Friday, Sept. 7, 2012

Have a safe day!

Friday, Sept. 7

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Kalanand Mishra, Fermilab
Title: Search for New Physics in Di-Boson Events at CMS

8 p.m.
Fermilab Lecture Series - Auditorium
Speaker: Dr. Alex Ruthenburg, University of Chicago
Title: Is the Age-Old Debate about Nature vs. Nurture Merely a Question of Packaging?

Monday, Sept. 10



4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Special Topics: Shutdown Work Status and Plans; Proton Improvement Plan; DES Installation Status; MicroBooNE Status

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Sept. 7

- Breakfast: blueberry-stuffed French toast
- Hungarian pork goulash soup
- Chicken fajita sandwich
- Polish reuben casserole
- Smart cuisine: catch-of-the-day seafood linguine
- Eggplant parmesan panini
- Green and white pizza
- Breakfast-for-lunch omelet bar

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu
Chez Leon

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

Wednesday, Sept. 12
- Stuffed fillet of sole with lemon butter sauce
- Steamed green beans
- Lemon tart with coconut crust

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Press Release

Crews complete first block of North America's most advanced neutrino experiment

Technicians add modules to the first block of the NOvA detector. Photo: Ron Williams, NOvA lead foreman

Editor's note: You can view a live webcast of the installation of the NOvA far detector from the Fermilab website.

Today [Thursday, Sept. 6], technicians in Minnesota will begin to position the first block of a detector that will be part of the largest, most advanced neutrino experiment in North America.

The NuMI Off-Axis Neutrino Appearance experiment – NOvA for short – will study the properties of neutrinos, such as their masses, and investigate whether they helped give matter an edge over antimatter after both were created in equal amounts in the big bang. The experiment is on track to begin taking data in 2013.

"This is a significant step toward a greater understanding of neutrinos," said Marvin Marshak, NOvA laboratory director and director of undergraduate research at the University of Minnesota. "It represents many months of hard work on the part of the whole NOvA collaboration."

Neutrinos are elementary particles, basic building blocks of matter in the Standard Model of particle physics. They are almost massless, and they interact so rarely with other matter that they can move straight through hundreds of miles of solid rock.

The NOvA experiment will study a beam of neutrinos streaming about 500 miles through the Earth from the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago to a large detector in Ash River, Minnesota. The particles, generated in what will be the most powerful neutrino beam in the world, will make the trip in less than 3 milliseconds.

Crews will use a 750,000-pound pivoter machine to lift the first 417,000-pound block – one of 28 that will make up the detector – and put it in place at the end of the 300-foot-long detector hall. The delicate process may take multiple days.

Each block of the detector measures 51 by 51 by 7 feet and is made up of 384 plastic PVC modules. About 170 students from the University of Minnesota built the modules, stringing them with optical fibers and attaching their endcaps.

Scientists and engineers at the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory developed the machine that glues modules into blocks. Scientists and engineers at Fermilab developed the pivoter machine and assembly table.

"About a dozen scientists, engineers and technicians from Fermilab and Argonne have been up to Ash River multiple times in the past year to make this thing happen," said Rick Tesarek, Fermilab physicist and NOvA deputy project leader. "They're part of a team of over a hundred collaborators who have been actively working on the experiment."

Read more

Video of the Day

NOvA explores neutrino mysteries

Neutrinos are everywhere. They're produced by the sun, the earth, and the food we eat. They could hold the key to understanding the origins of the universe. Video: Fermilab

Neutrinos are a mystery to physicists. They exist in three different flavors and mass states and may be able to give hints about the origins of the matter-dominated universe. A new long-baseline experiment led by Fermilab, called NOvA, may provide some answers.

View Fermilab's new six-minute video to learn about neutrinos and NOvA's role in the study of these mysterious particles.

In the News

More tau leptons than expected

From Physics, Sept. 5, 2012

As reported in Physical Review Letters, the BaBar collaboration at SLAC has analyzed a large data set and found an excess of events containing tau leptons in the decay of bottom mesons that doesn't agree with the predictions of the standard model of particle physics.

BaBar looked for the decays of bottom mesons (a bound state of a bottom quark and a light quark) into a charm meson, a charged lepton, and a neutrino. Compared to a previous analysis, they were able to increase the efficiency with which they identified signal events by more than a factor of 3. BaBar determined the ratio of those decays that contained tau leptons to those that contained light charged leptons (electrons or muons), obtaining a larger ratio than predicted by the standard model by 3.4 standard deviations.

Read more

Physics in a Nutshell

What's the deal with antimatter?

Antimatter can be found in science fiction and in fact. It both powers fictional starships and is associated with one of the most perplexing mysteries in modern physics. Since our theories suggest that matter and antimatter should have been made in equal quantities, yet we observe only matter, this mystery is really quite fundamental: Why are we here at all?

Read the expanded column on antimatter. View a video on antimatter.

Star Trek taught us that if we want to go blasting all over the galaxy, we need to harness the power of antimatter. Of course it also taught us about dilithium crystals, Vulcan neck pinches and Klingon blood wine. Is there any reason to think that antimatter is any less fictional than these other outlandish ideas?

In 1928, Paul Dirac predicted the existence of antimatter when he successfully merged Einstein's theory of special relativity with quantum mechanics. His equations had two solutions. One explained ordinary matter while the other solution was the negative of the first. After people proposed a few ideas as to what the second solution meant, the situation became greatly clarified in 1932 with Carl Anderson's discovery of antimatter high in the Colorado Rockies.

Antimatter is actually not much different from ordinary matter. There are antiquarks, antileptons, antiprotons, antineutrons and antielectrons. If we had a bunch of these antiparticles, we could make anti-atoms and indeed an entire anti-universe.

Things get trickier when ordinary matter and antimatter are placed in contact with one another. When they are, they annihilate each other, resulting in a huge amount of energy. Something with the mass of a paper clip touching an identical amount of antimatter would release the same amount of energy as the first atomic explosion at the Trinity site in New Mexico. It could also produce enough energy to lift a space shuttle to orbit 20 times. The plot device in Dan Brown's Angels and Demons is physically possible.

Physically possible, perhaps, but practically impossible. Fermilab's antiproton source made more antimatter over its quarter-century of operations than any other facility. Yet if you took all of the antimatter ever made and combined it with matter, the energy release would warm about 5 gallons of coffee from room temperature to something drinkable. Making antimatter is really hard. If you take a tremendous amount of energy, you can make matter and antimatter in equal (minuscule) quantities.

If antimatter and matter are made in equal quantities, then we have a problem. In the early universe, the cosmos was filled with energy. As the universe expanded and cooled, the energy converted into identical amounts of matter and antimatter, and yet the universe we inhabit appears to be made entirely of matter. So where did all the antimatter go?

This is a good question, and we don't have a good explanation yet. It appears that very early in the history of the universe, just a fraction of a second after it began, an unknown mechanism caused a very, very small imbalance. For every 1,000,000,000 antimatter particles, there were 1,000,000,001 matter ones. The billion matter and antimatter particles annihilated, leaving the tiny trace of leftover matter from which our cosmos was built. Several measurements at the Tevatron and the LHC have investigated this question and will continue to study the matter in detail. It is fair to say that the antimatter asymmetry is one of the central questions of particle physics today.

—Don Lincoln

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Today's New Announcements

Martial Arts classes

Fermilab Arts & Lecture Series: Epigenetics - today

Barn dance - Sept. 9

NALWO annual autumn potluck luncheon at Users' Center - Sept. 10

International Folk Dancing returns to Kuhn Village Barn - Sept. 13

NALWO and Playgroup SciTech Museum visit - Oct. 6

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

Scottish country dancing returns to Kuhn Village Barn

Road D closure - through mid-October

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

Professional development courses

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