Monday, March 4, 2013

Have a safe day!

Monday, March 4

2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Meng Su, Harvard University
Title: Recent Evidence for Gamma-ray Line Emission from Fermi-LAT: WIMP or Artifact?

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Topics: Proton Improvement Plan; Portfolio Review Summary; Experiment Operational Readiness Review Summary

Tuesday, March 5

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar - One West

Speaker: Valeri Lebedev, Fermilab
Title: Project-X Injector Experiment (PXIE)

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Monday, March 4

- Breakfast: blueberry pancakes
- Vegetarian potato leek soup
- Sloppy joe
- Chicken curry
- Smart cuisine: pasta primavera
- Oven-roasted veggiewrap
- Assorted pizza by the slice
- Shrimp and crab scampi

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, March 6
- Grilled lemongrass beef and noodle salad
- Almond cake

Friday, March 8
- Pasta carbonara
- Stuffed filet of sole with crab
- Sautéed spinach
- Pecan rum cake

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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What is written in Fermilab's logbooks stays in Fermilab's logbooks

Fermilab employees keep detailed notes of their experiments' day-to-day lives in the Fermilab electronic logbooks.

Did you know that anytime you record a piece of information, you're preserving a tradition that is approximately 10,000 years old? One of the earliest record-keeping systems used clay tokens that date back to between 9300 and 8600 BC. Although Fermilab is fresh out of clay tokens, the laboratory does have an extensive, electronic logbook database that would make its earthen ancestors proud.

Each experiment at Fermilab has its own logbook where scientists and staff record information on a daily basis. Most of these are electronic. While there are several different software packages that can be used, the Computing Sector has developed software that is now used for 29 of these logbooks, which hold activity logs for R&D projects from programs as diverse as COUPP, the Dark Energy Camera and NOvA.

They contain information such as who worked on a specific piece of equipment, when they worked on it and whether any repairs were necessary. Every small detail that may be relevant to running the experiment is recorded in the logbooks. While this information might be considered monotonous or mundane, it is still important, said Igor Mandrichenko, head of Fermilab's Scientific Database Applications Group, which supplies the software for these particular 29 logbooks.

"Say, for example, a scientist sees something unusual in one-year-old data at a particular time," Mandrichenko said. "That person can go into the logbook for that experiment and see if any equipment was malfunctioning that would explain the peculiar data."

Today, searching for information in the logbooks is relatively easy. This is because a few years ago Mandrichenko and his colleagues revamped the existing electronic logbook software. The new software, based on a relational database, is more reliable and easier to navigate, Mandrichenko said. It is also easier to maintain and support.

"The new software has much more power in organizing and searching through the information," he said.

The logbook software allows users to input images, link to previous entries and reference URLs in their logbook entries. Users can even sign up for RSS feeds for different logbooks. In addition to scientific relevance and ease of navigation, the Web applications also make it possible to personalize each logbook—almost like one personalizes a Facebook profile. For example, the MINERvA logbook page includes an image of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom.

Logbooks contain huge amounts of data on an experiment's life. For example, the MINOS logbook, one of the oldest electronic logbooks that SCD runs, started in 2001 and contains more than 100,000 records. It continues to grow. What would the few scholars of ancient times who carefully organized a dozen-or-so clay tokens think?

Jessica Orwig

In the News

LHC's D-meson study wraps up antimatter 'flip' story

From BBC News, Feb. 28, 2013

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider have witnessed particles called D-mesons flipping from matter into antimatter and back.

Antimatter is identical to matter, but with opposite electric charge.

Such "oscillations" are well known among three other particle types, but this is the first time D-mesons have been seen doing it in a single study.

The team behind the collider's LHCb detector have put their results on the Arxiv repository.

The manuscript will be published in Physical Review Letters.

Read more
In the News

Dark matter rival boosted by dwarf galaxies

From New Scientist, Feb. 28, 2013

Dwarf galaxies dancing around the spiral galaxy Andromeda have boosted a controversial alternative to the idea of dark matter—the invisible stuff that most astronomers think makes up about 80 per cent of the matter in the universe.

Read more
Tip of the Week: Ecology

Can the smart grid make us smarter?

Seasonal wholesale electricity hourly average rates: yearly average (blue), peak summer time average (red), off-peak months average (green).

Let's think for a moment about electrical energy as a commodity. Generally, commodities that are easily stored have a fairly stable price, while items like fresh fruit have wide price swings with seasonal changes in supply and demand. Electrical energy is very hard to store, and the demand for energy varies over both the seasons and the time of day, as shown in the figure above. On the supply side, power plants may be down for maintenance or demand may push the systems' maximum capabilities. These factors lead to high volatility in the real-time electric trading market.

Most customers do not see this volatility since they are charged a fixed cost for electricity, generally more than the average wholesale rate. But now many electrical suppliers offer consumers an option to buy energy on the real-time wholesale market. This is made possible with smart grid technology and specifically with smart meters, which report electrical energy use by the hour to energy distributors. The distributors then charge this wholesale rate plus distribution costs rather than the higher fixed rate.

Being an electrical engineer and very interested in environmental issues, I was an easy sell for the ComEd Residential Real Time Pricing program. They installed a smart meter at our house and provide online real-time prices and data showing our hourly electrical use and charge rates. Simple things like running the washing machine and dishwasher on off-peak hours and reprogramming the air conditioner to cool the house at night reduce our bill and the peak demand to the electrical grid. Reducing peak demand levels generator loads, improves efficiency and lowers greenhouse gas production.

While Fermilab's electrical metering and contract is more complicated than that for a residential program, similar cost savings can be realized by planning high-energy operations at the lab to coincide as much as possible with periods of lower electricity costs. Fermilab's Sustainability Committee is investigating present and future energy use to reduce operational costs and minimize our environmental footprint.

Power management such as load-shifting to off-peak rate periods is just plain smart, both financially and environmentally, both at home and at work. So yes, smart grid technology and real-time pricing programs give us the tools and incentives to be smarter energy consumers!

Brian Chase, president, Fermilab Sustainability Club

Photo of the Day

Shadow hawk

This photograph could pass for a serigraph. The silhouette of a hawk stands starkly against an early-evening sky. Photo: Marty Murphy, AD

Today's New Announcements

Deadline to request onsite summer housing - today

Butts and Guts classes - begin March 4, March 6

Muscle toning class - begins March 7

Writing for Results: E-mail and More - May 3

Deadline for UChicago Tuition Remission Program - March 7

Fermilab Chamber Series: Arianna String Quartet - March 10

Fermilab Arts Series: The Believers (documentary) - March 15

Fermilab Arts & Lecture Series: ScrapArtsMusic - March 23

DOEGrids certificates to be decommissioned - March 23

Nominations open for 2013 Tollestrup Award - through April 1

2013 FRA scholarship applications accepted until April 1

Interpersonal Communication Skills course offered in May

Fermilab Management Practices courses now available for registration

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings in Kuhn Barn

Indoor soccer

Employee discounts