Friday, July 27, 2012

Have a safe day!

Friday, July 27
3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speakers: Valeri Lebedev, Fermilab
Title: Optical Stochastic Cooling

Monday, July 30
11 a.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Eric Vasquez, SNOLAB
Title: Deep Underground Astroparticle Physics at SNOLAB

2 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Joseph Zuntz, University College London
Title: Cosmic Shear Challenges

3:30 p.m.


Click here for NALCAL,
a weekly calendar with links to additional information.

Upcoming conferences


Take Five

Weather Isolated thunderstorms

Extended forecast
Weather at Fermilab

Current Security Status

Secon Level 3

Current Flag Status

Flags at half-staff

Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, July 27

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

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu
Chez Leon

Friday, July 27
- Cranberry & walnut salad
- Pan-roasted monkfish w/ red-wine sauce
- Wild mushroom stuffed potatoes
- Sautéed spinach
- Pear tart

Wednesday, Aug. 1
- Bloody Mary chopped salad w/ shrimp
- Cold lime soufflé

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


Fermilab Today

Director's Corner

Result of the Week

CMS Result

Physics in a Nutshell

Tip of the Week

User University Profiles

Related content


Fermilab Today
is online at:

Send comments and suggestions to:

Visit the Fermilab
home page

Unsubscribe from Fermilab Today


Fermilab Deputy Director Kim judges Google Science Fair

The winning teams from the July 23 Google Science Fair pose with the judging panel, including Fermilab Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim. Photo: Andrew Federman

On July 23, Fermilab Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim joined 14 other scientists, science journalists and industry executives to judge the Google Science Fair in Palo Alto, California.

Ninety individuals or teams from around the world, split into three age groups, qualified for the competition. For the July 23 event, judges chose 15 finalist projects by 21 students based on their multimedia presentations. Kim and the judging panel chose one winning project from each of the age groups.

“The competitors really seemed to know and care about the world’s issues,” Kim said.

Projects tackled challenges including using cell phones to diagnose heart problems in developing countries, treating methamphetamine addiction and designing a more efficient flush toilet.

The winner in the 17- to 18-year-old age group and Grand Prize winner, Brittany Wenger from Lakewood Ranch, Fla., developed a cloud-based neural network program that gave a 99.11 percent accurate diagnosis of breast biopsies using a minimally invasive method.

“Brittany leveraged publicly available resources – medical data on breast cancer, the neural network analysis technique and cloud computing – to improve the accuracy of medical diagnosis,” Kim said, adding that neural networks were frequently used in the high-energy physics community.

Kim said she was also impressed by the winning projects in the other two age groups. One focused on improving the music experience for the hearing-impaired using tactile sound, sound transferred by touch. The other found microscopic life in fresh water.

The judging panel also awarded a "Science in Action" prize to a team from Swaziland that evaluated hydroponics as a way to solve food problems in southern Africa.

“I talked to every single competitor,” Kim said. “Most of these students learned their electronic, mechanical and computing skills via the Internet, not their teachers, which was a big culture shock for me.”

Kim became involved in the judging process through CERN, which also contributed a judge. One of the prizes available to the Grand Prize winner is a visit to Fermilab, followed by a trip with a CMS physicist to the Large Hadron Collider. Other prize choices came from event sponsors Google and LEGO.

Kim suggested to Google Director of Education Maggie Johnson that the finalist students and judges form a network so the students could keep in touch and receive advice in the future.

“These students are much more advanced than I was at their age,” she said. “I am eager to help them as much as I can.”

—Joseph Piergrossi

Special Announcement

Ask-a-Scientist lecture on the Higgs boson - July 29

On Sunday, July 29, at 1 p.m., the public is invited to attend a free lecture in Wilson Hall by Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln titled "The Higgs Boson. What is it? Has it been discovered?" The lecture is part of the laboratory's Ask-a-Scientist lecture series.

Following the talk, Fermilab scientists will be available to answer questions about the Higgs boson, the Large Hadron Collider and particle physics.

Visitors will also be able to access the 15th floor of Wilson Hall, including its science exhibits and view of the laboratory site and surrounding area.

In the News

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer claims huge cosmic ray haul

From BBC News, July 25, 2012

The largest-ever experiment in space has reported the collection of some 18 billion "cosmic ray" events that may help unravel the Universe's mysteries.

The data haul is far greater than the total number of cosmic rays recorded in a full century of looking to date.

The astronauts who installed it on the space station in 2011 are in Geneva to see an update on how it is performing.

Mission commander Mark Kelly told reporters that AMS was "the pinnacle of the science that the ISS will do".

The huge number of events seen by the experiment includes some of the highest-energy particles from the cosmos that we have ever seen.

Read more

Physics in a Nutshell

Collision? Interaction? Event? What's that all about?

Interaction? Collision? Event? Physicists use many words to describe what you are seeing here. Today's column helps sort out those confusing terms.

Read the expanded column on the differences between collision, interaction, beam crossing and event.

Those of you who follow high-energy physics may often hear scientists casually toss around words that all seem to mean the same thing – interaction, collision, beam crossing or event. If you get confused when you hear a physicist talk about these things it's because…well, I have to admit…we can use them in confusing and inconsistent ways. Usually an expert can pick up on what is meant by context, but it can easily set a non-expert's mind a-spinning.

Let's start with the word interaction. Interaction means kind of what it sounds like: Two particles interact with each other or somehow affect one another. Sometimes, the interaction might change the particle's identity, as when a quark and antiquark come into contact, annihilate and turn into a Z boson, which then decays into an electron and positron. Or they might change each other's direction or rip each other apart. So an interaction occurs when two subatomic particles somehow "mess" with one another and change each other's identity, trajectory or energy.

A collision is an interaction in which the particles approach each other with some velocity. In a generic interaction, two particles could just be sitting at rest next to one another (although this essentially never happens in collider physics). In a collision, we need to somehow shoot one or both at the other.

Shooting particle beams at one another at the Tevatron or the Large Hadron Collider isn't like two fire hoses aimed at one another – it isn't a continuous stream of particles. Rather, the beam is separated into what we call bunches. They can be visualized as little sticks of spaghetti. Each stick is separated from others by some distance, and each stick contains on the order of a trillion particles.

In order to have a collision, you need to have two bunches traveling in opposite directions and timed exactly to pass through a detector at the same time. If they do, a collision could occur. A beam crossing refers to the moment in which bunches of beams are simultaneously in the center of a detector.

At the Large Hadron Collider, a single beam crossing often gives rise to twenty simultaneous collisions. Most of them aren't worth looking at, and the detector isn't programmed to record them all. But once in a while, one of those collisions might be the signature of something interesting, so the detector records the passage of all particles made by collisions in that particular beam crossing. We call this an event. An event is made of at least one interesting collision or interaction and an indeterminate number of simultaneous uninteresting ones. For some events, the collision of interest is of such a high energy that it totally dominates what the detector sees.

That's it. Just don't expect any physicist you speak with to be so precise with their language. We almost certainly will use terms interchangeably and you have to winnow out the exact meaning by context. Or, I suppose, by reminding us to be careful.

—Don Lincoln

Want a phrase defined? Have a question? Email


Latest Announcements

QuarkNet Boot Camp poster session - today

Bristol Renaissance Faire employee discount

Muscle Toning class - begins Aug. 7

Heartland Blood Drive - Aug. 13-14

Collecting school supplies - ends today

Volunteers invited to Fermilab prairie quadrat study - July 28

Ecology Lunch Bus Tour - July 31

ANSYS courses offered in July and August

Martial Arts classes - begin Aug. 6

Drawing to win palm tree pool - Aug. 15

University of Chicago Tuition Remission Program deadline - Aug. 17

Howard Levy & Chris Siebold - Aug. 18

Project Management Introduction class - Sept. 10-14

Fermilab Management Practices Seminar - begins Oct. 4

Interpersonal communication skills training - Nov. 14

Outdoor soccer - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m.

Fermilab employee discounts

Atrium work updates

Security, Privacy, Legal  |