Monday, July 21, 2014

Have a safe day!

Monday, July 21


3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Special Topic: ESNet ReadyTalk Developments

Tuesday, July 22

Undergraduate Lecture Series (NOTE LOCATION) - Curia II
Speaker: Brian Nord, Fermilab
Title: Cosmic Acceleration

3 p.m.
LHC Physics Center Topic of the Week Seminar - WH11NE
Speaker: Matthew Reece, Harvard University
Title: Natural SUSY's Last Hiding Places

3:30 p.m.


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Monday, July 21

- Breakfast: eggs benedict
- Breakfast: sausage, egg and cheese croissant
- Sloppy joe
- Smart cuisine: teriyaki pork stir fry
- Chicken curry
- Oven-roasted veggie wrap
- Taco salad
- Vegetarian cream of spinach
- Texas-style chili
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, July 23
- Greek meatballs with feta yogurt dressing
- Lemon couscous
- Baklava

Friday, July 25
- Spinach and blue cheese souffle
- Filet mignon with cabernet sauce
- Golden mashed potatoes with fried onions and bacon
- Broccoli
- Coffee creme brulee

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Prototype CT scanner could improve targeting accuracy in proton therapy treatment

Members of the prototype proton CT scanner collaboration move the detector into the CDH Proton Center in Warrenville. Photo: Reidar Hahn

A prototype proton CT scanner developed by Fermilab and Northern Illinois University could someday reduce the amount of radiation delivered to healthy tissue in a patient undergoing cancer treatment.

The proton CT scanner would better target radiation doses to the cancerous tumors during proton therapy treatment. Physicists recently started testing with beam at the CDH Proton Center in Warrenville.

To create a custom treatment plan for each proton therapy patient, radiation oncologists currently use X-ray CT scanners to develop 3-D images of patient anatomy, including the tumor, to determine the size, shape and density of all organs and tissues in the body. To make sure all the tumor cells are irradiated to the prescribed dose, doctors often set the targeting volume to include a minimal amount of healthy tissue just outside the tumor.

Collaborators believe that the prototype proton CT, which is essentially a particle detector, will provide a more precise 3-D map of the patient anatomy. This allows doctors to more precisely target beam delivery, reducing the amount of radiation to healthy tissue during the CT process and treatment.

"The dose to the patient with this method would be lower than using X-ray CTs while getting better precision on the imaging," said Fermilab's Peter Wilson, PPD associate head for engineering and support.

Fermilab became involved in the project in 2011 at the request of NIU's high-energy physics team because of the laboratory's detector building expertise.

The project's goal was a tall order, Wilson explained. The group wanted to build a prototype device, imaging software and computing system that could collect data from 1 billion protons in less than 10 minutes and then produce a 3-D reconstructed image of a human head, also in less than 10 minutes. To do that, they needed to create a device that could read data very quickly, since every second data from 2 million protons would be sent from the device — which detects only one proton at a time — to a computer.

NIU physicist Victor Rykalin recommended building a scintillating fiber tracker detector with silicon photomultipliers. A similar detector was used in the DZero experiment.

"The new prototype CT is a good example of the technical expertise of our staff in detector technology. Their expertise goes back 35 to 45 years and is really what makes it possible for us to do this," Wilson said.

In the prototype CT, protons pass through two tracking stations, which track the particles' trajectories in three dimensions. (See figure below.) The protons then pass through the patient and finally through two more tracking stations before stopping in the energy detector, which is used to calculate the total energy loss through the patient. Devices called silicon photomultipliers pick up signals from the light resulting from these interactions and subsequently transmit electronic signals to a data acquisition system.

Scientists use specialized software and a high-performance computer at NIU to accurately map the proton stopping powers in each cubic millimeter of the patient. From this map, visually displayed as conventional CT slices, the physician can outline the margins, dimensions and location of the tumor.

Elements of the prototype were developed at both NIU and Fermilab and then put together at Fermilab. NIU developed the software and computing systems. The teams at Fermilab worked on the design and construction of the tracker and the electronics to read the tracker and energy measurement. The scintillator plates, fibers and trackers were also prepared at Fermilab. A group of about eight NIU students, led by NIU's Vishnu Zutshi, helped build the detector at Fermilab.

"A project like this requires collaboration across multiple areas of expertise," said George Coutrakon, medical physicist and co-investigator for the project at NIU. "We've built on others' previous work, and in that sense, the collaboration extends beyond NIU and Fermilab."

Rhianna Wisniewski

In the prototype proton CT scanner, protons enter from the left, passing through planes of fibers and the patient's head. Data from the protons' trajectories, including the energy deposited in the patient, is collected in a data acquisition system (right), which is then used to map the patient's tissue. Image courtesy of George Coutrakon, NIU
Tip of the Week:
Ecology and Environment

Where the wild things are

Liz Copeland, Fermilab Natural Areas volunteer wildlife monitor, poses with a bullfrog. Photo: Ryan Campbell, FESS

As Fermilab's site ecologist, it is part of my job to know which plants and animals are here and where on site they live. Lately, our focus has been on reptiles and amphibians. Not only does having this data help mitigate environmental impacts during project construction and day-to-day operations, but it helps tell a greater story about the habitat and heritage of the Fermilab landscape within the greater Chicago region.

We regularly collaborate with members of the Chicago Wilderness Alliance to better understand how land management methods and ecological monitoring at Fermilab can meet some of the most important conservation goals for Midwestern ecosystems. Some monitoring efforts at Fermilab have been longstanding, such as the extensive bird survey project that began in 1987, while others are more recent.

This past spring we completed extensive trapping and netting across a swath of wetlands and woodland ponds looking for frogs, toads, snakes, turtles, salamanders and newts. The last time this was done was in 1989. The results, which pointed to a healthy and diverse animal population, were encouraging, but we did not find anything unusual. We were able to strengthen our distribution data for many known species across the site, but questions remain for other rare or secretive species. For example, the state-endangered Blanding's turtle was once regularly observed on the east side of site but has not been recorded since the year 2000. Is it gone or have we just not gone looking?

Well, we need your help. Fermilab Natural Areas has provided volunteer monitors, but there are many more that read Fermilab Today than join us for our forays. Perhaps in your travels of the Fermilab site you have taken a photo of a snake basking on the road or have seen an unusual-looking turtle or even heard a strange-calling frog. We want to know about it. Learn more about our target species of interest and email me your photos or observations. Or get involved with Fermilab Natural Areas' volunteer program. You never know — your sightings may help us in our ecological frontier of discovery.

Special thanks go to Tom Anton and Tristan Schramer for helping survey and compile species photos and information.

Ryan Campbell

Photo of the Day

Monarch caterpillar

This adult monarch caterpillar, probably about one day from going into its chrysalis and turning into a butterfly, was spotted along Eola Road. It was roughly 2 inches long and as big around as a pencil. Photo: Greg Cisko, CCD
Special Announcement

Today is an Air Pollution Action Day

The Partners for Clean Air and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency have issued an Air Pollution Action Day notice for Monday, July 21. Check for updates and tips on reducing air pollution.

In the News

Synopsis: Top quark mass gets an update

From Physics, July 17, 2014

Researchers at Fermilab are reporting a new value for the mass of the top quark, the heaviest of the six known quarks. As described in Physical Review Letters, the top quark has a mass of 174.98 gigaelectronvolts (GeV) and a total uncertainty of 0.43 percent, the most precise reported value based on a single measurement. Determining the top quark mass is considered one of the best tests of the standard model of particle physics, so even small refinements in its measured value can be used to constrain or rule out theories of new physics.

Read more


Fermilab prairie plant survey - July 23, Aug. 9

Call for applications: URA Visiting Scholars Program - apply by Aug. 25

FermiWorks for managers with direct reports

Fermilab Tango Club

Scottish country dancing Tuesday evenings in Ramsey Auditorium

International folk dancing Thursday evenings in Ramsey Auditorium

Outdoor soccer

Fermi Days at Six Flags Great America

Employee Appreciation Day at Hollywood Palms Cinema