Friday, May 4, 2012

Have a safe day!

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

Monday, May 7
2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Kfir Blum, Institute for Advanced Study
Title: High Energy Cosmic Rays: Lessons from Radioactive Nuclei, and Positron Data, and Robust Tests for Exotic Sources
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Special Topics: Shutdown Work Status and Plans; Proton Improvement Plan (PIP); Load-Shed Plan for Computing if Needed; g-2 Target Yield Studies

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, May 4

- Breakfast: Chorizo burrito
- Smart cuisine: Italian vegetable soup
- Chicken fajita sandwiches
- Southern fried chicken
- Smart cuisine: Mediterranean baked tilapia
- Eggplant parmesan panini
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Assorted sub sandwiches
Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Friday, May 4

Wednesday, May 9
- Cajun roasted pork loin
- Roasted sweet potato fries
- Green beans
- Chocolate pecan pie

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Special Director's Corner

Workforce reduction

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone

Editor's note: An all-hands meeting on the subject of the workforce reduction will take place at 11 a.m. today in Ramsey Auditorium. The meeting will be streamed online.

Yesterday I announced to Fermilab employees a self-select voluntary separation program to bring our staffing levels into balance with funding expected for the next few years. This is not a step that I am taking lightly, and it is a last resort after we have significantly reduced spending in many other areas.

Prospects for the lab's future funding look better than they did in February, thanks to recent Congressional actions. These actions by the House and Senate restored some funding to our budget for the next fiscal year, which allows us to minimize the size of the workforce reduction. We still expect to receive an overall reduction starting Oct. 1, however, and anticipate that tight budgets will continue as the federal government continues to confront large budget deficits. I must take the necessary but very unfortunate step of reducing the size of our workforce by about 80 employees.

The details of the self-select voluntary separation program (SSVSP) are available on the program website. An SSVSP package including application materials can be downloaded from the website or picked up from the Benefits office on the 15th floor of Wilson Hall or from the HR generalists.

To give employees and users the chance to ask me questions in person about this workforce reduction, budgetary outlooks and the laboratory's future, an all-hands meeting will take place today at 11 a.m. in Ramsey Auditorium.


Scientists present staged plans for Project X

Throughout its stages, Project X could provide beam for more than 20 experiments. Image: Fermilab

Members of the team planning the accelerator project that will power Fermilab's future experiments announced this week that they have developed ways to construct the project in three stages.

With their eyes on the tight federal budget, scientists plan to divide the endeavor, Project X, into phases in order to lessen its annual costs. Last month, the U.S. Department of Energy asked Fermilab to look into ways to build the proposed Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment in stages for the same reason.

"As much as we'd like to have the full Project X at one time, we respect that funding cannot support that," said Bob Tschirhart, project scientist for the research program. In total, Project X will cost between $1 billion and $2 billion.

Project X scientists will present a series of three talks, starting today, in part to explain the new plan.

Today at 4 p.m., Shekhar Mishra, head of international coordination for Project X, will give a wine & cheese seminar to the Fermilab scientific community that will also provide updates on the laboratory's collaboration with Indian institutions.

On Tuesday, May 8, Project X Project Manager Steve Holmes will give an accelerator physics and technology seminar to outline the planned staging of Project X and to discuss related R&D issues.

On Wednesday, May 9, Tschirhart will give a general colloquium to the Fermilab community at large about how Project X could help scientists achieve their goals in research at the Intensity Frontier and advance accelerator technology in the United States.

Project X is a proposed proton accelerator complex that could throughout its stages provide beam for more than 20 experiments. According to a study, Project X experiments could support 1,500 to 2,000 users from around the world, roughly the same number who worked on experiments at Fermilab's now-closed Tevatron accelerator.

—Kathryn Grim

In the News

Black holes: Star ripped to shreds

From Nature, May 2, 2012

When a star wanders too close to a giant black hole, it can be pulled apart by the black hole's tidal force. One such event offers insight into the properties of both the black hole and the star.

Astronomers have strong evidence that supermassive black holes, with masses between a million and a billion times that of the Sun, reside in the centre of most galaxies. The evidence comes from observations of the copious amount of radiation that is emitted when these objects pull gas from their immediate vicinity. However, if a black hole's close environment is poor in gas, gas accretion proceeds at a low rate and is not accompanied by significant emission of radiation. Probing such 'dormant' black holes is therefore difficult — unless a tidal-disruption event occurs. Such an event takes place when a star comes close enough to the black hole to be ripped apart by its tidal force. The ensuing stellar debris is accreted by the black hole and produces a characteristic flare.

Read more

Physics in a Nutshell

Quarks and gluons and partons, oh my…

The proton consists of a complex mixture of quarks and gluons. Physicists use the word parton to describe all constituents of a proton.

When physicists talk about what is found inside a proton, they toss around many words. Quarks, gluons and partons are the most common ones. What do they mean?

In the 1950s it became increasingly clear that the proton must consist of yet smaller particles. If the proton can be compared to a beanbag, the obvious question is: What do we know about the beans?

The proton has the same electric charge as an electron, but it is a positive charge rather than a negative one. We call the charge of a proton +1. In 1964, Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig independently proposed that the proton consisted of three smaller particles. We now use Gell-Mann's name for them: quarks. While we now know of six types of quarks, the original theory only proposed three: up, down and strange. The up, charm and top quarks have a charge of +2/3, while the down, and strange and bottom quarks have a charge of -1/3. Protons consist of two up quarks and a down quark.

In 1968 at SLAC, experiments demonstrated clearly that protons contained within them smaller objects. However initially it was impossible to show that these proton constituents were quarks. Richard Feynman called them partons, as they were part of the proton.

The current theory of strong force interactions, called quantum chromodynamics, postulated that there would be additional particles in the proton called gluons.

Subsequent experimentation has definitively shown that protons consist of both quarks and gluons. The term parton now means any particle inside a proton, neutron or other quark-containing particle.

Click here to read the expanded column on the parts of a proton.

Want a phrase defined? Have a question? Email Fermilab Today.

Don Lincoln


In memoriam: Bob Thomas

Bob Thomas

Former Fermilab employee Robert J. Thomas died on April 29, at the age of 53. He served as a security supervisor for the Business Services Security Department from Jan. 18, 1996 to March 7, 2005.

There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. today at the Samuel J. Jones Funeral Home. Thomas's full obituary is available online.


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