Wednesday, June 24, 2015
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Today's New Announcements

LISTSERV upgrade - June 25

Abri Credit Union celebrates the next generation - June 26

WalkingWorks week six winners

Hands-on: Evaluate CompactDAQ and LabVIEW for your application - June 25

Developing Monitoring and Control Systems with LabVIEW and CompactRIO hands-on seminar - June 25

Zumba Fitness registration due June 25

NALWO potluck picnic in Kuhn Barn - July 1

art/LArSoft course at Fermilab, free registration - Aug. 3-7

Wilson Hall annual abandoned bike removal

Wednesday Walkers

Preschool and youth swim lessons session 2

Outdoor soccer

Fermilab Board Game Guild

Scottish country dancing moves to auditorium, meets Tuesday evenings through summer

International folk dancing moves to auditorium, meets Thursday evenings through summer


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Director's Corner

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In Brief

DOE seeks your input on neutrino project at Fermilab - tonight at 6:30 p.m. in atrium

Learn about the possible environmental effects of the proposed LBNF/DUNE projects tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Wilson Hall atrium.

As announced earlier this month, tonight at Fermilab the Department of Energy will hear from interested citizens, including employees, to review and comment on the possible environmental effects of building and operating the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and the associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.

The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the Wilson Hall atrium.

DOE's Draft Environmental Assessment analyzes the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the proposed facility, and DOE has released the draft for public review and comment. The comment period on the document lasts through July 10. Tonight's meeting is being held to help everyone understand the document and start the comment process.

There are a number of ways you can comment, including:

  • At the meeting;
  • By U.S. mail: LBNF/DUNE Comments, U.S. Department of Energy (STS), Fermi Site Office, PO Box 2000, Batavia IL 60510;
  • Email; and
  • Online.

All comments, both oral and written, received during this period will be given equal consideration.

From symmetry

Mathematician to know: Emmy Noether

Noether's theorem is a thread woven into the fabric of the science. Image courtesy of Wikipedia; artwork: Sandbox Studio

We are able to understand the world because it is predictable. If we drop a rubber ball, it falls down rather than flying up. But more specifically, if we drop the same ball from the same height over and over again, we know it will hit the ground with the same speed every time (within vagaries of air currents). That repeatability is a huge part of what makes physics effective.

The repeatability of the ball experiment is an example of what physicists call "the law of conservation of energy." An equivalent way to put it is to say the force of gravity doesn't change in strength from moment to moment.

The connection between those ways of thinking is a simple example of a deep principle called Noether's theorem: Wherever a symmetry of nature exists, there is a conservation law attached to it, and vice versa. The theorem is named for arguably the greatest 20th century mathematician: Emmy Noether.

"Noether's theorem to me is as important a theorem in our understanding of the world as the Pythagorean theorem," says Fermilab physicist Christopher Hill, who wrote a book on the topic with Nobel laureate Leon Lederman.

So who was the mathematician behind Noether's theorem?

Read more

Matthew R. Francis

In the News

How gravity kills Schrödinger's cat

From Nature, June 17, 2015

If the cat in Erwin Schrödinger's famous thought-experiment behaved according to quantum theory, it would be able to exist in multiple states at once: both dead and alive. Physicists' common explanation for why we don't see such quantum superpositions — in cats or any other aspect of the everyday world — is interference from the environment. As soon as a quantum object interacts with a stray particle or a passing field, it picks just one state, collapsing into our classical, everyday view.

Read more

From the Office of General Counsel

Closer engagement with the laboratory: changes coming to the Office of General Counsel

John Myer

John Myer, general counsel, wrote this column.

The Office of General Counsel is undergoing a number of changes aimed at improving our service to Fermilab, and I want to take the occasion of my first Fermilab Today article to share some of these changes.

What's in a name?
You might have already noticed that we have a new name. Formerly the Legal Office, we are now the Office of General Counsel. We provide counsel to all parts of the laboratory on a variety of legal, regulatory and compliance matters, and our new name better reflects this broad role. As counselors (or "consiglieres," as we are often referred to by a certain member of Procurement), our value to the organization is not just the legal work (though, clearly, this is important); we also provide creative problem solving and critical analysis supporting the laboratory's most challenging projects from beginning to end.

Bloom where you are planted
Another change already under way is our move from the fourth to the second floor. This move will provide much needed space (reasons for which I will explain below) and will make us more accessible throughout the organization. Both are keys to fulfilling our mission to deliver world-class legal services, creative problem solving and counseling to America's premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory.

Early engagement and partnering
Over the next several months, the department will also see several important personnel changes and a realignment of how we interact with the laboratory at large. After nearly 20 years providing legal leadership at Fermilab, former General Counsel Gary Leonard will be retiring. I have benefited tremendously from Gary's presence since my arrival, and I know he will be missed by many of you. As Gary departs, we will add new attorneys and additional support personnel. And as new personnel arrive, the Office of General Counsel will realign to encourage more direct contact and involvement with each Fermilab department. The realignment, details of which will be announced in the coming months, is designed to help our office better serve Fermilab's mission by partnering with our clients at early stages of projects that are under way and in development.

All of these changes aim to foster better communication and earlier engagement between Fermilab's departmental units and the Office of General Counsel. To that end, I encourage you to stop by the second floor, email, or call, and introduce yourself. By all means, pass along your favorite lawyer joke or ask for one of mine. But make sure you call on us early and often.

Photo of the Day

Early detector technologies

Greg Derylo took this photo using a pinhole camera fashioned from an aluminum can and a sheet of photo paper. Mounted on a fence outside Lab B facing the Fermilab bubble chamber, the camera took a 13-week-long exposure that shows the sun's path every clear day over that period. Photo: Greg Derylo, PPD
Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, June 23

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ESH&Q Section, contains two incidents.

An employee reported a spider bite to the Medical Office after his arm became puffy and tender. This case is report-only.

An employee returning from travel experienced neck and back pain after sitting on a plane for seven hours. While retrieving her luggage, she experienced more back pain. This is a pending claim.

See the full report.