Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012

Have a safe day!

Thursday, Sept. 20

2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Johannes Heinonen, University of Chicago
Title: Lorentz Invariance in Heavy Particle Effective Theories

3:30 p.m.


Friday, Sept. 21

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Patrick Huber, Virginia Tech
Title: Large Theta13—Challenge and Opportunity

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

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Thursday, Sept. 20

- Breakfast: Mexican omelet
- Cuban black beans
- Ranchero steak tacos
- Stuffed pork chops
- Smart cuisine: Brazilian beef chimichurri
- Turkey BLT panini
- Four-cheese pesto pizza
- Buffalo chicken-tender ranch salad

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Friday, Sept. 21
- Salad with cranberries, walnuts and blue cheese
- Pan-roasted beef tenderloin with stroganoff sauce
- Barley risotto
- Sautéed baby zucchini
- Cocoa cappuccino mousse

Wednesday, Sept. 26
- Crab cakes with Cajun aioli
- Lemon orzo
- Sautéed tri-color peppers
- Sour cream pound cake with raspberry sauce

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

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First student from Madagascar to study at Fermilab: a dream come true

Laza Rakotondravohitra is the first international student from Madagascar to conduct experimental particle physics research at Fermilab. Photo: Jessica Orwig

As a graduate student, Laza Rakotondravohitra has already been a part of a couple of firsts in particle physics. He attended the first African School of Physics. He is also setting the bar high as the first international student from Madagascar to conduct research at Fermilab.

Over the next three years, Rakotondravohitra will study under the supervision of Fermilab scientist Jorge Morfin as he works toward his doctorate in physics, which he will earn from Madagascar’s primary public university, the University of Antananarivo.

Rakotondravohitra arrived at Fermilab this August, and a long-awaited arrival it was.

Two years ago, Rakotondravohitra was one of 59 students who attended the first African School of Physics, an intense three-week program where leading international scientists discussed cutting-edge theoretical and experimental physics with students well-versed in theoretical physics, but most of whom were from African countries that lack the facilities to teach experimental particle physics first-hand.

By the end of the program, professors ranked Rakotondravohitra as one of their top students, and with encouragement from Deputy Director Young-Kee Kim and Fermilab scientist Christine Darve, the head school organizer, Rakotondravohitra applied for and was eventually awarded a Fermilab International Fellowship to study at Fermilab and earn a degree as an experimental physicist. The next step was finding him a supervisor.

Enter Jorge Morfin, co-spokesperson of the MINERvA collaboration at the time. He had recruited five Latin American universities to the collaboration so their students could learn experimental techniques and earn their degrees on the experiment. And when Morfin looked to expand his established program to include students from other countries, Rakotondravohitra was an obvious choice.

“Various professors of universities in Africa were contacted, and they agreed that Laza was a great person to initiate the expansion,” Morfin said. “He came very highly recommended.”

Rakotondravohitra is working closely with Morfin and Debbie Harris on MINERvA and is familiarizing himself with the mechanics of experimental particle physics – knowledge he will bring with him when he returns to his home country.

“In Madagascar we don’t have experimental physics, so I’m going to try to use my future knowledge to help my country and students interested in experimental physics,” he said.

Rakotondravohitra thanks his academic supervisor in Madagascar, Roland Raboanary; professor Randriamanantany Zely Arivelo at University of Antananarivo; professor Stephan Narison a scientist at CNRS in Montpellier, France; Koloina Randrianarivony, experimental physicist from Madagascar; the first African School of Physics team; and the MINERvA team. He is also thankful for the support of his family. His wife will be joining him in Batavia this December.

“It was a dream to come here, so I will do as best as I can,” Rakotondravohitra said.

Jessica Orwig

In the News

'Tantalizing' hints of room-temperature superconductivity

From Nature News, Sept. 18, 2012

Researchers in Germany have claimed a breakthrough: a material that can act as a superconductor — transmit electricity with zero resistance — at room temperature and above. Superconductors offer huge potential energy savings, but until now have worked only at temperatures of lower than about -110 °C.

Now, Pablo Esquinazi and his colleagues at the University of Leipzig report that flakes of humble graphite soaked in water seem to continue superconducting at temperatures of greater than 100 °C. Even Esquinazi admits that the claim “sounds like science fiction”, but the work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials, and other physicists contacted by Nature say that the results, although tentative, merit further scrutiny.

Read more
In the News

What sequestration would do to the country's science budgets

From The Atlantic, Sept. 17, 2012

Last August, to end the debt ceiling crisis that led to a downgraded U.S. credit rating and a deeper decline in Americans' esteem for their leaders, President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011. The legislation -- a stopgap measure meant to allow the country to raise its debt limit in the short term while reducing its deficit in the long -- included a significant stipulation: If Congress failed to produce a more permanent deficit reduction bill by early January 2013, then an automatic cut would take effect. Known as the "sequester" -- but perhaps better known as the "ticking timebomb" or "the doomsday scenario" or the "that's what we get, you guys" -- the cut would trim federal spending by roughly $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years.

Read more
Result of the Week

Tevatron team tackles top mass measurement

CDF and DZero team up to tackle the measurement of the mass of the top quark.

When two big players team up to tackle a challenge, they can make a big impact in the hard-hitting world of particle physics. Collisions at the Tevatron created massive opponents for teams of physicists, including the heaviest observed particle in the Standard Model, the top quark. Pinning down the mass of the top quark plays a pivotal part in probing the Standard Model, which predicts a particular relationship between the masses of the Higgs boson, W boson and the top quark. By teaming together, the CDF and DZero collaborations have triumphed over the top quark by making the most precise measurement of its mass to date and further testing the consistency of the Standard Model.

Individually, the CDF and DZero top quark mass groups are already waging a war on two fronts, battling two types of uncertainty while aiming for the most precise measurement possible. Adding more data to an analysis can reduce the statistical uncertainty of its measurement but will not help improve the final precision much when the limiting factor is the understanding of the biases, known as the systematic uncertainty. By teaming up their different detectors, the analyzers at CDF and DZero can combine many analysis channels in a way that reduces the total systematic uncertainty.

Together, the Tevatron experiments measured the top quark mass to 0.5 percent, making it the most precise mass measurement of any of the Standard Model quarks. This precise measurement can be used to test the internal consistency of the Standard Model, since the mass of the top quark factors into many Standard Model calculations. Together with the W boson mass, this new top quark measurement tightens the constraints on the mass of the Higgs boson but still prefers the mass of the newly observed particle that may be the Higgs. This Tevatron team has tackled the top quark and made a massive impact that will affect the field of high-energy physics for years.

—Mike Cooke

These physicists led the effort to combine the Tevatron top quark mass results.
In Brief

New conference travel reporting and spending requirements

As you may be aware, DOE recently issued updated conference reporting and spending requirements for both domestic and foreign travel. DOE must approve conference attendance before costs related to the event can be incurred.

If you submit a request for conference-related travel, the Travel Office will communicate DOE approvals to you via email.

We are currently reviewing our existing database to enable you to identify and view conferences submitted to DOE for their approval. Once implemented, we will announce this information through Fermilab Today.

Here is the bottom line:

  • Submit your conference attendance request as far in advance as possible (a minimum of 30 days prior to the conference start date), thereby allowing the Travel Office to facilitate DOE approval.
  • If you have submitted a request, you will be notified as soon as the Travel Office receives approval.
  • Do not incur any travel-related costs—including conference registration, airfare or hotels—prior to being notified by the Travel Office of DOE approval.

Feel free to contact the Travel Office at if you have any questions.


Today's New Announcements

Discussion of the views of Sam Harris on religion

Artist Reception - Martyl - today

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

NALWO and Playgroup SciTech Museum visit - Oct. 6

Update on Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

Change in Users' Office hours

International Folk Dancing returns to Kuhn Village Barn

Scottish country dancing returns to Kuhn Village Barn

Martial Arts classes

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

Professional development courses

Atrium work updates

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