Fermi National Laboratory

MIPP Collaborators Celebrate End of Preparation, Start of Data Taking

MIPP experimenters (left to right):
Rajendran Raja, Holger Meyer, and David
Last Friday afternoon, approximately 50 experimenters from Fermilab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and 11 other institutions gathered to celebrate the start of the next phase of the Main Injector Particle Production experiment. From a Fermilab staff member who worked on the early designs for the MIPP experimental layout to the graduate students awaiting their first overnight shifts, all shared their excitement about the coming months. After almost three years of construction and preparation, MIPP will take its first data when the Tevatron resumes operations in mid-November.

The experiment will measure the identity, energy and angles of all particles emitted from the collisions of protons, pions and kaons with a wide variety of targets.

"The main thrust of MIPP for high energy physics is to acquire high-statistics, high-quality data with a liquid-hydrogen target," says spokesperson Rajendran Raja. Scientists know little about such collisions whose properties fall within the realm of non-perturbative quantum chromodynamics. Raja believes that "MIPP data will help jump-start the study of this neglected field of high-energy physics."

Physicists will also have data from MIPP to improve predictions for particle and nuclear physics experiments and to search for new phenomena such as pentaquark states and glueballs. The Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search, a Fermilab experiment, will use MIPP data to more accurately predict the spectrum of neutrinos that will reach the underground MINOS detector in Minnesota. The LLNL proton radiography program will use MIPP data from collisions of protons with various targets. Proton radiography is a type of three-dimensional "x-ray" process using beams of protons to make images of dense objects. MIPP data will provide a good knowledge of the protons interactions with the object's materials, essential for producing an accurate image.

Besides data, the experiment will provide training for students and postdoctoral researchers. David Miller, a graduate student from Purdue University, believes that MIPP is "the best possible experiment at Fermilab for graduate students" due to its short time frame and the exposure to all aspects of a particle physics experiment.

The MIPP experiment recycles many pieces of donated and refurbished equipment, including virtually all of the particle detectors from previous experiments. Recycling reduced MIPP's cost from more than thirty million to about two million dollars collaborators said. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory donated the detector central to the experiment, a time projection chamber. The Jolly Green Giant, a nickname for a large magnet in which the time projection chamber sits, dates from the 1960's at Harvard University and has served in many Fermilab experiments. In addition to donating equipment, Fermilab, LLNL and the Department of Energy contributed funding for MIPP.

last modified 11/11/2003   email Fermilab