Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

Have a safe day!

Friday, Feb. 8

8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Experiment Operational Readiness Review - Curia II

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Michelle Prewitt, Rice University
Title: A Closer Look: Searching for the Rare Decay Bs→μμ at DZero

Monday, Feb. 11


3:30 p.m.


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Feb. 8

- Breakfast: French bistro breakfast
- New England clam chowder
- Becks battered fish sandwich
- Tortellini alfredo
- Smart cuisine: herb and lemon fish
- Cuban panini
- Assorted pizza by the slice
- Mumbo jumbo baked potatoes

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu
Chez Leon

Friday, Feb. 8
- Bacon, boursin and spinach soufflé
- Filet mignon with morel sauce
- Grilled asparagus
- Herbed new potatoes
- Pear tart

Wednesday, Feb. 13
- Cheese fondue
- Mixed-green salad
- Mixed-berry pie

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From symmetry

The power of basic science

Moishe Pripstein and George Trilling wrote this commentary on long-term funding and support for science. Photos courtesy of APS

Amid the worldwide excitement of the recent discovery of what may be the long-sought Higgs boson, some questions arose as to whether it was worth the expense.

Particle physics is an important endeavor, one that addresses profound human curiosity about such fundamental questions as how the universe evolved and why we have mass, and one that trains generations of new scientists at the cutting edge of research.

But, even more than that, the science is important because new knowledge is power—even when the potential impact is unclear at the time of discovery. The challenge then is to ensure that it is used for the benefit of society.

As one example among many, when the theory of quantum mechanics was introduced in the 1920s, it seemed to many people to have no relevance at all to the macroscopic world, and therefore to our lives. As a physical theory of the submicroscopic world, quantum mechanics is applicable only to the world of very small distances.

But within two decades, quantum mechanics led to the invention of the transistor and the development of solid-state electronics, which dominate our lives today. No one could have had any such inkling in the 1920s.

This is the power of pure research: hope for the future.

Today, the largest particle-physics experiment, the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, explores a whole range of transformational research topics. In addition to the discovery of the Higgs-like boson, the LHC is on the brink of many unexpected discoveries. Is there, as suggested by theory, a new hierarchy of particles, called supersymmetric particles, beyond those described by the Standard Model of particle physics? What is dark matter? Do extra dimensions exist, beyond the familiar three dimensions of space and one of time that underlie our present concept and experience? Will the unexplored domains of high energy and large masses that the LHC makes accessible lead to the discovery of entirely new principles of nature? A few decades from now, the answers to these questions—and the others asked in particle physics and indeed all science—may enable huge societal benefits.

Read more

Moishe Pripstein and George Trilling

Photo of the Day

Winter prairie mirage

Wednesday's fog makes Wilson Hall appear as though the buliding is something only in one's own eyes. Photo: Tim Niemiec, BSS

Former DZero spokesperson receives Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award

Stefan Söldner-Rembold, former DZero spokesperson and head of the Particle Physics Group at the University of Manchester in the UK, has received the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. One of 25 given out in 2012, the award supports the continuation of Söldner-Rembold's studies on the origin of mass.

The Wolfson Research Merit Award provides up to five years' funding, after which the award holder continues with the permanent post at the host university.

In the News

Standing on the shoulders of software developers

From iSGTW, Feb. 6, 2013

Left uncared for, software decays. Like a grand, old building, it may fall into ruin if abandoned. But, as with any treasured monument, there are those who will fight to preserve scientific software; those who seek to ensure that the hard-won gains of today's researchers are not frivolously lost for the researchers of tomorrow.

On Wednesday 30 January, around 40 such 'e-preservationists' converged on CERN for the SciencePAD Persistent Identifier's Workshop (SPID2013), the aim of which was to investigate ways of improving collection, storage, and preservation of information concerning the software used in scientific research. Of course, the motivation for doing so is not mere nostalgia, but a desire to ensure that software developed can be reused by researchers in the future and that the scientific results generated through the use of specific software remain reproducible for years to come.

Read more
In the News

First light from the first high-energy superconducting undulator

From Argonne National Laboratory, Feb. 1, 2013

More than eight years of effort by Advanced Photon Source (APS) physicists, engineers, and technicians culminated on Jan. 21, 2013, with the production of the first X-rays from the prototype of a novel superconducting undulator (SCU), which has been installed in the APS electron accelerator and storage ring at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. It is the first such SCU operated at a third-generation synchrotron X-ray facility.

Read more
Frontier Science Result: CMS

The Z boson's heavy cousin

Just like General Mills mascots Sprout and the Jolly Green Giant are small and large versions of one another, the hypothetical Z' boson is a more massive cousin of the familiar Z boson. No evidence has been found that supports the existence of a Z' boson.

Since its discovery in 1983, the Z boson has been a workhorse for particle physics. Z bosons are the particles that mediate the weak nuclear force, and they can decay into any of the known quarks and leptons except for the top quark. This versatility is one of the reasons that experiments using CERN's LEP accelerator, active from 1989 to 2000, were so prolific. By making Z bosons, it was possible to investigate an impressive spectrum of different phenomena.

One phenomenon seen in quarks and leptons is particle generations. Particle generations are groups of particles, with each group having strikingly similar properties. The first generation consists of up and down quarks, electrons and electron neutrinos. From these fundamental particles, you can create all of the familiar matter of the cosmos. There are two additional generations, one that consists of the charm and strange quarks, muons and muon neutrinos, and another that consists of top and bottom quarks, taus and tau neutrinos. The second and third generations are very similar to the first, but their members are unstable. Nobody really understands why there is more than one generation of quarks and leptons.

Scientists would like to know whether the multiple generations seen in quarks and leptons also apply to force-mediating bosons. Thus far, each of the force-carrying particles of the Standard Model (W and Z bosons, photons and gluons) seems to be unique. That is, there is no evidence to hint at generations in the force-mediating bosons. On the other hand, there are several speculative theories that predict the existence of heavier cousins of the W and Z bosons. The unimaginative names of these hypothetical particles are the W' (W prime) and Z' (Z prime) boson.

CMS scientists have searched for a heavy Z' boson that decays into a top quark-antiquark pair. This particular decay mode is interesting because producing top quarks via ordinary Standard Model physics is rather rare, making it easier to isolate and identify collisions in which a Z' might have been made. While the decay of Z' bosons into top quarks is the only decay channel considered, top quarks decay in a plethora of ways. Accordingly, this particular search actually required three unique analyses (analyses one, two and three), including an analysis that has already been featured in Fermilab Today.

CMS scientists observed no evidence for the existence of Z' bosons. The Standard Model has resisted yet another attempt to topple it from its pedestal.

—Don Lincoln

These physicists contributed to this analysis.
Charged particle reconstruction is an essential ingredient in any physics analysis. Tracks are used to find vertices, to tag b-jets, to reconstruct electrons and muons and to seed the particle flow algorithm. During 2012, these U.S. physicists made crucial contributions to improve the existing algorithms and monitor the tracking performance.

Today's New Announcements

Deadline for UChicago Tuition Remission Program - March 7

Delnor Health & Wellness Center discount

Increased online access to scientific journals

Barn Dance - Feb. 10

English country dancing Sundays - Feb. 10

Sneak preview of Fermilab documentary - Feb. 11

Budker Seminar - Feb. 11

Financial and procurement systems down - through Feb. 11

Wheaton Sensory Garden Playground seminar - Feb. 12

Fermilab Barnstormers Delta Dart Night - Feb. 13

No on-site prescription safety eyewear - Feb. 13

Project Scheduling and Earned Value Management Systems course offered - Feb. 18-19

School's Day Out - Feb. 18, March 1

Employee art show applications - due Feb. 20

Fermilab Lecture Series: Engineering Biology - Feb. 22

Fermilab Gallery Series: Dios no Choro (Brazilian flute and guitar)

URA Visiting Scholars Program deadline - Feb. 25

2013 FRA scholarship applications accepted until April 1

Professional development courses

2013 standard mileage reimbursement rate

Scottish country dancing Tuesday evenings in Kuhn Barn

Indoor soccer

Employee discounts

Find new classified ads on Fermilab Today.