Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015
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"Ask Me about Library Services" booth in atrium through Aug. 14

Yoga Mondays registration due Aug. 17

Muscle Toning registration due today

Women's Initiative: "Guiltless: Work/Life Balance" - Aug. 13

Nominations for Physics Slam 2015 due Aug. 17

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

Python Programming Basics is scheduled for Oct. 14-16

Python Programming Advanced - Dec. 9-11

Prescription safety eyewear

Fermi Singers invite all visiting students and staff

Outdoor soccer

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings in Ramsey Auditorium

International folk dancing Thursday evenings in Ramsey Auditorium


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Prototype of Mu2e solenoid passes tests with flying colors

This prototype represents one of 27 modules that will make up a critical section of the Mu2e experiment, the transport solenoid. Photo: Reidar Hahn

If you've ever looked at a graphic of Fermilab's future Mu2e experiment, you've likely noticed its distinctive, center s-shaped section. Tall and wide enough for a person to fit inside it, this large, curving series of magnets, called the transport solenoid, is perhaps the experiment's most technologically demanding piece to build.

Last month a group in the Fermilab Technical Division aced three tests — for alignment, current and temperature — of a prototype transport solenoid module built by magnet experts at Fermilab's Technical Division and INFN-Genoa in Italy.

The triple milestone means that Fermilab can now order the full set for production — 27 modules.

"The results were excellent," said Magnet Systems Department scientist Mau Lopes, who is leading the effort.

There's not much wiggle room when it comes to the transport solenoid, a crucial component for the ultrasensitive Mu2e experiment. Mu2e will look for a predicted but never observed phenomenon, the conversion of a muon into its much lighter, more familiar cousin, the electron, without the usual accompanying neutrinos. To do this, it will send muons into a detector where scientists will look for particular signatures of the rare process.

The transport solenoid generates a magnetic field that deftly separates muons based on their momentum and charge and directs slow muons to the center of the Mu2e detector. The maneuver requires some fairly precisely designed details, not the least of which is a good fit.

When put together, the 27 wedge-shaped modules will form a tube with the snake-like profile. Muons will travel down this vacuum tube. To guide them along the right path to the detector, the solenoid units must align with each other to within 0.2 degrees. The Magnet Systems team exceeded expectation: The prototype was aligned with 100 times greater precision.

The team achieved not just the right shape, but the right current. The electrical current running through the solenoid coil creates the magnetic field. The Mu2e team exceeded the nominal current of 1,730 amps, reaching 2,200 amps. As a bonus, while that amount of current has the potential to create a slight deformation in the module's shape, the Mu2e team measured no change in the structure.

Nor was there much change in the model's temperature, which must be very low. The team delivered 2.5 watts of power to the coil — well above what the coils will see when running. The module proved robust: The temperature changed by a mere whisker — 150 millikelvin, or 0.27 degrees Fahrenheit. The coils will be at 5 Kelvin when operating. The prototype sustained the nominal current at up to 8 Kelvin.

Fermilab has selected a vendor to produce the modules. Lopes expects that it will be two and a half years until all modules are complete.

"We thank all the smart people at INFN Genoa, the Fermilab Test and Instrumentation Department, the Magnet Systems Department and the Accelerator Division Cryogenics Department for this achievement," Lopes said. "These seven months of hard work have paid off tremendously. Our project continues at full steam ahead."

Leah Hesla

In Brief

Women's Initiative presents 'Guiltless: Work-Life Balance' - Thursday in One West

Carole Cowperthwaite-O'Hagan

The Fermilab Women's Initiative invites everyone to hear Carole Cowperthwaite-O'Hagan present "Guiltless: Work-Life Balance" on Thursday, Aug. 13, at 3 p.m. in One West.

Cowperthwaite-O'Hagan is gifted in the areas of organization, time management and building quality relationships. A recognized expert for her coaching work, she is also an author, popular speaker and trainer known for her engaging presentations and creative training style. She is a registered corporate coach and instructor for the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and a principal coach for Advantage Coaching & Training in West Chicago.

Photos of the Day

Queen Anne's lace: two views

Wilson Hall and Queen Anne's lace reach toward the sky. Photo: Prabhjot Singh, University of Delhi
This photo, taken during a prairie walk, shows ants marching across Queen Anne's lace. Photo: Stephanie Timpone, PPD
In the News

A good week for neutrinos: highest-power beam delivers oscillations, space delivers highest energy

From The Guardian, Aug. 9, 2015

I'm writing this in a coffee bar in Chicago. The 'windy city' seems quiet and still this morning and the coffee is surprisingly good. About 80 km to the west, at Fermilab, the highest-powered beam of neutrinos in the world is being produced, and fired through hundreds of kilometres of solid rock to impatiently waiting detectors, principally the new NOνA far detector.

The reason for my visit is the annual Boost meeting, more related to the Large Hadron Collider than to neutrinos. Fermilab hosted the previous highest-energy particle-collider, the Tevatron, and there is a big community of high-energy physicists in and around Chicago who now work on the LHC. Some of them are hosting us this week. But these days neutrinos are the focus of the accelerator programme down the road.

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In the News

How many scientists does it take to write a paper? Apparently, thousands

From The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 9, 2015

A Frenchman named Georges Aad may have the most prominent name in particle physics.

In less than a decade, Dr. Aad, who lives in Marseilles, France, has appeared as the lead author on 458 scientific papers. Nobody knows just how many scientists it may take to screw in a light bulb, but it took 5,154 researchers to write one physics paper earlier this year — likely a record — and Dr. Aad led the list.

His scientific renown is a tribute to alphabetical order.

Almost every paper by "G. Aad et al." involves so many researchers that they decided to always list themselves in alphabetical order. Their recent paper, published in the journal Physical Review Letters, features 24 pages of alphabetized co-authors led by Dr. Aad. There is no way to tell how important each contributor might be.

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