Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012

Have a safe day!

Tuesday, Sept. 4

3:30 p.m.


Wednesday, Sept. 5

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Artemis Spyrou, Michigan State University
Title: Nuclear Structure Along the Neutron Dripline

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Tuesday, Sept. 4

- Breakfast: All-American breakfast
- Tomato florentine soup
- Twin chili cheese dogs
- Chicken cacciatore
- Smart cuisine: Mediterranean baked tilapia
- Rachel melt panini
- Personal pizza
- Chicken BLT ranch salad

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Chez Leon

Wednesday, Sept. 5
- Northern Italian lasagna
- Caesar salad
- Fruits of the Forest pie

Friday, Sept. 7
- Potato, bacon and cheese soufflé
- Lobster tail with champagne butter sauce
- Spaghetti squash
- Snowpeas
- Strawberry crepes

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IMSA mentors teach students a physicist's approach at Fermilab

IMSA student Laura Napierkowski, who worked with Fermilab's Brendan Casey and Mandy Rominsky, assembles straw detectors for the Muon g-2 project. Napierkowski eventually went on to present her work at the annual conference of the American Physical Society. Photo: Mandy Rominsky

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy has always had a close relationship with Fermilab. Former Fermilab Director Leon Lederman was its cofounder and inaugural resident scholar, helping shape the next generation of scientists. His legacy continues today as many IMSA high-school students come to Fermilab to do research.

IMSA's Student Inquiry and Research program allows students to work on actual research projects once a week at a variety of institutions in Chicagoland.

"When I heard there was this program, I thought, 'If I had this opportunity in high school, it would've been awesome,' " said Fermilab postdoc Marcelle Soares-Santos. She worked with physicist Huan Lin to co-mentor a student last year.

In a letter to Fermilab Director Pier Oddone, IMSA President Glenn W. "Max" McGee and Coordinator Judith Scheppler thanked Soares-Santos, Lin and 27 other Fermilab scientists, graduate students and postdocs for their work over the past year.

"SIR is a world-class program that ignites and nurtures creative ethical minds that advance the human condition in mathematics, science, technology, engineering and other fields," McGee and Scheppler said in the letter. "We could not have done this without Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory as an esteemed partner."

Students work on a variety of projects during their time at Fermilab. Scientists Brendan Casey and Mandy Rominsky have advised a pair of students for the past three years, designing parts of the Muon g-2 detector.

"As an advisor, you have to refine your project," Rominsky said. "You want them to be able to have a project that's all theirs at the end."

That means breaking down the projects and making every work session self-contained.

"The students are extremely intelligent, and they have the raw talent to accomplish anything we ask them to," Casey said, "but it reminds you that you have to put things in the language of someone who doesn't have a Ph.D. in physics."

That is a good exercise for any physicist, said Tengming Shen, who also mentored a student last year.

"We teach the students a physicist's approach to cutting a problem open," Shen said. "It's difficult but that's the beauty of what engineers and physicists are doing."

At the end of their SIR experience, students write a peer-reviewed paper – Casey said the referees "can be as tough as those of Physical Review Letters," a prestigious physics journal – and give a presentation at a special colloquium called the IMSAloquium. Casey said a former student of his has also presented at the conference of the American Physical Society and that he and Rominsky regularly hire former students to work over the summer.

On Aug. 29, 16 new students arrived at Fermilab to begin working on their projects for the 2012-13 school year.

"These students have a very broad spectrum of options for their SIRs," Casey said. "They could go to hospitals, Argonne, different corporations. We're fortunate that some of them choose to come here."

Joseph Piergrossi

Photo of the Day

DECam through the webcam

On Thursday, workers mated the Dark Energy Camera 570-megapixel imager, seen here hanging from a crane, to the corrector optics of the Blanco telescope at the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory in Chile. This image was taken by the DECam webcam. Photo courtesy of Peter Garbincius, DO
In the News

Fermilab physicists present their reworked plans for giant neutrino experiment

From Science, Aug. 29, 2012

Five months ago, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) asked physicists at the United States' sole laboratory specializing in particle physics to chop plans for their $1.9 billion flagship experiment for the next decade into more affordable chunks. Yesterday, officials from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, presented their revised plan for the first stage of the Long-Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) to a federal advisory panel. The plan's preferred option would cost $789 million—but U.S. planners say they could improve the project substantially if foreign governments are willing to chip in another $135 million.

Read more

Director's Corner

Culture clash

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

At the recent meeting of the Employee Advisory Group, we discussed some of the results of the recent safety survey. One of the concerns arising from the survey was that employees often feel they have too many tasks and not enough time to do them. This can lead to distraction and, consequently, to employees' performing their tasks unsafely, especially if employees are buffeted by multiple demands and take shortcuts to complete multiple jobs.

Performing multiple tasks and completing them safely should not be mutually exclusive goals. At our lab, however, there is a strong culture to get things done no matter how tough the circumstances are. This "can do no matter what" attitude at Fermilab is wonderful and it serves us well in many instances. However, if it leads to distractions, too-long working hours or shortcuts in matters of safety, it will serve us very poorly.

During discussions with the EAG, I became aware that part of employees' frustration regarding multiple tasks stems from the perception that it is a manifestation of poor management and that we could easily resolve the issue. However, the problem is in large part intrinsic to the transition phase the laboratory is going through. We have moved from an era of operating facilities reliably with almost no construction projects to an era in which we not only continue to run major facilities, but also develop multiple new projects. In many instances we cannot assign a technical expert to each and every project or program, so we share the expertise among multiple projects.

The laboratory's engagement in multiple activities and programs is a good thing, especially in this turbulent era when individual projects can suffer major setbacks from Washington at any time. What everyone has to understand, however, is that working safely is a higher imperative than getting things done on time. I am quite willing to take the bad marks the laboratory may get for not meeting milestones, but none of us should be willing to take chances with our personal safety in order to meet a schedule. When our "can do no matter what" culture clashes with our "safety first" culture, follow the latter: We all have your back!

Construction Update

Building first of three attached structures for LArTF cylinder

Workers begin building the computer-electronics room, an attachment to the the LArTF building. Photo: Cindy Arnold

Whittaker Construction Company, contracted to construct the Liquid-Argon Test Facility, has begun work on the attached structures adjacent to the main cylindrical building. There will be three attached structures. Pictured here are the footings for the walls of the computer-electronics room, which will house the MicroBooNE data acquisition computers along with the standard network communications and accelerator timing racks. Other detector and readout electronics will reside on a platform within the main cylinder, built directly over the liquid-argon tank. The doorway provides passage from the cylinder into the computer room.

The second structure to be attached to the main cylinder is a loading dock with an overhead crane that extends into the cylinder on the side opposite that seen in the picture. The third attached structure will be a stairway "head-house" to access one of the two stairways that leads down to the platform and floor of the cylinder. The head-house will be constructed on the right-hand side of the cylinder as seen in this picture.

A computer drawing of a different perspective of the LArTF cylinder. Image: PPD

Today's New Announcements

Scottish country dancing returns to Kuhn Village Barn - Sept. 4

Free Weight Management class - begins Sept. 6

Walk 2 Run - begins Sept. 6

Fermilab Arts & Lecture Series: Epigenetics - Sept. 7

Fermilab Arts & Lecture Series: Broadway's Next H!T Musical - Sept. 22

Road D closure - through mid-October

Professional development courses

Bowlers wanted for 2012/2013 season

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

Atrium work updates

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