersymmetry seems to have everything going for it except evidence.

That's why searches for supersymmetry are among the most anticipated experiments that physicists will perform at the LHC. Though the veil will be drawn back gradually as the dataset grows, the first results on supersymmetry from the LHC were recently posted by CMS.

There are many ways to search for supersymmetry; this week’s featured CMS result looks for two generic features in the aftermath of the proton collisions: unusually energetic jets of debris and invisible particles. The collaboration was able to rule out one model of supersymmetry.

The invisible particle that CMS physicists are searching for is the dark matter candidate predicted by supersymmetry, which is undetectable by definition. Supersymmetric interactions would be incredibly rare, too, so this search would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, except that the needle is invisible.

Fortunately, physicists have a way of distinguishing events with invisible particles from events with only visible particles. Debris from any collision must be balanced in momentum--- the speed and mass of debris flying out on one side must be balanced by the speed and mass of debris on the other. An unseen particle would look like a momentum imbalance because we don’t see the particle that balances the momentum. If we arrange the data by the degree of imbalance, putting the hundreds of thousands of well-balanced events on the left and the handful of unbalanced events on the right, we get the plot shown above. The few unbalanced events on the right do contain invisible particles, but only neutrinos, which are a well-known part of the Standard Model. Some supersymmetric models are ruled out by these data, while many more await the additional techniques and larger datasets that are on their way.

-- Jim Pivarski

These physicists contributed to this first CMS paper on supersymmetry results.
The efforts of these U.S. graduate students in calibrating missing energy made it possible to cleanly identify events with invisible particles.

WDRS announcements

FRA scholarship applications due March 1

Latest Announcements

Toastmasters - March 3

Scrappers Club meets March 1

On-site housing for Summer 2011 now taking requests

Introduction to LabVIEW course today

Embedded Design with LabVIEW FPGA and CompactRIO class today

Rapid Hardware Prototyping and Industrial Control Application Development with LabVIEW FPGA, Compact RIO, and FlexRIO by National Instruments course today

Next yoga session begins - March 1

NALWO - Mardi Gras potluck - March 3

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

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

Open basketball at the gym

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