Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Have a safe day!

Tuesday, April 1

11 a.m.
Academic Lecture Series - One West
Speaker: Wolfgang Altmannshofer, Perimeter Institute
Title: Origins of Electric Dipole Moments

3:30 p.m.


Wednesday, April 2

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Eszter Hargittai, Northwestern University
Title: Connected, but Confused? How People's Internet Skills Influence What They Do - and Do Not Do - Online

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

Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


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Current Security Status

Secon Level 3

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Flags at full staff

Wilson Hall Cafe

Tuesday, April 1

- Breakfast: All-American breakfast
- Breakfast: bacon, egg and cheese bagel
- Ranch chicken breast sandwich
- Smart cuisine: pork piccata with lemon sauce
- Shepherd's pie
- California turkey panino
- Taco salad
- Minnesota chicken and rice soup
- Chef's choice soup
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, April 2
- Northern Italian lasagna
- Caesar salad
- Italian cream cake

Friday, April 4

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Special Announcement

April Fool

We hope that the 9 a.m. edition of Fermilab Today made you laugh! Here is the real issue. (Really.)

Press Release

Explore the Wonders of Science at Fermilab on Sunday, April 6

Kids and adults alike will enjoy the Wonders of Science at Fermilab on April 6. Photo: Cindy Arnold

If you know kids between the ages of 7 and 12, you know how hard it can be to get them excited about science from a textbook. Children need science to come to life before their eyes. They need to be wowed and to experience physical phenomena with eyes wide and jaws dropped.

That's the thinking behind the annual Wonders of Science show, which will again pack Ramsey Auditorium at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on Sunday, April 6. The show, organized and performed by award-winning high school teachers, is celebrating its 27th year at the lab. Tickets are $4.50 per person.

"This is one of our most exciting events every year," said Spencer Pasero, an education program leader at Fermilab. "Everyone has their favorite demonstration, but there's always something new and exciting to look forward to."

Read more

From symmetry

Superheroes and particle physics: the dynamic duo

From Iron Man to The Flash and astrophysicists to particle physicists, superheroes and physicists help shape each other's worlds. Image: Sandbox Studio

Iron Man 2, the second installment in the Iron Man movie franchise, finds the hero Tony Stark in a bit of a pickle: The "arc reactor" in Stark's chest (which generates magnetic fields to halt the movement of shrapnel in his body) is powered by palladium, which is slowly poisoning him. Stark must find a different material to run the reactor if he hopes to survive. But the only non-toxic element that will work is one that does not exist on Earth. A brilliant engineer and scientist, Stark builds a small cyclotron and uses it to create the new element he needs.

In the magic world of movies, Stark builds his cyclotron in about a day, whereas real cyclotrons usually take months or years to come together. But the story is built on at least one scientifically accurate fact: It is true that particle accelerators can be used to create "new" elements — those that aren't found in nature. It's a wonder Stark didn't just put on his Iron Man suit and fly to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where scientists have already been involved in the creation of new elements 113, 114, 115, 116, 117 and 118.

Throughout the comic book canon, sprinkled amongst fictional science like Tony Stark's in vivo arc reactor, one can also find examples of genuine particle physics. Talking to comic book writers reveals that particle physics is frequently an inspiration for new and interesting storylines — and the presence of particle physics in superhero comics and movies fuels curiosity and imagination in its audience. It may surprise some people to find that superheroes and particle physicists inspire each other — but unlikely duos often make great stories.

Read more

Calla Cofield

Photo of the Day

Atrium in the afternoon

When the cafeteria is empty, the atrium of Wilson Hall can be a quiet spot on a weekday afternoon. Photo: Sarah Witman
In the News

Record-breaking atom laser to hunt quantum gravity

From New Scientist, March 24, 2014

Beam me up, Einstein. The world's most powerful atom laser could one day be sent into space to probe the mysteries of general relativity and perhaps offer clues to the long-sought connection between gravity and quantum mechanics.

Atom lasers emit beams of matter instead of photons. This is possible using an ultra-cold gas called a Bose-Einstein condensate, which makes millions of atoms behave like a single wave. Previous work created atom lasers by bottling up the ultra-cold gas using powerful electromagnets.

"It acts like a thermos flask, confining the atoms and keeping them from heating up," explains Wolf von Klitzing at the Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser in Hellas, Greece. Physicists can then guide a beam of atoms out of the "bottle" using radio waves.

But the radio waves used in the past were relatively weak, limiting the power of atom lasers. Von Klitzing and his team found a way to use stronger radio waves, boosting the flow to 108 atoms per second. That is 16 times as powerful as the previous best atom laser, the team claims.

Read more

Director's Corner

A cosmic week at Fermilab

Fermilab Director
Nigel Lockyer

Scientists studying the cosmic microwave background (CMB) have made another large discovery. The announcement of evidence for gravitational waves from the universe's inflationary epoch has a lot of people excited and was the talk of the week among particle physicists at Fermilab. It is truly impressive how much information has been extracted from the light that was generated 380,000 years after the big bang. For a particle physicist, the big question is, "What does it mean?"

By measuring the polarization of light from the CMB (a certain pattern of polarization called B-mode), we are learning about physics at energies of 1016 GeV. This value is a familiar one to particle physicists: It's the scale at which theories predict the grand unification of the four forces of physics.

Now physicists are discussing whether last week's discovery gives greater credibility to proton decay, a process predicted by some grand unified theories but never observed. The proposed LBNE experiment in South Dakota, which you have heard plenty about lately, will be able to search for proton decay in 35,000 tons of liquid argon, in addition to studying neutrino interactions.

The technique of measuring precisely the polarization from the CMB also leads to very tight constraints on the sum of the neutrino masses. This in itself is an important measurement and is strong motivation for making more precise measurements. Scientists also speculate that there may be additional types of neutrinos, called sterile neutrinos, which interact only through gravity or by mixing with other types of neutrinos. This is a topic being addressed by the soon-to-begin MicroBooNE neutrino program in the Booster beamline and two new proposals submitted to the laboratory's Physics Advisory Committee last January.

The motivation for searching for sterile neutrinos increased last week when four scientists published their latest results. The connection between the formation of the universe's structure and neutrino mass is a topic of significant interest in cosmology. Detailed calculations of the gravitational potentials in the early universe, and thus galaxy formation, are affected quite significantly depending on how greatly neutrinos contribute to the energy of the universe. This is due to the fact that neutrinos travel very quickly and do not deepen the "gravitational potential well" nearly as much as heavy, slow dark-matter particles.

While all this discussion was taking place, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope collaboration was meeting at Fermilab to discuss their plans for the construction of a superb telescope. It would carry out a massive galaxy survey, up to 10 billion galaxies, or about 10 percent of all galaxies in the observable universe, to help determine the location and properties of dark matter and dark energy.

On another front, the Dark Energy Survey, conducted in Chile, identified a new mini-planet on the outer limits of our solar system as it was scanning the sky.

It really was an exciting, cosmic week.

Construction Update

Walls come down, framing goes up

The wall that once separated the Wilson Hall atrium from the former One North conference room has come down, making way for the new remote experimental operations center. Photo: Steve Dixon, FESS

Pandecon Construction Inc. has completed the major demolition for the new remote experimental operations center, which is being built in the area previously occupied by the One North conference room. Work has shifted to the installation of the new ceiling framing, electrical modifications and HVAC ductwork.

The picture is taken from inside the future operations center and faces in the direction of the Wilson Hall atrium.

Steve Dixon


Today's New Announcements

Wednesday Walkers - begins April 2

Brown Bag Seminar: What's New in SharePoint 2013 for Contributors - April 2

Brown Bag Seminar: What's New in SharePoint 2013 for Site Owners and Designers - April 3

English country dancing with live music at Kuhn Barn - April 6

Interpersonal Communication Skills course - April 16

2014 Fermilab Golf League season is upon us

Abri Credit Union gives away two $1,000 scholarships

2014 FRA Scholarship applications due today

C2ST: The Real Science Behind Star Trek - April 2

LabVIEW seminars scheduled on April 10

MySQL relational database management course - April 22-23

Tour guides for Illini Alumni event - May 3

Supervisors needed for SIST interns

West bike rack area closed

Portions of west atrium stair closed for construction

On sale now: Fermilab Natural Areas hats and shirts

Active For Life Multilab Challenge

Walk 2 Run

Martial Arts

Indoor soccer

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings at Kuhn Barn

International folk dancing meets Thursday evenings at Kuhn Barn