Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012

Have a safe day!

Tuesday, Aug. 21

10:30 a.m.
Research Techniques Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Roger Rusack, University of Minnesota
Title: What Type of Forward Detector for CMS at the HL-LHC?

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Vitaly Pronskikh, Fermilab
Title: Radiation Studies for Mu2e Experiment

Wednesday, Aug. 22

3:30 p.m.


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Tuesday, Aug. 22

- Breakfast: All-American breakfast
- Tomato basil bisque
- Classic reuben sandwich
- Barbecue pork ribs
- Smart cuisine: Caribbean chicken skewers
- Grilled-chicken Caesar wrap
- Personal pizza
- Black and bleu salad

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Wednesday, Aug. 22
- Chile rellenos
- Spanish rice
- Confetti salad
- Pineapple flan

Friday, Aug. 24
- Mandarin orange and red-onion salad
- Grilled mahi mahi w/ tomatillo-avocado salsa
- Thai rice pilaf
- Coconut cake

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So long, Cockcroft-Walton

After 40 years operation, Fermilab's iconic Cockcroft-Walton generators will be decommissioned tomorrow morning. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Fermilab has had many different accelerators in its four-decade history. From the Linac to the Tevatron to the Main Injector, every one of them has been powered by a Cockcroft-Walton generator. That ends tomorrow, when the generators send out their last beam.

"They've been a critical part of our experiments," said Proton Source Department Head Bill Pellico, who is overseeing their decommissioning. "People who work on these things have come to love them, but it's time to move on and modernize."

Developed at the University of Cambridge in the early 1930s by John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton to accomplish the first artificial splitting of an atom, Cockcroft-Walton generators became an essential part of particle accelerators and other devices.

However, most particle accelerators today use radio-frequency quadrupole systems that are more efficient than Cockcroft-Walton generators. Fermilab and Los Alamos National Laboratory were, until now, the only two major laboratories in the world still operating them. At the end of the current accelerator complex shutdown, Fermilab's accelerators will run on RFQ systems.

Pellico said that, while the Cockcroft-Walton generators have been generally reliable over the past 40 years, they will not be up to the task of running Intensity Frontier experiments.

"It's like an old car," he said. "After 40 years, maintaining it becomes more and more difficult." The new RFQ systems will be much smaller and have fewer parts to maintain and replace over their lifetimes.

There is one aspect of the Cockcroft-Walton generators that is irreplaceable: their aesthetic. The generators' distinctive design inspires wonder in the many tour groups who see them every week.

"They look like something out of science fiction, and people think they're cool," Pellico said. The generator seen on the tour will be disconnected but largely remain in place in its room. The other generator, located in a separate enclosure, will likely be removed and preserved.

Pellico said that Los Alamos is watching Fermilab's conversion to RFQ systems to inform their own planned decommissioning of their Cockcroft Walton generators.

Tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the Linac Gallery, AD will host a ceremonial final shutdown of the Cockcroft-Walton generators. Jim Wendt and Ray Hren, retired Fermilab operators who commissioned and worked on the generators until 2010, will be on hand to shut down the generators for the last time.

"I'll miss the Cockcroft-Waltons," operations specialist Pat Karns said. "Hopefully the RFQ will run more stably than the Cockcroft-Waltons and I won't get as many calls at 2 a.m. when something's broken."

Joseph Piergrossi

Photo of the Day

Lotus ring pond

American lotuses float on the ring pond near C4 and D0. Photo: Alex Waller, AD
In the News

Astrophysicists simulate 14 billion years of cosmic evolution in high resolution

From Wired UK, Aug. 15, 2012

Astrophysicists have created the most realistic computer simulation of the universe's evolution to date, tracking activity from the Big Bang to now—a time span of around 14 billion years—in high resolution.

Created by a team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics (CfA) in collaboration with researchers at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), the Arepo software provides detailed imagery of different galaxies in the local universe using a technique known as "moving mesh".

Unlike previous model simulators, such as the Gadget code, Arepo's hydrodynamic model replicates the gaseous formations following the Big Bang by using a virtual, flexible grid that has the capacity to move to match the motions of the gas, stars, dark matter and dark energy that make up space—it's like a virtual model of the cosmic web, able to bend and flex to support the matter and celestial bodies that make up the universe. Old simulators instead used a more regimented, fixed, cubic grid.

Read more

Director's Corner

Laboratory-wide survey on ES&H culture

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

In April, the ES&H Section distributed a survey on laboratory safety culture to Fermilab employees. I have reviewed the results of this important survey and wish to share them with you.

I am very pleased to report that survey participation was nearly 70 percent, a very high response for a survey done on a voluntary basis. I want to thank you for your participation.

The roughly 50 questions covered the gamut of Fermilab's safety issues. Given the good response rate, the survey provides us with an overall view of where we are in ES&H and where we need to focus our future efforts. In addition, DOE encouraged its laboratories to conduct their own surveys so that we could benchmark ourselves and determine what is working and what is not. (We will receive those benchmarking results in the fall.)

Overall the results were quite positive. Nearly everyone reports that we have a good safety culture, that people are treated with respect and that they are engaged in our safety program. This is not something that every laboratory or corporation can say of its work environment. The lab has worked hard over the years to get to this point and we hope employees, as well as visitors and contractors, will continue to feel this way. Open communication of issues is key.

The areas that people pointed out as having the most room for improvement included high workload and time pressures, multitasking and many new, unfamiliar, non-routine tasks as we move into new projects. We are currently looking at ways to best address these issues and are planning to include employees in the process. You are our eyes and ears in the field and can help us figure out our next steps, so we will ask for your input on how to tackle these issues.

In addition to the answers to the survey questions, we received more than 100 comments and suggestions. Quite a few people commented on how much the ES&H program has improved in recent years and that we should look to implement Human Performance Improvement to improve our safety and efficiency record. This feedback is along the lines of my comments in my recent article on zero defects.

Several also commented on the difficulty of reading The Porcelain Press, and we are currently working to improve the publication's format to address this. We will look to address other suggestions as well and will share them with you in the future.

You can view the complete survey results, including those broken down by divisions, sections and centers (though some were grouped together to ensure anonymity).

With your help, we will work to fulfill our mission of making Fermilab a safe work environment for everyone.

Construction Update

CMTF Compressor Building fills up

Refurbished Tevatron cryogenic compressors are installed in the new Cryomodule Test Facility Compressor Building. Photo: Jerry Leibfritz

At the far north end of the laboratory, a large team has been busy installing equipment in the newly constructed Compressor Building of the Cryomodule Test Facility. Since beneficial occupancy was taken of the CMTF building in January, the AD Cryogenic Department has been managing the installation of the infrastructure necessary for a new cryogenic plant that will support the superconducting radio-frequency test facilities at NML and CMTF.

Starting with an empty building, several Fermilab technicians and engineers, as well as contract electricians, pipefitters, welders and carpenters, have been diligently installing the systems necessary to be ready for commissioning the new cryogenic refrigerator, scheduled for delivery in early 2013. The picture above shows seven Tevatron helium compressors that were repurposed for use at CMTF, along with the new piping and electrical infrastructure needed to operate them.


Butts & Guts offered twice a week - begins today

Zumba offered twice a week - begins Aug. 22

Paddle boat tour - Aug. 23

Free weight management course - register by Aug. 24

URA Visiting Scholars Program deadline - Aug. 27

Scottish country dancing in Ramsey Auditorium - through Aug. 31

International Folk Dancing in Ramsey Auditorium - through August

Project Management Introduction class - Sept. 10-14

Fermilab Management Practices Seminar - begins Oct. 4

Interpersonal communication skills training - Nov. 14

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

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