Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Have a safe day!

Wednesday, March 26

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Joint DES-LSST Workshop - One West
Register in person
Registration fee: $42

3:30 p.m.


Thursday, March 27

9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Joint DES-LSST Workshop - One West, Comitium, WH7XO
Register in person
Registration fee: $42

2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Clifford Cheung, California Institute of Technology
Title: Naturalness and the Weak Gravity Conjecture

3:30 p.m.

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

Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


Take Five


Weather Mostly sunny

Extended forecast
Weather at Fermilab

Current Security Status

Secon Level 3

Current Flag Status

Flags at full staff

Wilson Hall Cafe

Wednesday, March 26

- Breakfast: breakfast pizza
- Breakfast: ham, egg and cheese English muffin
- Gyros
- Smart cuisine: baked pork chops
- Chicken cacciatore
- California turkey wrap
- Chicken carbonara
- Three bean overland soup
- Texas-style chili
- Assorted calzones

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, March 26
- Chipotle-honey-glazed salmon
- Green rice
- Sugar snap peas
- Cold lemon souffle

Friday, March 28

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


Fermilab Today

Director's Corner

Frontier Science Result

Physics in a Nutshell

Tip of the Week

User University Profiles

Related content


Fermilab Today
is online at:

Send comments and suggestions to:

Visit the Fermilab

Unsubscribe from Fermilab Today


Particle detector connects two generations of ironworkers

Tom Wicks, rigging superintendent at Joliet Steel & Construction, stands next to the stripped-down CDF detector at Fermilab. His mother, Lois Anderson, helped build the detector as an ironworker nearly 30 years ago. Photo: Amanda Solliday

One day when Tom Wicks was a child, he biked over to see his mom, Lois Anderson, working at an office in Aurora, Ill. She was at the top of the building, welding and torching as ironworkers do.

"That's when my son told me, 'I want to do that,'" Anderson said.

Both mother and son have worked as ironworkers on Fermilab experiments throughout their careers. Anderson, known as "Sarge" during business hours and the only female on her crew for decades, began ironworking at CDF — one of two detectors located on the Tevatron ring — when it was "a hole in the ground" in the early 1980s. Anderson and Wicks, rigging superintendent at Joliet Steel & Construction, worked together on the last upgrade of the detector in 2001.

Now Wicks is dismantling much of the roughly 4,000-ton particle detector that he, his mother and his stepfather helped build.

"She likes to tease me about it. 'All that work we've put into it, and now you're tearing it apart?'" Wicks said.

CDF ran for more than two decades, collecting data from proton-antiproton collisions from 1985 until the Tevatron shut down in 2011. Scientists at CDF and its sister detector DZero discovered the last quark predicted by the Standard Model, the top quark. Both collaborations still analyze valuable data collected from the detectors.

In its heyday, the large orange and blue CDF detector drew crowds when upgrades required rolling the machine from the collision tunnel to an open assembly hall.

"During the last upgrade, it was like a football game," Wicks said. "There were so many people watching, you couldn't get a space along the rail to watch us do it."

Wicks and his crew began working with Fermilab staff to remove equipment from the CDF detector in March 2013. They will likely finish next month, leaving intact the multmillion-dollar solenoid magnet at the core of the detector.

John Wackerlin, a fellow ironworker and foreman at Walbridge, led one of the teams tasked with decommissioning the experiment. Like Wicks, he's laying to rest something his family helped build. His father, Bob Wackerlin, welded together the structure that houses the 30-foot-tall detector.

The elder Wackerlin's work at Fermilab started even before CDF. When his wife was pregnant with John, Bob Wackerlin worked underground in the 4-mile Tevatron tunnel while it was still being dug. He retired after 42 years as an ironworker and said he's proud of his family's connection to the laboratory.

"I've worked in just about every building on this site," Bob Wackerlin said. "Fermilab projects are some of the best jobs that come across our ironworkers union. It's employed a lot of people over the years."

His son added, "Working with physicists and the talent and brainpower here — it's unreal."

Although CDF is turned off and its many wires and cables scrapped, much of the detector will find a home in future experiments. The solenoid magnet, for example, could be reused in another particle experiment, said Fermilab scientist Jonathan Lewis. Scientists are recycling parts of the detector for other high-energy physics projects at Fermilab, and electronics, phototubes and assorted pieces of CDF have also been shipped to other labs and universities in the United States, Europe and Japan.

Both families see this as progress.

"Once you've learned something from one experiment, it makes way for new experiments," John Wackerlin said. "So now we can go on to even bigger and better things. I'm excited about it."

Amanda Solliday

In the News

Accelerator — stonewashed

From DESY inForm, March 2014

Editor's note: This article from DESY inForm details a process for polishing superconducting radio-frequency cavities known as centrifugal barrel polishing. The initial work for this environmentally friendly process occurred at KEK. Fermilab's SRF Materials Process R&D Group, led by Charlie Cooper, further refined the polishing process, achieving a mirror-like finish on the cavities' interiors. After this breakthrough, other institutions — Cornell, Jefferson Lab and DESY — demonstrated renewed interest in the process.

Usually it's basic research — especially for particle accelerators — that pioneers new technology. But in this case the researchers obviously had a little inspirational snoop at Levi's or any other jeans manufacturer's. Recently, DESY's superconducting TESLA cavities have started to be surface-treated with a stonewashing equipment — accelerators stonewashed, so to say.

Read more on page 3 of DESY inForm

From the Accelerator Division

Marching elephants

Sergei Nagaitsev

Sergei Nagaitsev, head of the Accelerator Division, wrote this column.

By most accounts, Hannibal's Rome invasion force in 218 B.C. included 37 or 38 elephants. Nobody knows how he managed to march his army and his elephants over the Alps, but he ended up occupying much of the Roman homeland for many years.

Our invasion force into the neutrino empire includes 19 cavities in the Booster — Fermilab's oldest synchrotron, built more than 40 years ago. This week we achieve a great milestone — we will install the 10th of these radio-frequency cavities, which accelerate bunches of protons needed for Fermilab's neutrino experiments.

The cavities were originally constructed in the 1960s and installed in the Booster tunnel in the early 1970s. They were never designed to operate at beam intensities requested by proton-hungry neutrino experiments. Fermilab is currently executing a cavity refurbishment program as part of the Proton Improvement Plan project, led by William Pellico (AD) and Robert Zwaska (APC).

Refurbishing these 40-year-old accelerator cavities is an involved business. Once a cavity is removed from the Booster tunnel, it's allowed to "cool down" to reduce its radio-activation levels, after which it is disassembled and inspected. The damaged parts are replaced or repaired, and others are cleaned. Then it is reassembled. The final step is to test the cavity at full power and the maximum repetition rate. After that, it is ready for installation in the tunnel.

Much like marching an elephant over the Alps (I would imagine), it takes about 10 weeks to refurbish one Booster cavity. It turns out that the Booster needs at least 17 cavities in order to operate reliably, so we are "marching" two elephants at a time. With the installation of cavity number 10, we are halfway over the Alps!

July 1970: A flatbed semitrailer delivers a pair of Booster radio-frequency cavities. Photo: Fermilab
Photo of the Day

Rising steam

Steam from the Central Utility Building is lit by the rising sun. Two pictures — one of the Central Utility Building and one of Wilson Hall — are shown next to each other for perspective. Photo: Patrick Sheahan, AD
Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, March 25

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ESH&Q Section, contains no incidents.

Find the full report here.

In the News

Ripples from the big bang

From The New York Times, March 24, 2014

Cambridge, Mass. — When scientists jubilantly announced last week that a telescope at the South Pole had detected ripples in space from the very beginning of time, the reverberations went far beyond the potential validation of astronomers' most cherished model of the Big Bang.

It was the second time in less than two years that ideas thought to be radical just decades ago had been confirmed (at least so the optimists think) by experiment.

Read more


Today's New Announcements

Active For Life Multi-Life Challenge

On sale now: Fermilab Natural Areas hats and shirts

C2ST: The Real Science Behind Star Trek - April 2

Weight Management registration deadline - March 27

Fermilab App Development Day for high school students - March 29

School's Day Out - March 30-April 4

Martial Arts - begins March 31

2014 FRA Scholarship applications due April 1

LabVIEW seminars scheduled on April 10

MySQL relational database management course - April 22-23

Supervisors needed for SIST interns

West bike rack area closed

Portions of west atrium stair closed for construction

Two yoga classes offered

Walk 2 Run

Indoor soccer