Wednesday, July 29, 2015
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Fermi Singers invite all visiting students and staff

Outdoor soccer

Linux at Fermilab quarterly meeting - today

Book discussion - Mindset: The New Psychology of Success - July 30

Deadline for the University of Chicago tuition remission program - Aug. 18

Call for proposals: URA Visiting Scholars Program - deadline is Aug. 31

Prescription safety eyewear

Fermilab bicycle commuters Web page has moved

Fermilab prairie plant survey

Users Center entrance repair on Sauk Blvd in the Village

Pool memberships on sale

Fermilab Board Game Guild

Fermilab Softball League

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings in Ramsey Auditorium

International folk dancing Thursday evenings in Ramsey Auditorium

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn

Bristol Renaissance Faire employee discount

Raging Waves Waterpark employee discount


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In Brief

All-Office-of-the-COO meeting today at 10 a.m. in auditorium

Tim Meyer will hold an all-Office-of-the-COO meeting today from 10 to 11 a.m. in Ramsey Auditorium.

Please plan to attend if you are a staff member in FESS, WDRS, Office of the General Counsel, Office of Communication, Office of Campus Strategy and Readiness, Office of Integrated Planning and Performance Management, Office of Partnerships and Technology Transfer or IARC.


QuarkNet students launch 8-foot radio telescope

This group is building an 8-foot radio telescope as part of the QuarkNet program at Fermilab. From left: Edward Dijak (PPD), Chris Stoughton (PPD), Saniya Qadir (Wheaton North HS), Jake Johanik (home school), Maciej Mleczko (Wheaton Warrenville South High School) and George Dzuricsko (WDRS). Not pictured: Ben Sawyer (teacher at Wheaton Academy) and Albert Stebbins (PPD). Photo: Lauren Craig, WDRS

"I've figured it out, we can do it!"

Jake Johanik's excitement is directed to the QuarkNet Radio Telescope Group upon locating, after much research, a possible antenna for the radio telescope project.

The QuarkNet Radio Telescope, or QRT, is an 8-foot telescope that currently stands on the rocky grounds of DZero's outback building. Under the guidance of Fermilab scientist Chris Stoughton, three of us are building the QRT as part of the Fermilab-University of Chicago QuarkNet research program. Johanik, Maciej Mleczko and I — all high school students — plan to use the telescope to map celestial objects and measure the rotation of our Milky Way galaxy.

Our immediate goal for this six-week project is to see the 21-centimeter hydrogen line — a signal that we've successfully detected the neutral hydrogen that makes up cold interstellar gases. Our grander aim is create a hands-on manual for high school teachers to provide instructions on both building the radio telescope and interpreting the data. We hope that teachers can then easily implement radio telescopes at their high schools, helping to build a network of people gathering data from radio telescopes to make even stronger measurements of our universe.

"I think this project could grow," said Fermilab scientist Albert Stebbins, who assisted us. "We can use a network of the radio telescopes to look for radio transients. The specific 21-centimeter line is just the first stage."

The 21-centimeter line would appear as a signal in our plot, one that arises from the shift of an electron in a hydrogen atom dropping to a lower energy level.

"We would also like to see the Doppler shift from the Milky Way," Johanik said. The Doppler shift shows us if a galaxy or star is moving toward or away from us.

The QRT is mounted on an aluminum stand and a 3-foot-long cement block. A parabolic dish concentrates the incoming radio waves onto an antenna, which sends the signal to an amplifier. The amplified signal is then processed to a computer on site and analyzed.

We began collecting data from the radio telescope last week. The data will be saved onto a file for easy access off site.

Mleczko said that one of the best parts about QuarkNet is giving students and teachers a chance to work together as colleagues and making progress together.

The QRT will be permanently installed outside the Lederman Science Center. It may even support the very kind of research scientists conduct at Fermilab.

"There could be long-term connections to the 21-centimeter research. From a cosmological point of view, a 21-centimeter survey could be a probe to dark energy and dark matter," Stoughton said. "Just some food for thought!"

Saniya Qadir, Wheaton North High School

In the News

LHC keeps bruising 'difficult to kill' supersymmetry

From Discovery, July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

New data from ultra high-speed proton collisions at Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) showed an exotic particle dubbed the "beauty quark" behaves as predicted by the Standard Model, said a paper in the journal Nature Physics.

Previous attempts at measuring the beauty quark's rare transformation into a so-called "up quark" had yielded conflicting results. That prompted scientists to propose an explanation beyond the Standard Model — possibly supersymmetry.

Read more

From the Office of Project Support Services

The reviews are in ...

Marc Kaducak

Marc Kaducak, head of the Office of Project Support Services, wrote this column.

I was recently asked about what goes on behind the scenes to organize a large project review. Although it pales in comparison to the work the project must do to prepare, organizing a review is a small project in itself. It requires defining the purpose and scope of the review, arranging the logistics and assembling the committee. We also try to help the projects prepare based on our experience in the roles of reviewer, reviewee and organizer.

Much of the logistic organization is handled by Lisa Temple, who works with each project to complete a long checklist involving travel, document preparation, IT support, websites, room reservations, agendas, announcements, photos and of course food. My high school Latin teacher used to say "there's no accounting for taste." Project reviews usually spend lots of time on accounting issues, so I figure if the food is a hot topic then the review is going pretty well.

Assembling the right review committee is a challenge. The makeup of each committee is based on the project scope and the review charge. Committees are diverse with experts in project accounting, scheduling, management, procurement, safety and any number of technical areas such as accelerators, detectors, civil construction and cryogenics.

There are a few hard rules, some guidelines and many unwritten expectations for each review, but ultimately the outcome is determined by the general impressions of the committee. They need to be chosen carefully, since they have the difficult task of making judgments and providing meaningful feedback in the space of a few days. OPSS maintains a database of past reviewers that can serve as a starting point, but usually the process of identifying reviewers involves a lot of networking and brainstorming. Reviewers often have demanding day jobs and limited availability, so once a list is created, we must prepare for the disappointment of having many of the invitees decline. The just reward for those that decline is a request to recommend someone else. And so on. Despite our best intentions, sometimes we are really sweating it out until the last minute.

Working on reviews has kept us busy lately. In June and July there were reviews of SLI-UUP, Muon g-2, PIP-II and three of LBNF/DUNE, which indicates that our projects are moving forward. Our hope is that all the behind-the-scenes work remains there so the spotlight remains on the projects where it belongs.

Photo of the Day

MicroBooNE photomultiplier

This is a mechanical model of one of the 32 photomultiplier tubes that are strung along the interior walls of the MicroBooNE detector. When a neutrino collides with an argon nucleus in the MicroBooNE detector, the resulting charged particles excite the argon to produce photons. The photons will travel to a photomultiplier tube such as the one pictured. As the name suggests, a photomultiplier amplifies the light signal, and the signal is then read out by a computer. The data from the photons give information about the location and energy of the original neutrino interaction. Photo: Reidar Hahn
From symmetry

W bosons remain left-handed

A new result from the LHCb collaboration weakens previous hints at the existence of a new type of W boson. Photo: CERN

A measurement released [on Monday] by the LHCb collaboration dumped some cold water on previous results that suggested an expanded cast of characters mediating the weak force.

Read more

Sarah Charley

Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, July 28

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

A construction contractor fell walking across rebar and caught himself with his left arm. This resulted in a fracture to his left arm. This case is recordable and an ORPS.

See the full report.