Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013

Have a safe day!

Thursday, Oct. 31

11 a.m.
Intensity Frontier Seminar - WH8XO
Speaker: Edward Kearns, Boston University
Title: Proton Decay

2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Sonia El Hedri, SLAC
Title: Bottom-Up Naturalness

3:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 1

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Simon Fiorucci, Brown University
Title: First Results from the LUX Experiment Dark Matter Search

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Thursday, Oct. 31

- Breakfast: Canadian bacon, egg and cheese Texas toast
- Breakfast: sausage gravy omelet
- Chopped-barbecue-pork sandwich
- Smart cuisine: finger-lickin' baked chicken
- Mom's meatloaf
- Spicy buffalo chicken wrap
- Greek chicken salad
- Meatball and orzo soup - Italian wedding soup
- Chef's choice soup
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Friday, Nov. 1

Wednesday, Nov. 6
- Honey mustard veggie kebobs
- Garlic quinoa
- Black forest cake

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Fermilab's Boneyard a purgatory for old parts

Fermilab Materials Specialist Todd Wagner runs through inventory at the Fermilab Boneyard, a place where experiments' leftover materials are stored. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Just about as far north as you can get on the Fermilab grounds, behind a locked security gate, is a place called the Boneyard.

Towering mounds of cables sit beside equally tall spools of wire. A speedboat-sized canister of neon gas neighbors the concrete remains of an underground tunnel. This is the final resting place for leftover parts from Fermilab's particle physics experiments. That is, unless they are given a second chance.

The people who run the Boneyard are part of Fermilab's Business Services Section, specializing in inventory control and property management. They work hard to organize and catalog each item: plastic stacked in one spot, aluminum, copper and stainless steel in others. Some of the items have words scrawled across them — "Mu2e," "NOvA" — the experimenters' way of claiming them.

Fermilab Materials Specialist Todd Wagner has worked here since 1987. Like many people at the lab, Wagner wears a monitoring device around his neck at all times while he is at work to keep track of how much radiation he comes in contact with. In almost 30 years of working here, he said, he has rarely picked up even a trace of radiation above normal levels.

He turns on a well-worn Geiger counter at his feet to show how its characteristic ticking picks up speed as his truck passes alongside certain objects in the Boneyard. For example, thick blocks of concrete stacked up around the yard contain some of the most radiation — you wouldn't think so, though, since their dusty gray pallor is not green or glowing as in works of science fiction.

Wagner says these blocks are used for shielding in various experiments to keep radioactive isotopes contained and to protect the experimenters. When the experiment is over, the blocks stay "hot" for several years, which means they are still radioactive. Blocks are constantly being moved in and out of the Boneyard, borrowed by various experiments as needed.

Other spare parts are not so lucky — many have been designed and purchased for one specific use on one specific experiment. If there are extras, or if the experiment is over, they will likely be melted down and recycled, shipped elsewhere, or be doomed to an eternity in the Boneyard.

"This stuff is just sitting there, rusting," Wagner said. "Almost like bones, it's slowly going to fade away."

Ideally, parts will be stored here only until another Fermilab experiment has a use for them, reducing excess spending and waste. Wagner estimates that the lab saves an average of about $200,000 per year from the Boneyard. This year, he said, there's a chance they could save more than $1 million, since an exceptional amount of the Boneyard's stores of copper was repurposed.

While the technology in particle physics is always changing, parts such as metal pipes and cables are fairly timeless and can be reused.

"The general rule of thumb is that if you need steel for an experiment, you should come here first," Wagner said. "We want almost as much going back out as is coming in."

Sarah Witman

Fermilab scientists may claim any parts in the Boneyard they think will be useful for future experiments. The lab saves thousands of dollars each year by reusing, repurposing and recycling materials. Photo: Reidar Hahn
From symmetry

First LUX result negates previous possible dark-matter sighting

The mystery of dark matter remains after the world's most sensitive dark-matter detector reveals its first result. Photo: Matt Kapust, Sanford Underground Research Facility

In its first three months of running, the world's most sensitive dark matter experiment saw no signs of dark matter — refuting a previous, inconclusive result from another experiment.

In April, scientists on the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search, or CDMS, experiment announced their detector had caught three candidate dark-matter particles with a mass about nine times that of a proton. This morning, scientists on the Large Underground Xenon, or LUX, experiment announced that, if the particles caught by CDMS really were dark-matter particles, the much larger, more sensitive LUX experiment should have seen about 1,600 candidate particles, about one for every 80 minutes of their initial run.

Read more

Kathryn Jepsen

In Brief

Fermilab Arts Series presents the Stars of Dance Chicago - Saturday, Nov. 9 in Ramsey

The Stars of Dance Chicago returns to Fermilab with a whole new line-up of accomplished artists. The performances take place on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium.

Tickets are $28, $14 for those 18 and under. For more information or to make reservations, visit the Fermilab Arts Series Web page or call 630-840-2787.

In the News

CERN: a case study in "big science" data management

From Smart Data Collective, Oct. 29, 2013

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) became a poster-child for organizing and processing enormous quantities of data during its search for the Higgs boson and other physics investigations, but scaling up is not the only data hurdle the organization has had to jump. In its efforts to maximize the long-tail value of its data, it has had to create roadmaps for preserving and releasing public data. In the same way that CERN's scalable processing and storage innovations can be applied in industry, its data preservation and dissemination efforts can serve as examples for other "big science" projects.

Read more

Frontier Science Result: DZero

Muons, matter and mystery

The new measurement uses the DZero detector like a set of scales, weighing the amount of matter and antimatter. However, the scales are themselves asymmetric, and the main challenge is to understand and quantify the effect of this behavior.

Disponible en español

Experiments at particle colliders are often described as "recreating the big bang": making new particles out of energy, and then watching to see what happens. In almost all such experiments, we find that matter and antimatter are produced in equal amounts, and this is consistent with our current model. However, if the big bang followed the same rules, all the matter and antimatter would have mutually annihilated, with nothing left to form stars, planets and life. The very fact that we exist, and observe a matter-dominated universe, shows that our picture of the particle interactions is not complete.

At the DZero experiment, scientists have spent a decade studying this matter-antimatter asymmetry using muons produced in their detector, and last week they released their final results. The measurement counts the number of observed muons (negatively charged) and antimuons (positively charged) to compare the amount of matter and antimatter resulting from the originally symmetric proton-antiproton collisions.

As an analogy, this is much like weighing the matter and antimatter with a set of scales. The challenge is that the scales themselves introduce their own asymmetry into the measurement. Because the detector is built out of matter, it responds slightly differently to matter and antimatter particles as they are detected. These "detector effects" must be precisely determined before the measurement can be made. Luckily, the DZero detector has some clever attributes that make it uniquely suited for this kind of analysis.

Intriguingly, after correcting for the detector effects, the results indicate a statistically significant asymmetry in the number of same-charge muon pairs, with around one part in 400 more pairs of negative muons than positive muons. This is much larger than can be accounted for by current theories, suggesting the presence of additional as-yet unknown processes that favor the production of matter over antimatter. Now, assuming that this isn't a very unlikely statistical fluctuation, the big question is: What could be causing this asymmetry, and could it be the same process that helped shape the early universe? Future precision measurements of specific asymmetries, as well as theoretical developments, are needed to help understand this puzzle.

Mark Williams

These physicists both made major contributions to this analysis.
These physicists have served as guides for many of the recent tours of the DZero detector. More than 1,300 guests have toured the detector since 2012. Please contact if you are interested in a tour. Top row, from left: Stefan Gruenendahl (tour coordinator), Mike Cooke, George Ginther, Julie Hogan. Second row: Andy Jung, Ashish Kumar, Bill Lee, Carrie McGivern. Third row: Jesus Orduña, Bjoern Penning, Mandy Rominsky, Hang Yin. Bottom row: Sung Woo Youn, Yunhe Xie.
In Brief

P5 public meetings at Fermilab - this weekend

The first public meeting of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel will be held at Fermilab starting Saturday. Open sessions will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2, and Sunday, Nov. 3.

Topics include Snowmass inputs and the international context on Saturday and the neutrino program on Sunday. A town hall meeting will take place Sunday afternoon from 4-5:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to complete the free registration to help with logistical planning. Please visit the P5 website for more information about the planning process and to submit comments and documents to panel members.

Photo of the Day

Fresh mummies

A garden spider captures victims in its web. Photo: Sue Quarto, FESS

Today's New Announcements

Community outreach volunteer opportunity - learn more Nov. 5

Certified Administrative Professional - Lunch and Learn - Nov. 13

Deadline for Wilson Fellowship application - Nov. 1

Cafeteria will be open Nov. 2-3

Office of Science's Patricia Dehmer speaks at UChicago - Nov. 5

Heartland Fermilab walk-in blood drive - Nov. 5 and 6

Stars of Dance Chicago - Fermilab Arts Series - Nov. 9

CSADay 2013 training opportunities - Nov. 12

Physics Slam 2013 - Fermilab Arts & Lecture Series - Nov. 15

Message regarding Windows 8.1

Donate winter wear for Fermilab Coat Exchange

Lepton flavor violation course in lecture series

Money just got cheaper

Scottish country dancing returns to Kuhn Barn Tuesday evenings

International folk dancing returns to Kuhn Barn Thursday evenings

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey discounts