Friday, Oct. 23, 2015
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Fermi Singers concert - Oct. 28

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NALWO Halloween party for all Fermilab families - Oct. 23

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International folk dancing Thursday evenings at Kuhn Barn

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Don Cossairt receives prestigious accelerator safety award from DOE

Fermilab scientist and ESH&Q Radiation Protection Manager Don Cossairt, right, receives a Lifetime Achievement Award for accelerator safety. From left: DOE Fermi Site Office Manager Mike Weis, Fermi Site Office Facility Representative Mike Herr, Don Cossairt.

Fermilab scientist and ESH&Q Radiation Protection Manager Don Cossairt has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the DOE Office of Science. The award was presented to him at the 2015 DOE Accelerator Safety Workshop in September at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Members of the DOE accelerator community vote for the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. Cossairt's peers chose him for his commitment to improving the DOE accelerator safety program.

Cossairt conducts a course titled "Accelerator Physics for Environment, Safety, and Health Professionals." He has written and taught courses from his book "Radiation Physics for Personnel and Environmental Protection." He has also mentored junior radiation safety officers for more than 30 years, helping them prepare for health physics certification exams.

"Don is true pioneer in the accelerator community," said Mike Herr of the DOE Fermi Site Office. "He is committed to helping it succeed in safe operations."

Video of the Day

Do we live in a multiverse?

Since the idea of a multiverse is quite a reach, it is natural to wonder why this idea is seriously discussed in leading scientific circles. Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln explains how the existence of a multiverse is a possible answer to the question of why the universe seems so well-tuned for human life. View the 7-minute video. Video: Fermilab
Photo of the Day

Autumn arcade

nature, fall, autumn, chalk, drawing, art
Julie Kurnat, TD, made this lovely chalk drawing of a fall canopy. Photo: Julie Kurnat, TD
In Brief

Friendly crosslab rivalry plays out on soccer field

Argonne (white) goes on the offensive, while Fermilab (blue) defenders spring into action. Photo: J. Andres Quiroz, Iowa State University

On Saturday, Oct. 17, 40 people from the Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory communities met on the Village soccer field for a friendly, athletic faceoff. An additional roughly 40 friends and family members stood on the sidelines to cheer them on.

The Fermilab Student and Postdoc Association hosted the crosslab, cross-Chicagoland soccer match and the barbecue that followed.

The score was 8-2 in favor of Fermilab. More importantly, Fermilab and Argonne came together to play and have fun, which is only marginally less crucial than understanding the world around us, a goal common to both groups.

If you have questions about the Fermilab soccer group or would like to join its listserv, email

Frontier Science Result: CMS

Shooting a nuclear apple

Sometimes exotic physics has some very familiar analogs. When scientists collide lead nuclei together, the exiting debris acts much like a bullet traveling through an apple.

One of the interesting things about science is how easy it is sometimes to draw analogies between the familiar and the exotic as a way to make the unfamiliar seem more intuitive. Today's article is a perfect example of that.

Let's start by talking about what happens when you shoot two billiard balls together on an otherwise bare table. If you snap a photo after the collision, you see two balls moving away from the collision point and nothing else.

Now imagine a similar scenario in which you shoot two bullets at one another and arrange for them to collide inside an apple. If you took a photo of the bullets after the collision, you'd see the bullets leaving the apple, but you'd also see lots of apple debris following the bullet. The effect of the bullet plowing through the fruit caused the apple bits to "explode" out of the apple. If you had a super fancy camera, you'd even see that the bullet's having to push its way through the apple caused it to slow down. Energy was transferred from the bullet to the apple.

LHC collisions have some very similar properties. For instance, imagine shooting two protons at one another, which is the normal way we operate the LHC. One of the constituents from each proton would collide and exit the collision, much like the billiard balls mentioned above. Frequent readers of this column will remember that these outgoing particles will turn into jets, which are a bunch of particles all moving in approximately the same direction as the parent particle. But this is a small sophistication, and what we observe is two blasts of particles moving out of the collision.

About one month a year, the LHC collides nuclei of lead, which means that when the collision between two proton or neutron constituents occurs, the collision is engulfed in a sphere of the 416 protons and neutrons that make up these two lead nuclei. When the scattered particles leave the collision point, they have to push their way through the surroundings, just like a bullet leaving the apple. The net effect is that the scattered particles lose some of their energy, and a lot of nuclear debris also accompanies them.

So CMS scientists went looking, not so much for the particles leaving the collision, but for the "nuclear apple debris." The analysis hinged on events in which two jets were made in collisions between two lead nuclei.

In the absence of having to plow through nuclear matter, the two jets should have equal energy transverse to the direction of the beam. If, however, the collision occurred near the edge of the nuclear material, one jet will emerge essentially unscathed, while the other would have to plow through a lot of the "nuclear apple." You'd then expect this jet to have lost energy, but also to see a lot of extra particles as the jet passed through the nuclear material. And this is exactly what was seen. This analysis can teach us a lot about the behavior of hot nuclear matter. And it underscores how the exotic often mimics the familiar.

Don Lincoln

These MIT U.S. CMS scientists made important contributions to this analysis. From left: Chris McGinn, Austin Baty, Doga Gulhan, Yen-Jie Lee.
In the News

Glueballs are the missing frontier of the Standard Model

From ars technica, Oct. 21, 2015

The discovery of the Higgs boson was rightfully heralded as a triumph of particle physics, one that brought completion to the Standard Model, the collection of theories that describes particles and their interactions. Lost in the excitement, however, was the fact that we're still missing a piece from the Standard Model — another type of particle that doesn't resemble any other we've yet seen.

Read more