Thursday, May 3, 2012

Have a safe day!

Thursday, May 3
2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Norman Christ, Columbia University
Title: Computing K → ππ Decay Using Lattice QCD
3:30 p.m.

Friday, May 4
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Joint Experiment-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Shekhar Mishra, Fermilab
Title: Indian Institutions and Fermilab Collaboration: Project X and Particle Physics

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Thursday, May 3

- Breakfast: Apple sticks
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Friday, May 4

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Video of the Day

Video of NOvA dedication at Ash River available online

The NOvA facility in Ash River, Minn. was inaugurated on April 27. The facility will eventually house the far detector, which will receive beam from Fermilab. View highlights of the dedication ceremony here.

Muon g-2 off to a running start

Brendan Kiburg (left) and Peter Winter (right) assemble a detector prototype for the Muon g-2 experiment. Tests occurred in the Fermilab Test Beam Facility. Photo: Volodya Tishchenko

Muon g-2 scientists are on the hunt for the perfect detector that will satisfy their experimental needs and prepare the project for an upcoming NSF grant review. Muon g-2 collaboration members from across the country assembled at Fermilab to test-drive the different detector options with the electron beam in the Fermilab Test Beam Facility the week of April 11. FTBF manager Aria Soha and her team were on deck to lend a hand.

"Aria and the FTBF group provide an incredible facility for users who need to understand and assess their devices before incorporating them into an experiment," said Muon g-2 co-spokesperson Dave Hertzog.

The Muon g-2 experiment examines the precession, or wobble, of muons that are subjected to a magnetic field. The main goal is to test the Standard Model's predictions of this value by measuring the precession rate experimentally. Researchers will accomplish this with 24 detectors installed inside a muon storage ring.

"The detectors have to have a very fast response rate and be compact because space in the ring is limited," said Hertzog. "They also have to have a high resolution and be non-magnetic as to not disturb the magnetic field in the storage ring."

The Muon g-2 experimenters tested and tweaked three different types of detectors looking for ways to optimize their performance.

"It's about finding the right recipe," said Hertzog. "We vary the small things and see if we can improve the detector resolution."

Read more

—Sarah Charley

In the News

Neutrino project changes focus

From Nature, May 2, 2012

Budgetary constraints force United States to downgrade plans for flagship experiment.

For physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, the nearly massless particles called neutrinos hold special weight. A proposed project called the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) aims to use neutrinos to sort out some puzzles of fundamental physics, and ensure that US particle physics has a centrepiece experiment for the future.

Yet, faced with serious budget constraints, Fermilab is drastically scaling back its plans. It originally intended to fire neutrinos from its base near Chicago at a massive underground detector, filled with 34,000 tonnes of liquid argon, situated 1,300 kilometres away at the Homestake mine in South Dakota. But after a workshop held on 25–26 April, Fermilab is focusing on two cheaper options. Both limit the sensitivity of the experiment and back off from plans for a deep underground detector, ruling out a potential pay-off: watching for proton decay, a prediction of the theory that unifies physics' fundamental forces.

Read more

In the News

Insights from the classical atom

From, May 1, 2012

Decades after the 1920s rise of quantum mechanics, the classical mechanical framework remained a useful lens through which to examine ionization, scattering, and other atomic processes.

Richard Feynman once wrote that the concept of the atomic structure of the material world was the most fertile idea we inherited from antiquity. But although the so-called atomic hypothesis traces its beginnings to the fifth century BC (see box 1), it was only a century ago, in 1911, that the atom secured its place as the cornerstone of the modern physical sciences. That year marked two important advances in our understanding of the microscopic world. First, from the observation that α particles were deflected as they passed through a thin gold foil, Ernest Rutherford arrived at the planetary model of the atom, in which electrons orbit a massive nucleus. Second, he evaluated the angle-differential cross section for the deflection of the α particles.

Read more

Result of the Week

Do top quarks consult the constellations?

A sidereal day is the time it takes the Earth to rotate back to the same alignment with respect to distant stars.

A premise of Einstein's theory of Special Relativity, and a fundamental part of the Standard Model, is that the laws of physics are the same for everyone regardless of where they are and which way they are facing. If this were not true, the results of an experiment would depend on how the apparatus is oriented with respect to the rest of the universe. The sidereal position, or the orientation with respect to the constellations, of an experiment would influence its results. Experiments performed on the surface of the Earth would yield different results at different sidereal hours due to the rotation of the Earth.

The Standard Model does not include gravity. Some theories that aim to unify the Standard Model with gravity allow for orientation-dependent differences in the behavior of particles. The Standard-Model Extension effective field theory allows experimentalists to test for this behavior in a general way. It permits each particle to have a different level of dependence on sidereal time. While such daily time dependence has been ruled out for many particles in the Standard Model, only high-energy particle colliders like the Tevatron afford physicists the opportunity to directly test the top quark.

A recent analysis at DZero looked for sidereal time dependence in the production of top quark pairs. Seven years' worth of top quark pair candidate data events were translated into sidereal time. Analyzers then looked for daily sidereal time dependence in the production rate of top quark pairs. The DZero data was found to be consistent with no time dependence and sets the first limits on the possible size of sidereal time dependence on the behavior of the top quark.

—Mike Cooke

These physicists made major contributions to this analysis.

These physicists are the main administrators for the DZero Linux cluster, a crucial component of the DZero computing infrastructure that facilitates data analysis.


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