Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015
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Weather at Fermilab


Employee Art Show reception - Sept. 23

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

Wilson Hall southwest elevator offline through Sept. 26

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

English country dancing in Kuhn Barn - Sept. 27

Workshop on Future Linear Colliders - register by Sept. 28

NALWO evening social - Oct. 7

Access 2013: Level 2 / Intermediate - Oct. 7

Excel 2013: Level 2 / Intermediate - Oct. 8

Process Piping Design; Process Piping, Material, Fabrication, Examination, Testing - Oct. 13, 14, 15, 16

Python Programming Basics - Oct. 14, 15, 16

Interpersonal Communication Skills - Oct. 20

Managing Conflict (morning only) - Nov. 4

PowerPoint 2013: Introduction / Intermediate - Dec. 3

Python Programming Advanced - Dec. 9, 10, 11

Internet Explorer upgrade

OS X El Capitan (10.11) not yet certified for Fermilab use

Professional and Organization Development 2015-16 fall/winter course schedule

Fermilab Board Game Guild

Scottish country dancing moves to Kuhn Barn Tuesdays evenings

International folk dancing returns to Kuhn Barn Thursday evenings

Norris Recreation Center employee discount

Outdoor soccer


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One minute with Sandra Biedron, electrical engineer

Fermilab user Sandra Biedron cooks up a storm for work friends and colleagues in her historical home in Chicago's Beverly Hills neighborhood. She claims that dinner tables are where work gets done. Photo courtesy of Sandra Biedron

How long have you been at Fermilab?
I got my original Fermilab badge in 1997 and have been a user here for 18 years. I'm a Chicago native and long-time collaborator with Fermilab and Argonne. I worked at Argonne from 1993 to 2011.

What does your typical day at Fermilab look like?
It's totally crazy because I have so much to do when visiting. I do a lot of different things, from attending meetings to writing proposals. I participate in technical meetings and technical planning. I was an elected member of the Users Executive Committee from 2013 to 2015, adding to my daily routine at Fermilab. I'm also a professor of electrical engineering at Colorado State University, so I mentor my students stationed at Fermilab.

What kind of projects do you work on here?
I worked on a previous Fermilab experiment called HyperCP. Since starting at Colorado State, I have been working on controls, accelerator designs, PXIE and most recently on the horns — all with my students.

What do you love about working at Fermilab?
The camaraderie. I've had so many wonderful moments with the people here I can't even think of just one. Every day is special here. This is my science and engineering family.

You own a house on a home tour in Chicago. How'd that happen?
I'm a really task-oriented person. In national laboratories, and in science in general, we usually do things on the longer term, and it's nice to have shorter-term projects outside the lab and the university. It keeps me centered. I really like preservation of old houses. I had the opportunity to buy the home of a famous artist in Chicago who recently passed away, the Ingersoll-Blackwelder House. I'm in the process of rehabbing it right now. It was part of the Beverly Hills-Morgan Park Home Tour in May.

What is something people might not know about you?
There are a couple of things. I love to cook for family and friends. Also, I might seem really outgoing, but it's actually hard for me to let people in. Being at a place like Fermilab makes that easier though. It's a place where you can rely on the people and they know what you are thinking. We are somehow all of (almost) the same mold. Somebody couldn't ask for better friends.

Chris Patrick

Photo of the Day

Wilson Hall at night

nature, night, building, Wilson Hall
Wilson Hall is fetching at night. Photo: Elliott McCrory, AD
In the News

DESI, an ambitious probe of dark energy, achieves its next major milestone

From Berkeley Lab, Sept. 21, 2015

Editor's note: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory manages the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, which will create a 3-D map of the northern sky. Fermilab, a collaborating partner on DESI, is capitalizing on its previous experience building the Dark Energy Survey Camera by designing for DESI the barrel that holds the lenses, packaging and testing its CCDs, and creating an online database that will be used to monitor the DESI performance.

DESI, the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, is an exceptional apparatus designed to improve our understanding of the role of dark energy in the expansion history of the universe; it will do this by measuring the redshifts of more than 30 million galaxies and quasars, with unprecedented precision. The U.S. Department of Energy has announced its approval of Critical Decision 2 (CD–2), authorizing the project's scientific scope, schedule, and funding profile.

Two hundred physicists and astronomers make up the international DESI Collaboration, which is based at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Using DESI's redshift data they will create a three-dimensional map of the universe reaching deeper in space and time than any yet made. The map will reveal how dark energy and gravity have competed over time to shape the structure of the universe — both the regular clustering of galaxies and dark matter on the largest scales, and the idiosyncratic motion of individual galaxies.

Read more

Frontier Science Result: CDMS

The lightness of dark matter

This figure shows the new CDMSlite result (black solid line with salmon-shaded band), compared with some other recent results on low-mass dark matter. The curves indicate that dark matter WIMPS were not found with masses and interactions with normal matter above and to the right of the curves. The shaded regions show areas where there have been experimental hints of a dark matter signal; these are mostly ruled out by this result and others.

Astronomical observations have established the existence of dark matter in the universe, including our own galaxy. However, as yet there is little understanding of the nature of this dark matter. Many particle physics theories predict the existence of weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) that could constitute dark matter, but these particles have proven elusive.

Experiments such as the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS) try to directly detect dark matter particles by searching for the rare interaction of such particles with those that make up normal matter, particularly with atomic nuclei. These experiments must be carefully designed to separate such interactions from the vastly more numerous backgrounds due to normal-matter particles interacting with each other.

Recent theories have postulated the existence of low-mass WIMPs, or "light dark matter." The interaction of a light WIMP with a nucleus would be like a ping-pong ball hitting a billiard ball: The latter would barely move. Thus experiments to search for light WIMPS must be sensitive to extremely small energy deposits.

CDMS experimenters have recently refined their experimental technique, called CDMSlite, to be even more sensitive than before to low-energy scatters. The main improvement was a deeper understanding of where normal matter backgrounds would appear in the CDMSlite germanium detector and the development of a way to eliminate those regions from the search. Additional improvements came from better operating stability, improved rejection of electronic and vibrational noise, and extensive calibration to understand the energy response of the detector.

Alas, no WIMP signal is yet visible in the data. But the experiment has considerably narrowed the region where light WIMPS might be hiding. The top figure shows the new territory explored with this result.

This is by no means the end of the story. The collaboration is designing a new experiment, SuperCDMS SNOLAB, with advanced detectors that will have far better sensitivity to light WIMPS. While the ultimate goal is to find dark matter, SuperCDMS SNOLAB will be capable of finding another particle more familiar to Fermilab. Neutrinos can interact in a similar "billiard ball" style as WIMPs do, and actually form a small part of the dark matter in the universe. SuperCDMS SNOLAB will be sensitive enough to see neutrinos from the sun, which, in a way, is another form of lightness from dark matter.

Dan Bauer

In Brief

Is STEM truly for all? Fermilab Women's Initiative presents Adrienne Coleman

Adrienne Coleman

On Thursday, Sept. 24, Adrienne Coleman, multicultural education specialist at the Illinois Math and Science Academy, will give a talk titled "Is STEM Truly for All? Motivating Black and Latino Students to Engage in STEM." The talk takes place from 3-4:30 p.m. in One East.

According to Coleman's research, black and Latino students are virtually invisible in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. They tend to pursue familiar areas, such as the arts or athletics, where they are more likely to excel because their role models have excelled in those areas already.

Coleman will present a five-step motivation process to minimize the STEM gap. For more information on her talk, visit the Women's Initiative website.

In the News

Art in the workplace; it's for everyone

From Chicago Tribune, Sept. 20, 2015

Who are you at work?

An accountant, maybe. An administrative assistant. A manager.

But might you also be an artist?

At Fermilab, the answer is presumed to be yes.

For 46 years, the particle physics and accelerator laboratory near Batavia has regularly held an employee art show.

Physicists, administrative personnel, IT troubleshooters — all staffers are invited to participate in a show at the Fermilab Art Gallery.

Read more