Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013

Have a safe day!

Wednesday, Aug. 28

10 a.m.
Research Techniques Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Kieran O'Brian, University of Oxford
Title: Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors for Optical and Near-IR Astronomy

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Rene Brun, CERN
Title: My Journey through Scientific Computing

Thursday, Aug. 29

2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Maxwell Hansen, University of Washington
Title: Three Particles in a Box: Mapping Finite-Volume Spectrum to S-Matrix

3:30 p.m.

Click here for NALCAL,
a weekly calendar with links to additional information.

Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Wednesday, Aug. 28

- Breakfast: crustless quiche casserole
- Breakfast: ham, egg and cheese English muffin
- Cajun turkey burger
- Smart cuisine: portobello and peppers over soft polenta
- Seafood Newburg
- Turkey bacon panini
- Pork carnitas soft tacos
- Tuscan chicken noodle soup
- Texas-style chili
- Assorted calzones

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Aug. 28
- Assorted stuffed summer vegetables
- Gourmet greens with herb vinaigrette
- Buttered crepes with caramel and pecans

Friday, Aug. 30

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From symmetry

Explain it in 60 seconds: Neutrinoless double beta decay

The observation of neutrinoless double beta decay would suggest that, by itself, the Standard Model Higgs cannot give mass to neutrinos. Image: Sandbox Studio

Last year, physicists discovered the long-sought Higgs boson, bringing us closer to understanding why particles such as electrons have mass. Neutrinos, on the other hand, are much, much lighter than electrons and other similar particles. Could this be a sign that the story of neutrino mass is not just about the Higgs?

We can explore this possibility with a process known as double beta decay. In “normal” double beta decay, two neutrons inside an atomic nucleus transform into two protons while ejecting two neutrinos and two electrons. A dozen different nuclei have been found to undergo this very rare type of decay.

Now suppose that neutrinos, in addition to being electrically neutral, are in fact exactly neutral in all possible ways—so much so that a neutrino and an anti-neutrino are utterly identical.

If this is true, then neutrinos should fuel a “neutrinoless” type of double beta decay. In this process, the experimenter would see only the emission of two electrons, because the neutrinos would have been absorbed by the same nucleus from which they came. It’s these “missing” neutrinos that provide the name for the neutrinoless decay.

Neutrinoless double beta decay is intriguing because, by itself, the Higgs described by the Standard Model cannot give mass to this type of completely neutral neutrino.

There are, however, many other—as-yet-unproven—theories for how such neutrinos could get a small mass. And since we know that neutrinos in nature are almost (but not quite) massless, the next step to figuring out if any of these ideas are on the right track is to demonstrate or disprove their completely neutral nature. This can best be done by observing or ruling out the neutrinoless decay.

Carter Hall, University of Maryland

Read similar explanations in the symmetry archive.

Photo of the Day

Flight of a bumblebee

In this composite picture of a single bee's flight, a flower inside the Tevatron ring appears to welcome the bee with open arms. Photo: Marty Murphy, AD
Accelerator Update

Accelerator update, Aug. 26, 2013

Linac and Booster
AD personnel operated the Linac and Booster accelerators, conducted machine studies and carried out maintenance and minor repairs.

Main Injector and NuMI
Work is progressing well on fixing the vacuum problems in the 307-309 sections of the Main Injector. Work on one of the sections is complete. The goal is to achieve a high vacuum of 10-8 torr. Personnel expect to send beam to the NuMI target hall this week.

Fixed-target area
Work on the Neutrino Muon Beamline, which delivers beam to the SeaQuest experiment, continues. New beam pipes have been installed along more than half the length of the beam enclosure.

View the AD Operations Department schedule.

In the News

How to turn cutting-edge science into a page-turning thriller

From io9, Aug. 27, 2013

“Tell me what scares you about your research, what keeps you up at night…”

That’s the challenge I posed to a group of physicists seated at a cafeteria lunch table at Fermilab, the national particle accelerator lab outside of Chicago where, as a writer of science-based thrillers, I was invited for a personal tour of their facility. And that visit gave me the opportunity to toss out the question I frequently present to scientists or researchers. The answer that follows often becomes the grist for another novel.

Read more

From the Finance Section

FY2014 Budget

Cindy Conger

Cindy Conger, Chief Financial Officer and head of the Finance Section, wrote this column.

In about a month we will say goodbye to fiscal year 2013 and say hello to fiscal year 2014. Based on information received from the Department of Energy’s Office of High Energy Physics, Fermilab’s HEP funding in FY14 is currently planned to be approximately the same as in FY13. Our lab is also slated to receive a one-time allocation of $35 million to update critical utility infrastructure, including electrical and industrial cooling systems, as part of the Science Laboratories Infrastructure program.

Of course, as is the case every year, an appropriations bill must be signed into law before DOE can provide FY14 funding for the laboratory.

Ideally Congress will have passed all appropriations bills by Oct. 1 so that our FY14 budget will be settled for the year, but that is very unlikely. We expect a continuing resolution (CR) to fund our laboratory at previous-year levels until Congress either passes the Energy and Water Appropriations bill (which funds DOE) and the President signs it; or, like this year, passes a CR that covers the entire fiscal year.

A full-year CR may not affect our overall level of funding from DOE HEP, but it would negatively affect several new initiatives including the $35 million infrastructure improvement project. Congress usually does not allow “new starts” in a CR, prohibiting funding for projects that were not funded in the previous year. These projects may be delayed depending on how long the CR lasts. Since FY13 was funded with an all-year CR, new projects are now potentially entering their second year of delay. In addition, DOE sometimes holds back funding otherwise allowed under the CR to provide for possible funding cuts in the final appropriation.

The outlook for FY14 is uncertain but should become clearer as Congress addresses funding the government for the year beginning on Oct. 1. We have a terrific science program planned for the coming year; let’s hope for budget certainty early in the year to help us to achieve it!

Video of the Day

The Higgs Field, explained

The Higgs boson is one of the most significant recent scientific discoveries, but not everyone understands how it works. Fermilab physicist Don Lincoln partnered with TEDEducation to create an animated explanation, now available on YouTube. View the video. Video: TEDEducation
In the News

Physicists set out to answer 'why particle physics matters'

From The Beacon News, Aug. 25, 2013

Pushing the boundaries of new technologies, strengthening international partnerships, seeking answers to fundamental questions about the nature of the universe — they’re just a few of the reasons physicists do what they do.

But in an era when applied sciences—medical technology, green energy, manufacturing—tend to take precedence, particle physicists find themselves answering one question more and more: “Why does particle physics matter?”

Read more

Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, Aug. 27

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

A 20-inch-by-10-inch PVC pipe shifted during transport and fell when an employee opened the hatch of the vehicle to retrieve the pipe. The pipe contacted her right ankle and caused an abrasion. She received first aid.

Find the full report here.


Accelerate to a Healthy Lifestyle

Walk 2 Run starts Aug. 22

NALWO Aug. 29

Life on Mars - Fermilab Lecture Series - Sept. 13

MS Excel and Word classes offered this fall

Zumba Fitness and Zumba Toning coming soon

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings in Auditorium

International folk dancing in Auditorium for summer