Friday, Oct. 19, 2012

Have a safe day!

Friday, Oct. 19

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar
Speaker: Mark Williams, Lancaster University
Title: Probing Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry in the Universe Using Muons from B Meson Decays at DZero

Monday, Oct. 22

2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Alexander Belikov, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris
Title: Indirect Detection of Dark Matter at GeV and TeV Scales

3:30 p.m.


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Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Oct. 19

- Breakfast: blueberry-stuffed French toast
- New Brunswick stew
- Philly portobello sandwich
- Southern chicken and biscuits
- Smart cuisine: Greek fish florentine
- Baked ham and Swiss ciabatta
- Personal pizza
- Malaysian curried chicken

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu
Chez Leon

Friday, Oct. 19

Wednesday, Oct. 24
- Rouladen
- Egg noodles with dill
- Glazed carrots
- Apple walnut cake

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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US LHC Users Organization meeting - today and tomorrow

Members of the US LHC Users Organization met at Fermilab in 2010 for their annual meeting. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Around 100 Large Hadron Collider collaborators from around the United States are joining their colleagues at Fermilab for the rest of this week to present and discuss their research. The gathering is the annual meeting of the US LHC Users Organization.

The LHC benefits from the contributions of 97 U.S. universities and laboratories. More than a quarter of the engineers, physicists and graduates working on the LHC experiments are from U.S. universities and labs.

Meeting attendees will discuss ongoing work on data analysis, the LHC accelerator and detector upgrades and day-to-day issues facing members of the U.S. particle physics community working at CERN.

"We provide a forum for issues that concern the US LHC community, which is of course very international, and a channel to communicate the status and needs of this community to Congress, funding agencies and executive offices," said US LUO Chair Harvey Newman.

Representatives of the DOE and NSF will also give the view from Washington on the future U.S. HEP program and involvement at CERN.

US LUO helps foster communication between the LHC community and U.S. physicists and helps physicists prepare and adapt to life at CERN. One of US LUO's most important roles is an annual visit to Washington, D.C., where representatives meet with members of Congress to discuss the importance and excitement of particle physics research.

"It's very useful to go and explain the compelling nature of what we do and keep us on the radar," Newman said.

At the meeting, representatives from the four biggest LHC experiments will present an overview of 2012 operations and results. Scientists from CMS and ATLAS will speak on prospects for the measurement of the Higgs-like boson this year.

Today Newman will talk about overall U.S. participation at CERN and the state of US LUO. On Saturday, CERN senior physicist Rudiger Voss will present on the status of negotiations to carry forward U.S. involvement at CERN in a new framework. The current U.S.-CERN agreement covers involvement between 1997 and 2017.

Saturday will also include a bit of fun – the Young Physicists Lightning Round, which allows young physicists to present their work in a competitive atmosphere. Winners will be invited to join the annual trip to Washington.

—Signe Brewster

Photo of the Day

The solitude of Big Woods

Big Woods, north of Wilson Hall, gives a sense of ruggedness and restfulness. Photo: Marty Murphy, AD
Special Announcement

Master Substation power outages

On Monday, Oct. 22, from 7 to 7:30 a.m., there will be a power outage to reconnect the Master Substation back-feed to its normal line. With the exception of the Main Injector and the Village, this will affect all of Fermilab.

Please turn off your computer before you leave work today.

In the News

On the origin of life's most crucial isotope

From MSU National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, Oct. 12, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Since the Big Bang, the universe has been evolving. From the formations of simple protons and neutrons to the wide breadth of elements and molecules known today, it is ever growing in complexity and variety. And now, nuclear physics theorists have gained new insights into a fundamental nuclear reaction that gave rise to life as we know it.

The reaction is known as the triple-alpha process and it is responsible for the large amount of carbon found throughout the universe. For years, the process by which stars combined light, simple nuclei into the most crucial element has been understood only as a two-step process. But recently, the problem was revisited to unveil the full scope of mechanisms behind the formation of life's most crucial isotope, carbon-12.

Read more

Physics in a Nutshell


Sesame Street has a learning game that goes with the jingle "One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong." Can you find which one is different?

Read the expanded column on gravitons.

If you've read anything about the kinds of physics we do at Fermilab, you've heard lots of words ending with "on" – words like proton, neutron, gluon, photon, boson, fermion and on and on and on. One of the words you might have encountered is the graviton. Let's get one thing out of the way: At the moment, gravitons are entirely theoretical constructs that delicately walk the knife-edge precipice between the domains of scientific respectability and the shady world of hand waving.

The fantastic success of quantum theory to describe three forces – electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces – provides a considerable impetus to try to marry it to the fourth force of gravity. In the same way that the photon is known to be the quantum particle of the electromagnetic force and the gluon is the quantum particle of the strong force, the "graviton" is the name given to a hypothetical quantum particle of the gravitational force.

However, a quantum theory of gravity has so far been elusive. Einstein's theory of general relativity has been the most successful description of gravity, but when it encounters the quantum realm, it predicts nonsense, with impossible infinities popping up throughout the calculations. Infinities like that are nature's way of saying "back to the drawing board." And though theoretical physicists have quite a way to go in coming up with such a model, it is still possible to work out some of the properties of gravitons.

For instance, we know that gravity has infinite range and can bind together distant galaxies. This means that the traditional graviton has zero mass. Further, empty space has no electrical charge in it, which means the graviton, which would operate through empty space, must be electrically neutral.

More sophisticated thinking tells us what the quantum mechanical spin of the graviton must be. While the matter particles of the Standard Model are spin 1/2 and the Standard Model force carrying particles have a spin of 1, gravitons must have a spin of 2.

It turns out that this spin thing is a big deal, as you can prove that any massless spin-2 particle must act exactly as a graviton is predicted to behave. Thus if we find a massless spin-2 particle, we'll know it's a graviton. This spin-2 behavior also explains the fact that conventional gravity only attracts, unlike electromagnetism, which both attracts and repels.

Gravitons are a theoretically reputable idea but are not proven. So if you hear someone say that "gravitons are particles that generate the gravitational force," keep in mind that this is a reasonable statement, but by no means is it universally accepted. It will be a long time before gravitons are considered part of the established subatomic pantheon.

—Don Lincoln

Want a phrase defined? Have a question? E-mail


Today's New Announcements

Don Lincoln to present at Geneva Library - Oct. 24

Zumba on Fridays - begins Oct. 26

State-of-the-laboratory meetings - Oct. 25 and 26

NALWO Playgroup Halloween party - Oct. 26

Farewell symposium for Bruce Chrisman - Oct. 26

In the Footsteps of Django - Oct. 27

Survey of God's promise through history - begins Oct. 30

SciTech presents Masters of Lightning - Nov. 3

CSADay 2012 training opportunities - Nov. 6

Applications being accepted for Wilson Fellowship

Abri Credit Union - money just got cheaper

Winter volleyball begins soon

Accelerate to a Healthy Lifestyle update

Mac users: upcoming changes to VPN client software

Professional development courses

Atrium work updates

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