Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014

Have a safe day!

Tuesday, Nov. 4

9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
BSM Higgs Workshop at LPC 2014 - One West

3:30 p.m.
Director's Coffee Break - WH2XO

4 p.m.
Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar (NOTE LOCATION) - Curia II
Speaker: Daniel Noll, Goethe University
Title: The Particle-in-Cell Code Bender and Its Application to Nonrelativistic Beam Transport

Wednesday, Nov. 5

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
BSM Higgs Workshop at LPC 2014 - One West

10 a.m.
All-Hands Meeting - Ramsey Auditorium

3:30 p.m.
Director's Coffee Break - WH2XO

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Christophe Grojean, ICREA/IFAE, Barcelona
Title: Quo Vadis Higgs?

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Tuesday, Nov. 4

- Breakfast: All-American breakfast
- Breakfast: bacon, egg and cheese bagel
- Chicken fajita sandwich
- Stir-fried pork and cabbage
- Beef empanadas
- Rachel melt
- Chicken carbonara
- Corn chowder
- Chef's choice soup
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Nov. 5
- Marinated flank steak
- Parmesan orzo
- Sauteed Brussels sprouts
- Lemon blueberry cake

Friday, Nov. 7
- French onion soup
- Filet mignon with horseradish cream sauce
- Roasted new potatoes
- Broccoli puree
- Chocolate souffle

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Graduate students dig into neutrino-nucleus interactions at Fermilab

At the recent NuSTEC training at Fermilab, graduate students learn all about the subtleties of neutrino-nucleus interactions. Photo: Reidar Hahn

What happens when a neutrino strikes a complex nucleus?

The answer is far from straightforward, even for particle physicists. It's also critical for carrying out neutrino experiments. That's why MINERvA scientist Jorge Morfin of Fermilab proposed a special course for graduate students and postdocs to learn the nuts, bolts and subtleties of interactions between neutrinos and a nucleus made up of multiple protons and neutrons. Culminating months of organizing committee effort, the nine-day NuSTEC Training in Neutrino-Nucleus Scattering Physics, held at Fermilab, concluded on Wednesday.

"The concept of NuSTEC is to bring theorists and experimentalists from the nuclear and high-energy physics communities together to understand what's happening with neutrino-nucleus interactions," said Morfin, NuSTEC coordinator. "One of our first collaborative efforts was this NuSTEC training program."

Thanks to outstanding lecturers, it was a success. Eighty-five students, primarily experimentalists, gathered from around the world to learn how to parse these complicated interactions from theoretical nuclear physicists. Each day's talks were followed by an evening Q&A recitation session and a social hour where students continued to fire off questions to the instructors over food and drink.

The topic of neutrino-nucleus interactions, Morfin said, is specialized enough that students seldom learn about it in school but important enough that it merited a dedicated course.

"It's a good mixture of theorists and experimentalists. Having them all in one place means you get different perspectives that you wouldn't get from a straight lecture," said Sam Short of Queen Mary University of London. "There are loads of people to ask questions of."

And there are good reasons to ask the questions. As the world's neutrino oscillation experiments ramp up the number of neutrinos in their beams and build more sensitive detectors, scientists will be able to collect more and more precise data, reducing statistical errors. Understanding how neutrinos interact with the nuclei in the detector material will help further reduce errors and lead to neutrino oscillation measurements of unprecedented precision.

That kind of precision is crucial for a project such as the proposed Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility hosted by Fermilab, where neutrino oscillation effects are to be measured to order percent accuracy.

"If you go to a conference, you only see the science results, but here they show you how the detectors come into play," said Tom Van Cuyck, a theoretical physics student at the University of Ghent in Belgium. "It's interesting to learn something beyond your field."

The training received monetary support from DOE, NSF, Fermilab, Jefferson Lab and the Center for Neutrino Physics at Virginia Tech University.

Leah Hesla

Photos of the Day

Changing seasons

These mild fall days make for lovely times to go for a walk. Photo: Patrick Sheahan, AD
The leaves in Big Woods turn bright yellow early last month. Photo: Sue Quarto, FESS
The woods on Pine Street near the Lederman Science Center are peaceful in fall. Photo: Dan Munger, AD
From the Deputy Director

Viva Italia

Joe Lykken

Last month I attended a celebration of the 450th anniversary of the birth of Galileo, co-hosted by the Italian Embassy in Washington. The keynote speaker was Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, the former Director General of CERN, who was recently appointed senatore a vita by the President of Italy.

Hearing one giant of physics describe the achievements of an even bigger giant got me thinking about Galileo's legacy to modern physics. Galileo understood that mathematics, theories, experiments and experimental tools are all part of the same package. Rather than argue Aristotelian philosophy for another millennium, Galileo knew that systematic observations of the phases of Venus could conclusively rule out the Ptolemaic system, with no ifs, ands or buts. This test required a high-tech experimental tool — the telescope — known to Galileo only by second-hand rumors. So he painstakingly built and refined his own telescopes, about a hundred in all, several of which I have seen in the Museo Galileo in Florence. With the right tool in hand, he turned it to the sky to see what he could see. The rest, as they say, is history.

Another Italian physicist, Enrico Fermi, carried the Galilean style of physics into the modern era. A brilliant theorist, Fermi wrote a paper in 1933 that explained the phenomenon of nuclear beta decay in terms of a new weak interaction involving an as yet unseen particle that he called a neutrino. He submitted his revolutionary paper to the prestigious journal Nature, where it was promptly rejected for containing "speculations too remote from reality." Undeterred, Fermi began to broaden his horizons to include experiment. By 1938 he had a Nobel in his pocket for experiments with slow neutrons, inducing what we now know to be nuclear fission. By 1942, Fermi was in Chicago, designing and overseeing construction of the first nuclear reactor.

Fittingly enough, Fermilab has a long and proud history of contributions from Italian physicists. Giorgio Bellettini brought Italian groups into the CDF collaboration in 1980, stayed on to lead one of the top quark discovery analyses and still organizes the successful summer program that brings Italian students to Fermilab. Recently Ornella Palamara and Flavio Cavanna arrived here to lead parts of our liquid-argon neutrino program, and Professor Rubbia himself is preparing to bring the ICARUS detector to Fermilab after a major revamping at CERN. Viva Italia!

In the News

Sticking with SUSY

From Physics World, October 2014

As a theorist, I keep a "bucket list" of the phenomena I would most like to see observed in nature before I am shuffled off this mortal coil. Not long ago, my bucket list looked like this:

  • a Higgs boson;
  • gravitational waves;
  • superpartner particles;
  • direct evidence supporting superstring/M-theory.

The discovery of a Higgs boson in experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was, of course, the joyous fulfilment of the first item on my list. Recently, it seemed I might be able to cross gravitational waves off as well, when scientists in the BICEP2 collaboration reported observing the imprint of these waves in the cosmic microwave background. Since then, a few flies have appeared in the stew, so to speak, but I would still be surprised if we do not see evidence of gravitational waves within a decade. As for evidence supporting string theory, in my view this is not as unlikely as some critics have argued, but I accept that it is far more of a long shot.

Read more


Today's New Announcements

Nature of the Laws of Nature discussion - Nov. 6

Yoga Mondays - register by Nov. 10

Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing - Dec. 1-5 (afternoon only)

Retrospective ebook on superconductivity available

Broomball open league

Sitewide power outage for substation test - today

Silk and Thistle Scottish dancing celebrates 20 years - today

English country dancing - Nov. 9

Computer Security Awareness Day 2014 - Nov. 11

Access 2010: Advanced - Nov. 12

Wilson Fellowship accepting applications through Nov. 14

Ramsey Auditorium horseshoe road closure

UChicago Tuition Remission Program deadline - Nov. 24

Excel 2010: Advanced - Dec. 3

NALWO Playgroup meets Wednesdays at Users Center

Scottish country dance Tuesdays at Kuhn Barn

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn

Indoor soccer

Hollywood Palms Employee Appreciation Day