Fermilab Today Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010

Have a safe day!

Wednesday, Aug. 11
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Greg Engel, University of Chicago
Title: Design Principles of Photosynthetic Light Harvesting

Thursday, Aug. 12
2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Mikhail Stephanov, University of Illinois at Chicago
Title: Conformality Lost
3:30 p.m.

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Secon Level 3

Wilson Hall Cafe

Wednesday, Aug. 11
- Breakfast: English muffin sandwich
- Portabello harvest grain
- Santa Fe chicken quesadilla
- Hoisin chicken
- Parmesan fish
- Cuban panini
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Cavatappia pasta w/Italian sausage

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Aug. 11
- Stuffed summer vegetables
- Tomato & mozzarella salad
- Vanilla bean cheesecake w/ fresh strawberries

Thursday, Aug. 12
- Closed

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Former Fermilab intern Rodríguez gives back

César Rodríguez

Last month at a summer lecture, speaker César Rodríguez-Rosario, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, cheerfully informed students of the following:

"If a person is quantum drunk, the curve of his walk does not look the same as for a person who's classically drunk."

Using such trenchant explanations, Rodríguez surveyed the world of quantum physics for the young standing room-only audience of summer interns with an easy clarity. He was returning a favor: he was a Fermilab intern himself in 2000 when the summer lectures sparked his interest in physics.

"I was enchanted by the summer seminars then," he said.

While a computer engineering major at the University of Puerto Rico, Rodriguez faced a choice between a NASA internship and Fermilab's Summer Internships in Science and Technology (SIST). It wasn't easy explaining to his parents how he could choose high-energy physics over the higher-profile field of space science.

Under the mentorship of physicist Chandrashekhara Bhat, Rodríguez worked on modeling beams for the Main Injector.

Rodríguez held a SIST internship in 2000.

"I recall him saying, within the first week of his internship, that he might not pursue a career in physics," Bhat said. So he gave Rodríguez a two-week-long beam dynamics crash course. "He absorbed quite a bit and learned very fast."

Working in the company of other like-minded students helped.

"As interns, we would talk about physics until three in the morning," Rodríguez recalled.

After his Fermilab stint, he attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where he studied theoretical quantum mechanics. The first year was brutal. As an engineering major, he hadn't taken the undergraduate quantum physics courses that his peers had.

But he's done well for himself since, earning an Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, two American Physical Society scholarships and his current Harvard fellowship, where he researches quantum effects in biological systems.

Even now, 10 years later, Rodríguez's internship work is still being used on 8 GeV antiprotons in the Main Injector.

"I think choosing SIST was the best decision I've made," Rodríguez said. "I was exposed to really good physics."

-- Leah Hesla

Special Announcement

Club and League Fair today in Wilson Hall atrium

Fermilab has more than 25 employee clubs and athletic leagues. Come and see what these organizations have to offer from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11, in the Wilson Hall atrium. Entertainment begins at noon with demonstrations from the Folk Club dancers, Fermilab Singers and the International Dancers. Stop by the Recreation Department table and enter your name in the drawing for giveaways. Prizes will be given away every 15 minutes.

Photo of the Day

New employees - July 26

Front row from left: Jirawat M. Amorn-Vichet, Alessandro Cattabiani, Caterina Vernieri, Francesco Dragoni, Marco Mariti, Marco Bentivegna, Pierfrancesco Butti and Marco Colo. Second row from left: Francesco Nuti, Alexander Sukhanov, Michael Jeeninga, Xuebing Bu, Vida Goldstein, Gabriele Bertoli, Alessia Marruzzo, Matteo Cremonesi and Pierluigi Vicini. Third row from left: Daniele Bortolotti, Andrea Pisoni, Danilo Caporale, Maria Teresa Grippo, Stefania Vitillo, Elena Gramellini, Eleonora Secchi, Federica Lionetto, Sara Nizzero and Camilla Galloni.
In the News

Astronomy without a telescope - strange stars

From Universe Today, Aug. 7, 2010

Atoms are made of protons, neutrons and electrons. If you cram them together and heat them up you get plasma where the electrons are only loosely associated with individual nuclei and you get a dynamic, light-emitting mix of positively charged ions and negatively charged electrons. If you cram that matter together even further, you drive electrons to merge with protons and you are left with a collection of neutrons - like in a neutron star. So, what if you keep cramming that collection of neutrons together into an even higher density? Well, eventually you get a black hole - but before that (at least hypothetically) you get a strange star.

The theory has it that compressing neutrons can eventually overcome the strong interaction, breaking down a neutron into its constituent quarks, giving a roughly equal mix of up, down and strange quarks - allowing these particles to be crammed even closer together in a smaller volume. By convention, this is called strange matter. It has been suggested that very massive neutron stars may have strange matter in their compressed cores.

Read more

From Center for Particle Astrophysics

New horizons on the Cosmic Frontier

Craig Hogan, head of the Center for Particle Astrophysics, wrote this week's column.

Craig Hogan

Every 10 years or so, the entire U.S. astronomy and astrophysics community undertakes a decadal survey, a national exercise in strategic planning chartered by three federal agencies: DOE, NASA and NSF. These reports weigh which enterprises and large facilities are most worthy of support, across a range of science from telescopic studies of planets around distant stars to interferometric measurement of gravitational waves from the edge of the universe. A new decadal report, "New Worlds, New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics," will be unveiled this week. Roger Blandford of Stanford and SLAC National Laboratory chaired the report committee.

We will watch the webcast carefully. Good ideas in science vastly outnumber fundable ideas. Large scientific ventures require a commitment from a large and broad community of scientists, and the decadal survey is where the hopes and dreams of the entire astrophysics community are most prominently voiced. More than ever before, the difficult choices made in this massive study will largely determine which new large projects will start in the next 10 years.

At Fermilab we are interested mainly in astrophysics projects that further our quest to understand profound mysteries of fundamental physics. These mysteries include: new physics underlying early-universe cosmic inflation, the cosmic excess of matter over antimatter and the nature of dark energy and dark matter.

Often we can share tools, such as telescopes capable of very deep, wide and precise surveys of the universe, with other areas of astronomy and astrophysics. We are eager to see what priorities are placed on such ambitious projects as the Joint Dark Energy Mission (a satellite survey telescope), the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (a larger ground-based successor to our Dark Energy Survey), the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (a 5-million-kilometer Sagnac interferometer in space to study low-frequency gravitational radiation), and new facilities for studying high-energy cosmic rays, such as Pierre Auger North (a larger version, in Colorado, similar to the observatory we now help to operate in Argentina). The rollout of Astro2010 on Friday will trigger a frenzy of discussion and strategizing in the national and international particle-astrophysics community about the next generation of projects on the Cosmic Frontier.

Special Announcement

Wilson Hall west side road closed Thursday-Monday

The road on the west side of Wilson Hall leading to the Linac will be closed for resurfacing beginning Thursday morning. The road is scheduled to reopen during the evening on Monday, Aug. 16. Please see the diagram (pdf) for more information.

Safety Update

ES&H weekly report, Aug. 10

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ES&H section, includes three incidents. One incident involved an airborne particle entering an employee's eye. That employee needed prescription medication, which made the case recordable. No injuries were reported in the other two incidents, which resulted when drivers drivers were backing up their vehicles. Find the full report here.

Safety report archive


Policy update

H1N1 temporary sick leave policy removed

Latest Announcements

Ask HR: Professional Development at SiDet - Aug. 11

FTL system downtime 6-8 p.m. Wednesday

Employee Club & League Fair Wednesday

Grounding and Shielding of Electronic Systems course - Aug. 12 and 13

Free piano concert featuring Sandor Feher, Ramsey Auditorium at noon on Aug. 12

Singer and songwriter Claudia Schmidt performs in Fermilab Arts Series - Aug. 14

Martial arts classes begin today

Argentine Tango, Wednesdays, through Aug. 25

Bristol Renaissance Faire discount

Aug. 20 deadline for The University of Chicago Tuition Remission program

Applications for URA Visiting Scholars Awards due Aug. 20

Regal Movie Theater discount tickets available

What's New with NI and the latest version of LabVIEW (NI Week highlights)? - Aug. 19

Gizmo Guys - Fermilab Arts Series - Sept. 25

NIM and Physics Reports now completely online at Fermilab

Lunch & Learn about the power of preventative health care - Aug. 18

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