Monday, July 30, 2012

Have a safe day!

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

2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Joseph Zuntz, University College London
Title: Cosmic Shear Challenges

3:30 p.m.


Tuesday, July 31
Undergraduate Lecture Series - One West
Speaker: Theresa Shaw, Fermilab
Title: Electrical Engineering at Fermilab

3:30 p.m.


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Monday, July 30

- Breakfast: Croissant sandwich
- Smart cuisine: *potato leek soup
- Monte Cristo
- Barbecue chicken breast w/ stuffing
- Alfredo tortellini
- Chicken ranch wrapper
- Assorted sliced pizza
- Szechuan-style pork lo mein

*Carb-restricted alternative

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

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

Friday, Aug. 3

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


Fermilab Today

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Tip of the Week

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Layering detection: CMS gets an upgrade

In this factory at CERN, collaborators from all over the world work to put together the chambers that will be used to track muons in the CMS detector. Photo: Anaïs Schaeffer, CERN

The CMS upgrade is under way at CERN. With the help of several international collaborations, including Fermilab, the Compact Muon Solenoid detector should have a fourth layer of muon detection chambers installed by the start of 2014.

This layer, composed of cathode strip chambers, will be used to follow the path of muons even farther than before.

"The CSCs in the first three layers are performing very well," said Giorgio Apollinari, head of Fermilab's Technical Division and previous CSC construction manager. "We determined that adding a fourth layer was the most appropriate upgrade for CMS. We want to be able to track the path of muons longer, improving our measurements of their momenta with reduced background tracks."

Scientists study the muon, a heavier cousin of the electron, to see how subatomic particles interact and decay. A muon couples with other heavier particles much as an electron does. With its larger mass, the muon travels nearly undisturbed through steel and iron, while the matter absorbs electrons and particles produced in CMS collisions. This feature makes the muon an ideal probe for scientists to study the decay of heavier particles, such as those produced by the decay of a Higgs boson.

In an immaculate factory on the French side of the CERN campus, scientists, technicians and engineers from Beijing, St. Petersburg, the United States and CERN itself are assembling the chambers using the same tools and equipment that were used for the original CMS production of cathode strip chambers at Fermilab. Using precise care and following rigorous safety and quality protocols to prevent damaging any of the pieces, they plan to complete half of the chambers needed for the fourth layer by the end of this year. That's 36 chambers, each comprising seven copper panels.

"We already have about 470 chambers working and taking data for the CMS experiment," said Armando Lanaro, CSC construction coordinator at CERN. "This fourth detector layer will add redundancy to the existing tracking."

The CSCs have grooves etched along the length of each panel. Perpendicular to the grooves, wires thinner than a human hair span the panel's width. The grid pattern allows the detector to track muons as they form from an initial proton-proton collision in the center of the detector and eventually decay into other bits.

"Once the fourth layer is in place, the detector will be what we originally planned to build," Apollinari said. "The original design worked so nicely, and the chambers were designed so well, we just want more."

The copper panels that make up the chambers' skeleton are procured through private companies before they are cut into the proper shape at Fermilab. Fermilab technical staff members also engrave the panels.

"All of the panels need to have strips engraved into them to provide the second coordinate," Lanaro said. "Fermilab does the milling. It's really an artwork."

Once the panels are engraved with independent strips and shipped to CERN, they are wrapped with a gold-coated tungsten wire that is 50 microns thick. Wound continuously over four hours, the wire measures about 2.6 kilometers in length and creates 1,000 strands on each side, each tensioned to 250 grams. A machine built by Panasonic specifically for this purpose solders the wires to a strip lining the edges of the panel. It takes six-and-a-half hours to solder all 4,000 joints. Technicians attach electrical components to each joint, and the wire is cut at each junction to make 2,000 independent strands (1,000 on each side of the panel).

"After it's all put together, we test it," Lanaro said. "It has to be clean, without any dust. If it's not clean, it could cause a background event and hide a real signal."

Read more

Ashley WennersHerron

Photo of the Day

Early morning rays

Sunlight peeked from behind the clouds over Fermilab early Friday morning. Photo: Leticia Shaddix, PPD
In Brief

Call for applications: URA Visiting Scholars Program

Universities Research Association, Inc. has announced a deadline of Aug. 27 for the submission of applications for the fall 2012 cycle of awards in the URA Visiting Scholars Program at Fermilab. Award recipients will be notified at the end of September.

These awards provide financial support for faculty and students from URA's 85 member universities to work at Fermilab for periods of up to one year. URA makes two rounds of awards each year, in the spring and the fall. The application deadline for the spring 2013 cycle is February 25, 2013.

Proposed visits can range from attendance at Fermilab conferences or summer schools to year-long research stays. Support from this program can include transportation costs and local lodging expenses during a series of shorter visits or salary support during a longer visit. Individual awardees may receive up to $50,000 in any 12-month period.

The program is sponsored by URA. The 85 URA-member universities each have agreed to contribute $5,000 a year for five years in support of joint Fermilab-URA research and education initiatives. For details on the URA Visiting Scholars Program at Fermilab, including eligibility, application process, award administration and the names of past award recipients, visit the URA Visiting Scholars website.

Tip of the Week:

The need for transparency in medical studies

To help reduce the incidence of the publication of misleading medical studies, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act will require medical journals to disclose how much money researchers receive to conduct a medical trial.

I am often asked about new medical procedures and devices. As a director of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, I was glad to have the opportunity to attend a presentation related to this topic at the society's April conference. Neurosurgeon Charles D. Rosen gave the presentation. He explained that he often sees patients for "salvage" procedures after they've undergone a prior procedure. Sometimes the initial surgery or surgeries did not resolve a problem or, worse, they introduced new problems. This prompted Dr. Rosen to delve deeper into the research behind the drugs and other products that physicians used in the surgeries.

Medical companies sometimes pay researchers large sums of money. They do this for various reasons, including defraying research costs. This is not a problem in itself, but large payments raise flags. Dr. Rosen's research into some of these studies led him to some startling discoveries.

Medical studies can be deceptive when one assesses only the outcome. The way the study is conducted is just as important as the conclusions researchers draw, and these details are sometimes misleading.

Dr. Rosen gave an example of a study in which the researchers deemed a spinal fusion system successful based merely on X-ray evidence of bone fusion. They failed to mention that the system left two-thirds of treated patients dependent on narcotics for pain control.

In another instance, a drug company set out to prove that its new drug was no worse than an established drug in terms of side effects and reported only on the favorable comparison. The company neglected to mention any novel problems the new drug may have had.

There was even a case of a medical-journal editor who was "bought" to keep him from publishing dissenting opinions on an article on a particular medical procedure.

Perhaps the most despicable account was the case in which a researcher fabricated the participants in a drug study.

Dr. Rosen has testified to Congress on behalf of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. This act, to be implemented in 2013, will require medical journals to disclose the amount of funding researchers receive to conduct a human trial on a drug, device or procedure. Traditionally, physician researchers simply acknowledge that they receive funding from another party without having to specify the extent of the monetary support.

Some medical device and pharmaceutical companies have been court-ordered to open their books. This information is available on the Ethical Doctor website, which also provides analyses of some medical studies. If you and your doctor are considering treatment changes, the site may offer some useful perspective.

Brian Svazas, M.D., M.P.H.


New employees - July

The following full-time and long-term employees started at Fermilab in July:

Matthew Alvarez, AD; Kavin Ammigan, DO; Jack Anderson, DO; Valerie Bailey, FI; Satyajit Behari, PPD; Brian Hartsell, AD; Andrew Huguenard, CD; Brendan Kiburg, PPD; Lidija Kokoska, TD; James O'Leary, CD; Katherine Rogers, PPD; Andre Salles, DO; Javier Tiffenberg, PPD.

Fermilab welcomes them to the laboratory.

In the News

Creating Higgs-like excitations using ultracold atoms

From ars technica, July 26, 2012

Systems of cold atoms can sometimes give rise to behavior surprisingly like free particles moving close to the speed of light. However, unlike the kind of physics you see in experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the "particles" are actually collective phenomena, arising out of strong interactions among the components of the system. By manipulating the properties of the material, researchers can produce behavior analogous to many interesting systems in high energy physics—only at very low temperatures and with a "speed of light" dictated by the material's characteristics.

A new experiment by Manuel Endres and colleagues has achieved a Higgs-like excitation in a system composed of ultracold rubidium atoms. By pushing the atoms to a quantum critical point, where they change from an insulator to a superfluid, they were able to generate a transition that was analogous to the break in symmetry that gives rise to the Higgs field.

Read more


Ecology Lunch Bus Tour - July 31

ANSYS courses offered in July and August

Martial Arts classes - begin Aug. 6

Muscle Toning classes - begin Aug. 7

Heartland Blood Drive - Aug. 13-14

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.

Bristol Renaissance Faire employee discount

Other Fermilab employee discounts

Atrium work updates