Fermilab Today Wednesday, August 16, 2006  

Wednesday, August 16
11:00 a.m. Fermilab ILC R&D meeting - Curia II (note location)
Speaker: N. Solyak, Fermilab
Title: ILC Main Linac Design
2:30 p.m. Hadron Collider Physics Summer School Open Lecture - Auditorium
Speaker: J. Womersley, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Title: Physics Analysis I
3:30 p.m. DIRECTOR'S COFFEE BREAK 2nd Flr X-Over
4:00 p.m. Fermilab Colloquium - Auditorium (note location)
Speaker: T. Tait, Argonne National Laboratory
Title: High Energy Colliders as Tools to Understand the Early Universe

Thursday, August 17
2:15 p.m. Hadron Collider Physics Summer School Open Lecture - Auditorium
Speaker: M. Strassler, University of Washington
Title: Beyond the Standard Model - 3
2:30 p.m. Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: U. Baur, State University of New York, Buffalo
Title: Weak Boson Emission in Hadron Collider Processes
3:30 p.m. DIRECTOR'S COFFEE BREAK - 2nd Flr X-Over
3:45 p.m. Hadron Collider Physics Summer School Open Lecture - Auditorium
Speaker: D. Green, Fermilab
Title: First Years LHC Experiment Program - 1
4:00 p.m. Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar
Curia II (note location)
Speaker: D. Swenson, Epion Corporation
Title: Improving the Performance of SRF Cavities and Other High Voltage Electrodes by Treating the Surfaces with Gas Cluster Ion Beams (GCIB): Can a Perfect Electrode be Manufactured and Tested?

Click here for a full calendar with links to additional information.

WeatherMostly Sunny 85º/59º

Extended Forecast

Weather at Fermilab


Secon Level 3

Wednesday, August 16
-Vegetable Beef
-Fish & Chips
-Almond Crusted Sole
-Country Fried Steak w/Pepper Gravy
-Beef & Cheddar Panini w/Sauteed Onions
-Assorted Slice Pizza
-Cavatappi Pasta w/Italian Sausage & Tomato Ragu

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu


Wednesday, August 16
-Chicken Sate' w/Peanut Sauce
-Marinated Oriental Salad
-Coconut Cake

Thursday, August 17

Chez Leon Menu
Call x4598 to make your reservation.

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Fermilab boosts physics education with QuarkNet
Larry Hiller (left) and David McClary are QuarkNet teachers.
When physics teachers David McClary and Larry Hiller first heard about the QuarkNet program through the particle physics group at the University of Buffalo, the teachers thought the program seemed too good to be true. Would QuarkNet simply donate a cosmic-ray detector to their school? "We ultimately found out that we would do research at Fermilab for four weeks and then take a detector home with us," McClary said--an opportunity even better than they had imagined. "The day after we found that out, we were both on board."

This summer, both teachers worked at Fermilab's Silicon Detector facility and helped with the Forward Pixel Detector, a tracking device for the CMS detector at CERN. "We didn't expect to work quite as independently as we did," McClary said. The physics duo also received tours of Fermilab that provided additional information to take back to the classroom. "This has been something beyond anything either of us imagined," McClary said. "It's just been outstanding."

Returning home, the teachers from North Tonawanda High School in New York will assemble the cosmic-ray detector. CMS physicist Avto Kharchilava, one of several particle physics experimenters and theorists hired by the University of Buffalo to start a new particle physics group, will be the local QuarkNet mentor.

When operational, the cosmic-ray detector will provide data online so other schools can use its data, too. "The detector will be linked with other schools in Rochester and Syracuse," Hiller said. "The fact that so many students will be able to play with this thing is really exciting for us." Instead of just memorizing the names and properties of particles, the cosmic ray detector will give students a chance to participate in a high-energy physics lab experience, Hiller said.

More information about QuarkNet, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and the DOE Office of Science, is available online.
--Dave Mosher

In the News
Time, August 11, 2006:
The Unraveling of String Theory
By now, just about everyone has heard of string theory. Even those who don't really understand it--which is to say, just about everyone--know that it's the hottest thing in theoretical physics. Any university that doesn't have at least one string theorist on the payroll is considered a scientific backwater. The public, meanwhile, has been regaled for years with magazine articles breathlessly touting it as "the theory of everything." Brian Greene's 1999 book on the topic, The Elegant Universe, has sold more than a million copies, and his Nova series of the same name has captivated millions of TV viewers.

But despite its extraordinary popularity among some of the smartest people on the planet, string theory hasn't been embraced by everyone--and now, nearly 30 years after it made its initial splash, some of the doubters are becoming more vocal. Skeptical bloggers have become increasingly critical of the theory, and next month two books will be hitting the shelves to make the point in greater detail. Not Even Wrong, by Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit, and The Trouble with Physics, by Lee Smolin at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ont., both argue that string theory (or superstring theory, as it is also known) is largely a fad propped up by practitioners who tend to be arrogantly dismissive of anyone who dare suggest that the emperor has no clothes.

There were good reasons for the theory's appeal when it first emerged in the late 1970s and early '80s. At the time, physicists found themselves facing a crisis: the two most important ideas of 20th century physics, relativity and quantum theory, were known to be fundamentally incompatible. Quantum theory describes the universe as intrinsically discontinuous: energy, for example, can come in bits just so small, but no smaller. Relativity treats time and space and gravity as a smooth, unbroken continuum. Each theory has its purposes, and they usually don't overlap. But when dealing with very large masses or time periods that are infinitesimally small, like the core of a black hole or the first moments after the Big Bang, neither quite works.
Read More

Summer students add energy
This week's column features Kay Van Vreede, head of the Laboratory Services Section.

Right now one of the topics of conversation in the cafeteria
Kay Van Vreede
centers on kids returning to college and the start of local schools. That means that our summer students are departing from Fermilab, too.

This year we hired around 250 summer workers. Arriving and departing.it's all a lot of work for lab services. This year we introduced some new practices that helped streamline the whole process. We made job openings and applications all electronic. Students are on the Internet constantly, so it makes sense to fit the application process to their lifestyle. We also packed all the training into the first day so when our summer employees reported to their jobs, they already, in most cases, had all their required training.

So what are we doing now? Over the next few weeks we will process all of our summer workers back out. But it's worth the work. Every year it's great to see the students - they are enthusiastic, full of new ideas, and ready to learn. I think it gives our lab a new burst of energy. This year's summer workers mowed the fields, helped with repairs, created websites, worked on experiments, tended children, learned new teaching techniques, debugged computer programs. Maybe something they learned this summer will spark or fuel the flames of interest in a lifelong career. And maybe, in the future, some of these young workers will take the education and passion they learned here at Fermilab and make their own impact on science, and on the world.

Sports today: Frisbee, football, basketball and golf
Frisbee: Yesterday's Frisbee game between Argonne and Fermilab ended with a 15-13 victory for Fermilab. "It's the first time Fermi has beaten Argonne in a long time," said player Ben Berger.
Football: Fermilab's Astrophysics group played football against the Theory group last Thursday. The game ended in a tie. "Get ready for the intergalactic softball championships," said astrophysicist Rocky Kolb.
Basketball: This summer, Fermilab basketball teams were divided by divisions, sections, and experiments. The summer league recently concluded with a championship game victory by the FESS/Business Services team (above). "The championship game was highlighted by the dominating performance by Lou Kula," said Business Services' Brian Niesman.
Golf: Fermilab teams have teed-off at Saint Andrews golf course in West Chicago for over 25 years. After a year-long break, a St. Andrews Reunion Scramble was held last Sunday afternoon. Team Rogus (above) edged the field with a -5 stroke victory. "We will continue the scramble in the years to come," said PPD's Patrick Liston.
Bowling League
Fermilab's Wednesday night bowling league is looking for bowlers for a 30-week, 4-person league. All bowling abilities are welcome. Bowling starts on Wednesday, September 6, at 5:30 p.m. Interested individuals or teams should contact Al Legan x4074, or Robert Hively x4467.

Fermilab Association of Rocketry
The Fermilab Association of Rocketry is having their monthly club meeting today, August 16, at 5 p.m. in Users Center TV room. We are always looking for new members; anyone interested in model rocketry is most welcome. Join the club at the meeting and have this year's membership dues waived.

International Folk Dancing
International Folk Dancing will meet Thursday, August 17, in Ramsey Auditorium in Wilson Hall. Dancing begins at 7:30 p.m. with teaching earlier in the evening and request dancing later on. Newcomers are welcome and you do not need to come with a partner. The group will move back to Kuhn Barn in September. Info at 630-584-0825 or 630-840-8194 or folkdance@fnal.gov.

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