Friday, Nov. 18, 2011

Have a safe day!

Friday, Nov. 18
2:30 p.m.
Special Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Zelimir Djurcic, Argonne National Laboratory
Title: First Results from the Double Chooz Reactor Anti-Neutrino Experiment
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Sarah Demers, Yale University
Title: New Results from ATLAS

Monday, Nov. 21
2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Peter Maksym, Northwestern University
Title: New Light on Tidal Disruption Flares
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II

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a weekly calendar with links to additional information.

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Nov. 18

- Breakfast: Chorizo burrito
- New England clam chowder
- Carolina burger
- Tuna casserole
- Smart cuisine: Dijon meatballs over noodles
- Bistro chicken & provolone panini
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Carved Top Round of Beef*

*carb-restricted alternative

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu
Chez Leon

Friday, Nov. 18
Guest Chef: Joe Walding
An English Thanksgiving
- Assortment of canapés: Chicken liver pate, roasted chestnuts, confit goose w/ toast points and onion marmalade
- Roast goose & turkey w/ holiday trimmings
- Variety of desserts, including British Christmas pudding w/ brandy butter

Wednesday, Nov. 23
- Cheese fondue
- Marinated vegetable salad
- Peaches w/ blackberry sauce

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From symmetry breaking

Faster-than-light neutrino measurement withstands new test

Scientists modified the beam of neutrinos traveling through the Earth from CERN to INFN. Image: Jean-Luc Caron

The OPERA experiment’s surprising superluminal neutrino result is holding fast after a new measurement designed to eliminate a possible source of systematic error from their previous tests.

OPERA scientists reported the new results in a press release and a paper released on the arXiv today.

“The positive outcome of the test makes us more confident in the result,” said Fernando Ferroni, president of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics. But “a final word can only be said by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world.”

Accordingly, OPERA and other experiments, including Fermilab’s MINOS and KEK laboratory’s T2K, will continue collecting data in the coming year.

OPERA scientists first presented their neutrino measurement on Sept. 23. The experiment measures the velocity of particles as they arrive at detectors at Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy from 730 kilometers away at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. September’s baffling results showed the neutrinos arriving in Italy 60 nanoseconds before light, a feat that seemed to break the laws of physics. Theorists have not been able to explain how the result could be true, but experimentalists have not been able to explain how it could be false.

Read more

Amy Dusto


Fermilab art gallery exhibit showcases a rising art form

"Shimmering Foliage" is one of several nature and science-themed quilts on display in the Fermilab Art Gallery through Jan. 20. Photo: Frieda Anderson

Editor's note: An artist reception will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. today in the Fermilab Art Gallery.

A violent particle collision ignites a heated core, spurring brilliant streams of color in every direction and unveiling the mysterious Higgs boson, as imagined by the art piece titled “The Heart of the Matter.” The story was fused and embroidered by artist Susan Jackan into an art form rising in popularity: the quilt.

“Stitched Together – Art & Science: Art Quilts by Midwestern Artists,” now in the Fermilab Art Gallery, is showcasing 28 quilts referencing science and nature. The exhibit will be on display through Jan. 12. Themes range from endangered sea turtles to string theory. One quilt even has a matrix barcode that can be deciphered by smart phones.

Artist Laura Wasilowski channels warm memories of a prairie near her childhood home in Minnesota for her piece titled “Chicory.”

Read more

Brad Hooker

Physics in a Nutshell

The Standard Model: The most successful theory ever

The Standard Model is a triumph of modern physics. With this handful of particles shown here, we can explain all of the matter we have encountered, from atoms to entire galaxies.

Editor's note: "Physics in a Nutshell" is a new feature of Fermilab Today. In this column, Fermilab's Don Lincoln will define one commonly-used term in physics. If you want a particular phrase defined or have a question, please email Fermilab Today.

The Standard Model. It’s really a peculiar phrase. What’s a model and what makes it standard?

In a physics context, the word “model” is analogous to the word “theory” as used by most people. We need to distinguish what actually happens when subatomic particles interact from our understanding of them. Hopefully, they’re the same, but this is never guaranteed. The history of science is full of explanatory ideas that eventually were overthrown.

So what scientists do is construct what we call models, which are conceptual and mathematical ideas that explain our data. Once we have a model, we can use the tools of logic and math to make predictions. We then make additional measurements, and if they agree with the predictions of the model, we feel justified in continuing to believe the model is an accurate description of reality.

The model that we use to describe our subatomic reality is called “standard” because it is essentially universally accepted. After tens of thousands of measurements, the model continues to agree with the outcome of our research.

Read more

—Don Lincoln

Special Result of the Week

What actually happens when a neutrino hits something?

The ArgoNeuT liquid argon time projection chamber's (LArTPC) neutrino cross section measurements are depicted here in terms of the muon momentum (top) and angle (bottom).

The neutrino almost never interacts with matter. "The Earth is just a silly ball / To them, through which they simply pass," wrote John Updike in 1960. But how often do neutrinos actually hit the "silly ball"? And, what exactly happens when a neutrino does interact? A number of Fermilab-based experiments, including the ArgoNeuT liquid argon time projection chamber (LArTPC) detector, are seeking answers to these questions. A LArTPC provides a richly detailed image of a neutrino event by collecting the ionization tracks of particles created in the interaction.

ArgoNeuT ran in the NuMI beamline at Fermilab from September 2009 to February 2010. The experiment, located just upstream of the MINOS near detector, collected the first thousands of neutrino and anti-neutrino events ever with a LArTPC in a low energy neutrino beam. ArgoNeuT found that only about two out of every 1,000,000,000,000 neutrinos passing through the 90 cm long detector interacted to produce a muon, the electron’s heavier cousin. That’s about as rare as being dealt a royal flush with the first five cards—twice in a row!

In addition to this total cross section measurement, ArgoNeuT measured the angle and momentum of the outgoing muon in such events. The results are consistent with the world's data and theoretical expectations. Along with fundamental importance in particle physics, neutrino cross section measurements such as these contain essential information for those experiments seeking to probe neutrino oscillation. The outgoing particle kinematic information is useful for forming a complete picture of how neutrinos interact and provides much needed data for the proper simulation and modeling of neutrino events.

LArTPC technology is one of the rabbits in the race to measure CP violation in neutrinos. CP violation is a fundamental difference between matter and anti-matter that could help to explain why there exists so much matter and so little anti-matter in the universe today.

ArgoNeuT's measurements are among the first physics results obtained with a LArTPC and go a long way in demonstrating the technology's viability for a future ultra-large detector and the pursuit of this physics goal. As Updike once wrote, "Rabbit, run."

*ArgoNeuT thanks the MINOS collaboration for providing their data for use in this analysis.

Learn more

—Joshua Spitz, ArgoNeuT

Special Announcement

Annual enrollment ends today

Today is the last day for Fermilab employees to enroll in flexible spending accounts, medical and dental plans. Any changes made will be effective on Jan. 1, 2012.

Each employee received an enrollment packet outlining benefits options. Those currently enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO IL plan will need to enroll in another plan, as this option will no longer be offered. If an employee does not wish to change his or her benefits plan, then he or she does not need to complete an enrollment form.

For more information, please contact the Benefits Office at x3395.


Latest Announcements

Barn dance - Nov. 20

Artist reception - today

New play about Edwin Hubble, Einstein and the expanding universe - Nov. 19

Fermilab Arts Series: An Evening with Paula Cole - Nov. 19

Reminder: Timecards due early - through Nov. 20

Deadline for the University of Chicago Tuition Remission Program - Nov. 22

School's Day Out Camp - Nov. 21 and 22

PBS NOVA series "The Fabric of the Cosmos" - Nov. 23

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® discount - through Nov. 27

NALWO - Winter Holiday Tea - Dec. 5

Behavioral interviewing course - Dec. 7

Introduction to LabVIEW class - Dec. 7

Fermilab Arts Series: Second City's Dysfunctional Holiday Revue - Dec. 10

Excel Power user/Macros course - Dec. 14

Roadway construction safety update

Annual enrollment

Atrium work updates

Winter basketball league

Indoor soccer

International Folk Dancing Thursday evenings in Kuhn Barn

Sam's Club announces membership offer for employees

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings in Kuhn Village Barn

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