April Fools' Day 2013

Have a safe day!

Monday, April 1

In appreciation of Illinois Particle Accelerator Day, the Main Control Room will hand out doughnuts from 9 to 10 a.m. to the first 50 visitors.

2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Craig Hogan, Fermilab
Title: Are the P's in COUPP silent? Both of them? Examples of hyperforeignism in experiment names

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Topics: Water Flume Construction; All Experimenters' Meeting Website Update; Review Summary Assessment Recap

Tuesday, April 2

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium (NOTE DATE) - One West
Speaker: Crassus
Title: Who's Sparticle!?!


Click here for NALCAL.

Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


Hand Jive

Weather Nothing but
the rain, sir
Current Security Status


Wilson Hall Cafe

Monday, April 1

- Breakfast: particle omelet*
- Corn on the cob
- Squash with yellow rice
- Macaroni and cheese
- Spartan cuisine: saffron
- Curry me a Flavor
- Pineapple smoothie
- Lemonade
- Banana split

*includes bosons

Wilson Hall Cafe
palate palette

Chez Leon

Wednesday, April 3
- Move over, Rick Bayless. Our enchilada mole is both rich and light. Take one bite and you'll wonder why you ever bothered waiting for three hours to be seated at Frontera, let alone Xoco. Take two bites and you'll be transported to a magical place south of the Rio Grande. You'll never come back. We'll miss you.

Pair with horchata.

Friday, April 5
- Stephanie Blizard? The Pearl and the Stoat? You'll forget even your own name when you try our stuffed peppers—they're out of this world. Be prepared to sing, even as you chew. By the end of the night, you'll be saying with a mouthful of feta, rice and tomato sauce, "top chef, schmop schef."

- Even with three Michelin stars, Grant Achatz has a fat chance of outshining our earthy black truffles, succulent anjou pear and divine razor clam dishes. Do what you have to do to score a seat for this meal, even if you must fight Friday night traffic leaving Chicago. Think of it as the Next best favor you can do for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

Next week
We take French Laundry to the cleaners.

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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The search is over: Fermilab chooses new director

The Doctor will take over as Fermilab's director beginning July 1.

For months, the search committee tasked with finding a new Fermilab director has been looking for someone dedicated to exploring the mysteries of space and time. In the end, they said, the choice was obvious.

On July 1, the Time Lord known as the Doctor will join Fermilab as its new director, replacing outgoing director Pier Oddone. The Doctor is the first non-human to head up Fermilab, and at more than 1,200 years of age, he is the oldest director in the lab's history.

It was his extensive experience, as well as his vague yet somehow still impressive educational background, that tipped the scales in the Doctor's favor, members of the committee said. This despite the fact that none of the members could determine with any certainty exactly what the new lab director's doctorate is in.

"After facing down Daleks, Cybermen and the Master, I can't think of anyone more qualified to take on a congressional budget committee," Oddone said. "I think the Doctor is a perfect choice."

The lab's new director made an impression early at his first meeting with the Director Search Committee, materializing out of thin air in a blue wooden box. He then announced that muons do, in fact, turn into electrons without decaying into neutrinos, that muon spin is in fact outside the parameters of the Standard Model and that all of the antimatter generated in the first seconds of the universe was rerouted into another dimension by the Sontarans, as part of a dastardly plot to enslave mankind.

"A plot that I foiled, I might add," the Doctor said, straightening his bow tie. "So, what are we building next?"

Though the Doctor's boundless enthusiasm and implied credentials won over the search committee, not everyone at Fermilab has been swayed by the eccentric new director.

"What? Doctor who?" said Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim. "I've never heard of him."


Fermilab to add water park

The plan for a new Fermilab water park is currently in its formative stages.

Employes and visitors will soon have a new opportunity for recreation on site. Part of the Fermilab grounds and facilities will be converted to a giant water park to be operational by late 2014.

"This has been rumored for some time, but we can now confirm that groundbreaking for the exciting new facility will take place later this year," said Chief Operating Officer Jack Anderson.

Plans include converting some old accelerator tunnels, including the Tevatron, into high-speed water rides. Riders will blast through the tunnels and will get to experience the thrill of high g-forces, all while sitting in an inner tube.

Wilson Hall will be enhanced with multiple-story spiral water slides, some emptying into the lakes outside of the building.

"We're really excited for these new developments," said Building Manager John Kent. "I've been saying for years that another water feature would really add to this place."

Officials were delighted to say that research opportunities at the lab will expand. Users from the biological and even the social science fields will now come to Fermilab to study the effects of high-speed acceleration on living organisms, mainly human park attendees.

"I fully support these innovative, transformative changes," said Assistant Director for Particle Physics Greg Bock. "The particles have had their chance. Now it's our turn to experience acceleration."

In the News

Science Channel refuses to dumb down science any further

From The Onion, April 1, 2013

SILVER SPRING, MD—Frustrated by continued demands from viewers for more awesome and extreme programming, Science Channel president Clark Bunting told reporters Tuesday that his cable network was "completely incapable" of watering down science any further than it already had.

"Look, we've tried, we really have, but it's simply not possible to set the bar any lower," said a visibly exhausted Bunting, adding that he "could not in good conscience" make science any more mindless or insultingly juvenile. "We already have a show called Really Big Things, which is just ridiculous if you think about it, and one called Heavy Metal Taskforce, which I guess deals with science on some distant level, though I don't know what it is. Plus, there's Punkin Chunkin."

Read more
In the News

National Science Foundation: Science Hard

From The Onion, April 2, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS—The National Science Foundation's annual symposium concluded Monday, with the 1,500 scientists in attendance reaching the consensus that science is hard.

"For centuries, we have embraced the pursuit of scientific knowledge as one of the noblest and worthiest of human endeavors, one leading to the enrichment of mankind both today and for future generations," said keynote speaker and NSF chairman Louis Farian. "However, a breakthrough discovery is challenging our long-held perceptions about our discipline—the discovery that science is really, really hard."

Read more
Tip of the Week: Safety

Bison safety

Behold, the gentle bison.

One of the best-known symbols of Fermilab is the mighty bison. Robert Wilson, the laboratory's founder, welcomed a bull and four cows to the grounds in 1969. The Illinois Department of Conservation provided 21 more.

The herd emphasizes our connection with the prairie and symbolizes our work at the frontiers of particle physics. Each year, visitors flock to Fermilab to see the great beasts.

Recently, safety officer John Dawson viewed a late-night bison documentary. He learned several interesting facts, such as:

  • Bison can weigh up to 1 ton.
  • Bison can stand up to 6 feet tall.
  • Bison travel in herds.
  • When provoked, bison may charge.
  • Bison have not been treated so well throughout American history.

In light of these facts and others obtained in a long night of frantic and increasingly paranoid Googling, Dawson has these tips to offer:

  • Do not touch the bison.
  • Do not talk to the bison.
  • Do not offer to pass messages along to other bison.
  • Do not stand close to the bison fence.
  • Seriously, do not stand anywhere near the bison fence.
  • Do not make eye contact with the bison.
  • Do not look at the bison.
  • Do not think about the bison.
  • Do not eat bison meat. They'll know. They will know.

Any questions should be addressed to by e-mail to Dawson, who may be working from home for the foreseeable future.

Video of the Day

Graduate student scoops pros, posts first footage of rare particle event

Not fair: Graduate student Jane Knowall wasn't even looking for it when she happened to capture a much sought-after particle event on camera. In response, scientists wondered aloud why they even bother.

Graduate student Jane Knowall may be in line for a Nobel prize. After working long hours on the construction of a revolutionary pair of X-ray-vision binoculars in the basement of her physics department at the University of California, Davis, she put her new device to the test, aiming it at a piece of aluminum. But she was shocked by what she found.

"For decades scientists have tried to discover whether muons can transform into other leptons," she said. "This question is among the most important questions in particle physics. It drives theorists crazy that we still don't have the answer for it. And now I saw it. It does happen. I have the video to prove it."

Scanning the aluminum for exotic processes, Knowall found cosmic-ray muons traveling through the material and suddenly—poof—changing into electrons.

"I had to sit down and take a break," she said. "And then I started shouting 'Eureka' again and again."

Whether the Nobel committee indeed will honor her discovery with a prize remains to be seen. Her video definitely is convincing. It has gone viral on the Science after Midnight website.

From Quantum Diaries

Win your own Higgs boson

In an unprecedented gesture in the history of particle physics, Sergio Bertolucci, Director of Research, announced this morning that CERN is going to do something unusual: give away fundamental particles.

"Given the interest manifested over the past years by the general public for the Higgs boson search, we felt that we had to give some back as a token of appreciation", said Dr Bertolucci. "As CERN, we have always believed in sharing the results of our research, and the time has come to make that tangible. This is our way of saying thanks for the incredible level of enthusiasm that has greeted this discovery". The new particle's discovery was announced at a special seminar on 4 July last year.

Both the ATLAS and CMS experiments have generously accepted to donate some of their precious Higgs bosons. Particles such as Higgs bosons are created from the energy released in proton-proton collisions in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). However, Higgs bosons are extremely rare, being created only once out of one million million such collisions.

"We hope the lucky few who will receive a Higgs boson will cherish them as much as we do", said Dr Bertolucci.

Each boson will come with a complete set of instructions on how to properly care for it. To enter this lottery, please send an e-mail to Higgs.lottery@cern.ch. A Higgs boson will be sent to the 10 lucky winners chosen randomly from all requests received within 24 hours of publishing this post.

Read more from Quantum Diaries


Latest Announcements

Creepy bison interloper spotted in Fermilab herd

Wine tasting – Saturdays, 4 p.m., Director's House

Final bout of Roller Derby league in Tevatron tunnel – April 5

Roads A, B, C and D closed due to spelling errors - April 8-12

Fermilab Arts Series: They Might Be Giant Particles - April 11

TIAA-CREF savings tip: convert muons into electrons before April 15 tax day

Property Office requests: Report particle inventory by April 16

Deadline extended: Still seeking nominations for Best Dressed Physicist - April 30

Lost and found: Has anybody seen the key to start up the accelerator complex?