Thursday, May 31, 2012

Have a safe day!

Thursday, May 31
2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Robert Feger, Vanderbilt University
Title: An Explicit SU(12) Family and Flavor Unification Model with Natural Fermion Masses and Mixings
3:30 p.m.

Friday, June 1
2 p.m.
Accelerator Controls Seminar - One West
Speaker: Carl Schumann, Fermilab
Title: Control System Application Development in C/C++
3:30 p.m.
4 p.m.
Joint Experiment-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Mike Kordosky, College of William and Mary
Title: Results from MINERvA

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Thursday, May 31
- Breakfast: Apple sticks
- Tomato Florentine
- Barbecue pork sandwich
- Smart cuisine: kielbasa & sauerkraut
- Smart cuisine: chicken marsala
- Smoked turkey melt
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Southwest chicken salad w/ roasted corn salsa

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Friday, June 1
- Mixed greens w/ walnuts, cranberries & blue cheese
- Porcini crusted fillet w/ herb butter
- Whipped potatoes
- Broccoli
- Crème brûlée

Wednesday, June 6
- Sesame-chile chicken w/ watermelon salsa
- Orzo
- Citrus chiffon cake

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Straight from the farm: Fermilab's agriculture program

Rows of corn sprout on one of the tracts of Fermilab farmland. Photo: Joseph Piergrossi

If you were to describe Fermilab as a farm, you'd probably first think of quarks or neutrinos as the harvest. But for roughly 30 percent of the Fermilab property, the harvest really is corn and soybeans.

From the laboratory's earliest days, the Roads & Grounds Group has selected a local farmer to grow crops on 2,100 acres. While in the past some of the land was used for raising beef cattle, today it is used for producing high-yield crops, like much of the upper Midwest farmland.

"It's been a part of the land management here forever," said Mike Becker, assistant site services manager for the Roads & Grounds Group. He said the onsite farming helps manage the land and keeps it from getting overgrown.

Every five years, Fermilab values the land according to the price of corn and soybeans and prospective farmers bid on all 2100 acres. Because of the high demand for these crops, that's about all that has been planted on the property since the 1980s, Becker said. The farmer sells his harvest on the open market.

All of the onsite farming is conventional in nature – no organic planting here. But it doesn't mean that the program isn't green. Revenues from the lease pay for the environmental projects across the laboratory's 6800 acres, including prairie, wetland and woodland restoration efforts.

The farmer also negotiates with the local community to establish a leaf pickup system. People living in the neighborhoods around the laboratory pay for trucks to pick up their leaf refuse. The farmer takes the leaves, composts them for a year, and then uses them to reintroduce nutrients into the soil once the corn is harvested.

"It's a win-win for everybody," said Becker. "Local communities pay for a relatively short truck trip and our soil is improved."

The farming operations across the site takes advantage of the infrastructure left behind by the farms that used to inhabit the area. Underground clay pipes, some over a hundred years old, drain the crop land into creeks and ditches. Fermilab helps maintain those pipes for the farmer so the land stays as fertile as possible.

Right now, across the many fields on the Fermilab site, corn and soybeans are starting to emerge. As summer approaches, the rows of leafy shoots peek out from the dark, tilled soil, a reminder of the agriculture program as a self-sustaining way of maintaining the Fermilab property.

"We wouldn't be nearly as far with our green efforts and biodiversity improvements over the years without the help of this program," Becker said.

—Joseph Piergrossi

Special Announcement

Walking tour of transitional habitat - today

Today from noon to 1 p.m. you can stroll through a transitional habitat along the Margaret Pearson Interpretive Trail on the Birds, Butterflies and More tour. Enjoy learning from experts while you look up, down & all around. Meet at the Prairie Interpretive Trail, on westbound side of Pine Street.

E-mail Ryan Campbell at with questions.

Photo of the Day

Employees graduate from Walk 2 Run program

Congratulations to Fermilab's recent Walk 2 Run graduates. These employees completed a free 10-week program designed to improve fitness and lose weight by gradually increasing their running potential. At the conclusion of the 10 weeks, most participants were able to complete a 30-minute continuous run or a 5K. For more information on this program contact Jeanne in the Wellness Office at x2548 or at Photo: Reidar Hahn
In the News

New underground lab turns S. Dakota gold town into scientific hub in search for 'dark matter'

From The Washington Post,
May 30, 2012

LEAD, S.D. — Nestled nearly 5,000 feet beneath the earth in the gold boom town of Lead, S.D., is a laboratory that could help scientists answer some pretty heavy questions about life, its origins and the universe.

It's hard to spot from the surface. Looking around the rustic town, there are far more nods to its mining past than to its scientific future. But on Wednesday, when part of the Homestake Gold Mine officially became an underground campus, Lead became the place where the elusive stuff called dark matter might finally be detected.

Unimpressed? Consider this: It's sure to earn itself a reference on TV's "The Big Bang Theory."

Read more

Result of the Week

Watching the strong force run

The running of the strong coupling constant describes the way that the strong force loses strength at short distances.

The strong force changes its strength at different distance scales, a phenomenon known as the running of the strong force coupling constant. More like pulling on a rubber band than pulling apart two magnets, its strength diminishes at short distances between quarks but increases rapidly when trying to pull two quarks apart. At some point it takes less energy to produce a new quark-antiquark pair to partner with those being separated than to keep pulling those quarks apart. This process happens repeatedly when a quark or gluon is produced in a collision of protons with antiprotons and leads to a spray of particles called a jet.

The running of the strong force coupling constant can be investigated by studying the production of jets. Information about the changing strength of the strong force is encoded in the energy and spatial distributions of the jets. But these jet distributions also depend on the properties of the quarks and gluons that constitute the colliding proton and antiproton. Each constituent of a proton carries some fraction of the proton's momentum at any given time and the breakdown of this distribution must be experimentally measured. Studying the strong force at short distances is difficult because the inner workings of the proton are not well measured at high energy scales.

A recent DZero analysis (from the May 18 Joint Experimental-Theoretical Seminar) used a new strategy to study the strong force coupling constant at short distances. The analyzers minimized the effect that the proton's inner workings had on their result by measuring a specific property of each event: the average number of neighboring jets around each jet. This special average was determined for various neighborhood sizes and with different minimum energy thresholds for neighboring jets. Decoding jet information in this manner allowed the analyzers to probe the strong force directly at shorter distance scales than ever before. This constitutes the first minimally biased observation of the expected running of the strong force coupling constant at energy scales above 208 GeV, and up to 400 GeV.

—Mike Cooke

These physicists made major contributions to this analysis.

The software infrastructure group performs a critical service to the DZero collaboration, organizing and building the major releases of software essential for reconstructing raw data, producing simulated events, and performing physics analyses.


Latest Announcements

10,000 Steps iPod Shuffle winner

Fermilab prairie quadrat study - begins June 26

Ecology bus tour - June 1

ES&H & Computing Sector websites, CVS/Redmine/Subversion, CRL outage - June 2

Fermilab Family Outdoor Fair - June 10

Swim lessons for adults, youth & preschoolers - register by June 11

Tevatron symposium - June 11

Fermilab Users' Meeting - June 12-13

New Perspectives is coming - June 14

International Folk Dancing moves to Auditorium - June 14

University of Chicago Tuition Remission Program deadline - June 15

Adult water aerobics - begins June 18

DreamWeaver CS5: Intro class - June 19-20

DASTOW - June 20

Intermediate/advanced Python programming class - June 20-22

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Interpersonal communication skills training - Nov. 14

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Pool memberships available

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Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings in Kuhn Village Barn

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