Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Have a safe day!

Wednesday, April 17

2 p.m.
LHC Physics Center Topic of the Week Seminar - WH11NE
Speaker: Mayda Velasco, Northwestern University
Title: Search for the Higgs Boson in the Z Boson Plus a Photon Channel and Other Dilepton Plus Photon Topologies in pp Collisions Using the CMS Detector

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Mark Peters, Argonne National Laboratory
Title: Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Nuclear Energy Future

Thursday, April 18

2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Thomas Gregoire, Carleton University
Title: Electroweak Symmetry Breaking in Supersymmetric Models with a U(1)R Lepton Number

3:30 p.m.


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Wednesday, April 17

- Breakfast: breakfast casserole
- Golden broccoli and cheddar soup
- Chicken cordon bleu sandwich
- Traditional turkey dinner
- Smart cuisine: beef bourguignon
- Turkey bacon Swiss panini
- Assorted calzones
- Blackened chicken alfredo

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, April 17
- Assortment of quiches
- Marinated cucumber salad
- Mixed-berry sorbet with cookies

Friday, April 19
- Spinach salad
- Alaskan crab legs
- Parsley potatoes
- Grilled asparagus
- Lemon panna cotta with blueberry sauce

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From symmetry

Shall I compare thee to a spinning pulsar?

A scientist uses a technique from astronomy to investigate whether William Shakespeare really wrote all of those sonnets. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

William Shakespeare is one of the most widely known playwrights and masters of the English language—or so we think. Some literary scholars say that, for all the evidence, Shakespeare may not have written a single play or sonnet.

Stanford physicist Peter Sturrock recently entered the debate with a book, AKA Shakespeare: A Scientific Approach to the Authorship Question, that approaches the discussion from a physicist's perspective using a technique called the Bayesian method. The method combines many pieces of evidence in an attempt to arrive at the truth.

"You read one sonnet, and it's just a poem," Sturrock says. "But when you read all 154 of them, it becomes a life story. It makes you wonder who wrote all of these, because this life story does not fit what we know of Shakespeare's life in Stratford."

Sturrock first used the Bayesian method in 1973 to determine that pulsars were fast-spinning neutron stars, not white dwarfs. He considered factors including their frequency range, the acceleration of their pulses and whether or not they could be associated with supernova remnants.

The Bayesian method is also handy for creating mathematical models in fields such as finance and medicine. But literary history? Sturrock says he wanted to take a systematic approach.

"A typical book [on the authorship question] is full of maybe's, possibly's, and must-have's," Sturrock says. "I'm trying to be more precise about what I'm certain of and what I'm uncertain of."

Read more

Sarah Khan

From symmetry

Essay: Naturalness

When a scientific result fails the test of "naturalness," it can point to new physics. Image: Sandbox Studio

Suppose a team of auditors is tasked with understanding a particular billionaire's bank account. Each month, millions of dollars flow into and out of the account. If the auditors look at the account on random days, they see varying amounts of money. However, on the last day of every month, the balance is briefly set to exactly zero dollars.

It's hard to imagine that this zero balance is an accident; it seems as if something is causing the account to follow this pattern. In physics, theorists consider improbable cancellations like this one to be signs of undiscovered principles governing the interactions of particles and forces. This concept is called "naturalness"—the idea that theories should make seeming coincidences feel reasonable.

In the case of the billionaire, the surprising thing is that, on a set schedule, the cash flow reaches perfect equilibrium. But one would expect it to be more erratic. The ups and downs of the stock market should cause monthly variations in the tycoon's dividends. A successful corporate raid could lead to a windfall. And an occasional splurge on a Lamborghini could cause a bigger withdrawal than usual.

Read more

Don Lincoln

In the News

New UK particle accelerator heralds exciting opportunities for industry

From, April 9, 2013

The new UK particle accelerator VELA (Versatile Electron Linear Accelerator) has achieved a significant electron acceleration milestone, which heralds exciting new opportunities for industry to apply the latest particle accelerator technology to its most critical commercial challenges.

In August 2011, a £2.5 million investment was made into the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Daresbury Laboratory for accelerator technology developments, as part of a series of investments across the wider Sci-Tech Daresbury Campus. VELA's unique electron beam characteristics, coupled with its exceptional repeatability and flexibility, make it ideal for applications development across a broad range of key market sectors; everything from seeing through aircraft luggage and developing more effective hospital radiotherapy machines, to shrink-wrapping cable bundles and curing ink.

Read more

In the News

Find a Higgs boson in LHC public data

From CERN, April 12, 2013

In the past few years, the four main experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have made some of their data available to the public. This year, several of the detectors have added a scattering of Higgs-candidate events into the mix.

Physicists from ATLAS, ALICE, CMS and LHCb carefully selected a sampling of their data for use in education and outreach. For instance, CMS has posted more than 100,000 collision events containing electrons, muons, top quarks, W and Z bosons and more.

Read more

From the Business Services Section

Fermilab's new emergency planner

Jeffrey Irvin

Jeffrey Irvin, acting head of the Business Services Section, wrote this column.

Question: What do you call the process by which an organization such as Fermilab:

  • Mitigates, prepares, responds and recovers from an emergency or disaster?
  • Effectively and efficiently manages resources, personnel and equipment for dealing with all aspects of an emergency?
  • Works collaboratively with internal and external organizations to ensure that daily operations continue during and after a disaster?
  • Creates and updates plans, policies and protocols to address various emergencies and disasters such as tornadoes, fire, earthquakes and mass casualties?

Answer: Emergency management.

To help Fermilab prepare for emergency events, it is my pleasure to introduce to you David Esterquest, Fermilab's recently hired emergency planner in the Business Services Section. (The emergency planner position was previously in the ESH&Q Section but was moved to the Business Services Section to better align with the BSS Fire Department and security functions.) Dave comes to us from the healthcare sector, in which he functioned as an emergency coordinator, and has been involved in emergency management initiatives at the federal, state and city levels.

Emergency management involves the overall development, training and education of established plans and procedures to prepare for and respond to an emergency or disaster. Every day, Illinois residents and businesses face natural, technological, chemical and man-made hazards that can potentially become disasters. Utilities such as gas, water, electricity and fuel may be interrupted for hours or even days; your home, workplace or school may be damaged or destroyed; roads and highways may be closed; and stores may be closed because of damage or may have shortages of the items you need.

Fermilab has an established emergency management program to prepare in advance for disasters. Emergency management applies to all Fermilab employees, contractors and visitors. Everyone on the Fermilab site should become familiar with their respective D/S/C policies, plans and protocols for responding to an emergency warning or disaster plan activation. Valuable emergency management information is located on the emergency information Web page.

Please feel free to contact Dave for any questions related to emergency plans, policies and drills. Dave is located on Wilson Hall's 4th floor and can be reached at x4604.

Photo of the Day

A good source of ions

This photo shows the ground electrode of the negative-hydrogen-ion source for the Project X Injector Experiment. The source, manufactured by D-Pace Inc. and licensed from TRIUMF laboratory in Vancouver, Canada, will be installed next month at Fermilab's Cryomodule Test Facility. Once operating, it will produce ionized hydrogen atoms in its plasma chamber (not shown) and extract them through the aperture (into the plane of the picture) to form particle beams. Photo: Lionel Prost, AD
Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report,
April 16

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ESH&Q section, contains four incidents.

An employee strained his hamstring after jumping off a lift gate. Work restrictions make this case a DART.

An employee received first aid after experiencing pain in his ribs while trying to straighten a ladder.

An employee noted right-elbow pain, especially while working on a laptop. This claim is pending.

While a subcontractor was repairing a door to the large elevator at MINOS, an incident occurred, resulting in a door falling down the elevator shaft. There were no injuries.

Find the full report here.


Today's New Announcements

Lunch & Learn: 10 Quick Steps for Fitness Goals - April 18

Lawyers discuss permanent residence process - April 18

Changes to U.S. visa procedures - begin April 30

Fermilab Arts Series: Barynya: Music & Dance of Russia - April 20

UChicago: Willy Wonka - movie and science demos - April 21

Engineering Group to hold seminars at Fermilab - April 26

Hubbard Street 2 Dance - Fermilab Arts Series - May 11

Fermilab-CERN Hadron Collider Physics Summer School open for applications

Reminder - FSA debit card PIN required

International folk dancing meets Thursday evenings in Kuhn Barn

Indoor soccer

Fermilab Golf League

Indian Creek Riding Club

Chicago Fire discount tickets