Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015
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Today's New Announcements

Fermi Society of Philosophy "Posthumous Interview of Karl Popper" - Sept. 10

Back Pain and Spine Surgery Prevention Lunch and Learn - Sept. 24

English country dancing in Kuhn Barn - Sept. 27

Fermilab Chess Club seeking new players

Lecture: "The Life of a Honeybee" today

Honest Abs class registration due today

September AEM meeting date change to Sept. 14

Fermilab Lecture Series: Visualizing the Future of Biomedicine - Sept. 18

Fermilab Arts Series: 10,000 Maniacs - Sept. 26

Workshop on Future Linear Colliders - register by Sept. 28

Python Programming Basics scheduled for Oct. 14, 15, 16

Interpersonal Communication Skills scheduled Oct. 20

Managing Conflict (morning only) scheduled for Nov. 4

Python Programming Advanced on Dec. 9, 10, 11

Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) end of life - Dec. 14

Fermilab Prairie Plant Survey

Fermilab Board Game Guild

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn

Scottish country dancing moves to Kuhn Barn Tuesdays evenings after Labor Day

International folk dancing returns to Kuhn Barn Thursday evenings after Labor Day


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From symmetry

Scientists below the surface

How do you get to work when your office is a clean room a mile below ground? Image: ATLAS collaboration

Getting into the Majorana Demonstrator clean room is an adventure. Unless you have to do it every day for work, in which case, it's probably a chore.

It all starts in Lead, South Dakota, a town once built around and seemingly forever linked to the underground. It's 10 miles from Sturgis, which celebrated its 75th annual motorcycle rally in August by welcoming almost 1 million bikers. It's three miles from Deadwood, the 1870s, Wild West version of which is the setting for the eponymous HBO show (though it's filmed in California).

Lead, pronounced so that it rhymes with reed and not red, is home to a former goldmine turned science lab. A mile below the surface, it hosts an immaculate clean room where scientists are assembling a detector to find what could be one of the rarest processes in nature, if it occurs at all. Their laboratory is 3,230 square feet of scrubbed floor and filtered air, filled with glove boxes, a chemistry lab, hand-machined parts and a big shield made of lead bricks that looked like a pizza oven before it was wrapped in a few additional layers of insulation.

Read more

Lauren Biron


Roger Nehring retires after more than 30 years at Fermilab

Roger Nehring

When Roger Nehring came to Fermilab in 1978, he started as a lab technician, conducting basic electronics tasks such as soldering circuit boards. Then he took on increasingly ambitious tasks and greater responsibility, advancing to an engineer associate, his current position. Now after 30-plus years and many a project well done, he is retiring. His last day is Sept. 10.

A Technical Division employee, Nehring works primarily in electronics. As he gained familiarity with the field, building and testing signal cables, he moved into designing both printed circuit boards and complete test systems. One of the highlights of his early career was designing an analog quench detection circuit in 1986 for testing magnets intended for the Superconducting Super Collider. These modules were so reliable and easy to use that people still use them as backups today, more than 25 years later, even though the current state of electronics has advanced well past the design.

More recently Nehring has worked with design teams to write software code for controlling complex machines such as the cavity tuning machine, Selva coil winding machine, and quench detection for both the MICE coupling coil solenoid and Mu2e transfer solenoid tests.

After he leaves the lab, Nehring will have time to do more boating, fishing, hunting and target shooting.

"Being born and raised in northern Wisconsin, I've always been an outdoorsman," he said. "My wife and I plan to move to Florida to a large boating community and, like typical snow birds, will retreat to Wisconsin in the summer."

Say goodbye to Nehring over coffee and cake in Industrial Building 1 on Thursday, Sept. 10, from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

In the News

Has Stephen Hawking solved the mystery of black holes?

From CNN, Sept. 4, 2015

Black holes have a way of capturing our imagination. That's why when Stephen Hawking recently talked about them the media went wild.

But what was he really saying? Was it a breakthrough moment?

At the Hawking Radiation Conference organized by Laura Mersini-Houghton, a professor of physics at the University of North Carolina, 32 eminent physicists gathered to discuss outstanding issues involved with apparent contradictions in our current understanding of the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. The convergence of the two take us to the inner workings of black holes.

Read more

From the CIO

Raising the bar for cybersecurity

Rob Roser

Rob Roser, chief information officer, wrote this column.

The game of cybersecurity is changing. No longer are threats strictly from those looking to mine passwords and credit card numbers for financial gain. In this new order, cyber espionage is being undertaken to gather intelligence of all types. The recent security-related events plaguing the federal government are powerful examples of this.

We at Fermilab must raise our game if we are to keep our information safe and secure in this new environment. However, we must do this within the context of our overall mission to provide an open scientific network enabling Fermilab collaborators from around the world to use our data. In the coming months, you'll start to learn more about some changes in Fermilab cybersecurity. I summarize them briefly here.

First, we will separate our scientific network from the network used for nonscientific Internet traffic and our business network. Once they are separated, we can closely monitor the nonscientific and business traffic while allowing the large scientific data movement to proceed unobstructed. This will occur behind the scenes and should be largely undetected by the community.

Second, we are taking additional steps to ensure that content running on Fermilab websites is secure. Consequently, computing staff is reaching out to individuals who are running Web servers not hosted on the central Web service, including those running on nonstandard ports. The goal of this project is to turn off sites that are no longer used; move the bulk of the remaining sites onto the centrally managed systems; and increase monitoring of those yet remaining that have special requirements beyond what the central Web hosting can accommodate and that are still needed to satisfy a specific business requirement.

Finally, we will be moving to what is known as multifactor authentication (MFA), first for privileged users (system administrator types) and later to all users. This will affect individuals who work with sensitive data or require certain privileges. MFA is being mandated across the federal space, including the 17 national laboratories. How we satisfy this evolving requirement is still in discussion with DOE.

The bottom line is that, as a result of recent events, the bar has been raised for cybersecurity. Cyber espionage is being employed in countries around the world using a level of sophistication and tools not seen before. Fermilab must respond to protect our information and be proper custodians of the data we have been entrusted with. At the same time, we will try to do this in a way that minimizes the inconvenience and safeguards our scientific mission.

Photo of the Day

Branching out

nature, animals, birds, silhouette, hawk, blackbird
A red-winged blackbird (left) and red-tailed hawk take in the view from bare branches. Photo: Bridget Scerini, TD
Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, Sept. 7

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

An employee reported to the Medical Office with eye irritation. An abrasion on his cornea was observed. He was sent to an eye clinic, and the doctor prescribed antibiotic drops, making the case reportable.

An employee was given first aid after a thermal expansion tank hit his knee when it was dropped. This is a pending claim.

An employee noticed an odor in his office area that made him cough. His symptoms improved when he went on vacation. This is a pending claim.

A piece of metal, approximately 8 inches by 8 inches, fell onto an employee's right forearm after a keyboard tray was removed. The employee received first-aid treatment. This is a pending claim.

The head injury previously reported in the Aug. 18 handout resulted in a concussion. Fermilab learned of the concussion on Sept. 2. This is a signifigance category 3 ORPS.

See the full report.