Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012

Have a safe day!

Wednesday, Nov. 7

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Subir Sachdev, Harvard University
Title: Dark Matter: Entanglement, Holography, and the Quantum Phases of Matter

Thursday, Nov. 8

2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Christina Ignarra, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: Recent MiniBooNE Results and the Status of Sterile Neutrinos

3:30 p.m.


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Wednesday, Nov. 7

- Breakfast: breakfast strata
- Harvest moon vegetable soup
- Carolina chopped-pork sandwich
- Baja chicken enchilada casserole
- Smart cuisine: ancho chili barbecue beef
- Italian antipasto sandwich
- Pepperoni lover's calzone
- Mumbo jumbo baked potato

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Nov. 7
- Chicken in a coconut curry
- Steamed jasmine rice
- Vanilla flan with mango sauce

Friday, Nov. 9

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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A sticky situation resolved

The glue dispensing machine runs the length of each NOvA detector module, coating it with slow-drying glue as it goes. Photo: William Miller, NOvA installation manager

“Life in plastic. It’s fantastic!” sang the dance-pop band Aqua first in 1997 as tribute to Barbie and her perfect plastic world. The 5,000 tons of plastic that make up NOvA’s near and far detectors put any of Barbie’s plastic palaces to shame, both in size and strength. Sorry, Barbie.

The far detector, the larger of the two detectors, will consist of 28 so-called blocks, and on Oct. 25 scientists erected the third. Each block is made from 768 pieces of polyvinyl chloride plastic, which scientists glue together. The result is a five-story-tall and equally wide block of plastic.

Such a profusion of plastic takes more than superglue to keep intact for the detector’s lifetime. Fermilab looked to adhesive technology and product distributor ITW Devcon, based in Danvers, Mass., to design the glue with the best grip.

As Devcon’s business manager of new product development Dave Bongiorni put it, “all was good in the land of goo” until early this year. That’s when Fermilab and Devcon discovered that the glue wasn’t biting into the plastic like it had in earlier tests.

To identify the problem, Devcon chemists set out for Ash River, Minn. where scientists assemble the detector.

“It’s not often you run into a manufacturer that goes out of their way to come find you to see if their product is okay,” said John Cooper, NOvA project manager. “It’s usually the other way around for us. Devcon did really nice work.”

Within three months Devcon had identified the problem, modified the glue formula, and presented Fermilab with two new glues to test.

The problem stemmed from a change in Fermilab’s plastic production method midway through construction. By increasing the temperature slightly in order to produce a stronger product faster, Fermilab scientists had also made the plastic smoother and shinier. The new plastic surface eluded the old Devcon glue’s grip.

“It’s like if you took a cake batter and you say, ‘Let’s just cook it at a little higher temperature for a shorter time,’” Cooper said. “You don’t get a cake is the problem.”

Now scientists are applying to the plastic one of the two new glues Devcon offered. When complete, the experiment will have used up about 40,000 gallons of glue.

“Solving the problem was a concerted effort between chemists and physicists,” Bongiorni said.

The glue itself can be used for other products, Bongiorni said. One quality that contributes to its uniqueness is its considerably long "open time.” That means that, once dispensed onto a surface, it will take between 11 and 18 minutes to dry.

NOvA’s blocks need this lengthy drying time because each detector module that scientists install to make a block is about 52 feet long by four feet wide. That amount of surface area takes time to coat.

Luckily the glue’s toxicity concentrations are low so workers can stand ready to sandwich two layers together when the glue-dispensing machine is finished. There’s just one minor drawback to this aggressive adhesive.

“It smells bad,” said Pat Lukens, a manager for NOvA. “But it sticks.”

Jessica Orwig

University Profile

University of Arizona

University of Arizona

Tucson, Ariz.

Wilbur and Wilma the Wildcat

Red, white and blue



Nine faculty, six postdocs, seven graduate students

Our experimental group is primarily involved in the Energy Frontier (DZero and ATLAS), contributing to detector design and construction (ATLAS forward calorimeter), electronics (Level 1 muon trigger for DZero) and physics analysis (top and Higgs physics at DZero, searches for SUSY, exotic particles and quark compositeness at ATLAS). We are starting an effort at the cosmic frontier with the LSST collaboration.

The ability to make big contributions to the design, operation and analysis of an experiment with relatively few people.


View all university profiles.

Director's Corner

LBNE review at Fermilab and US-PRC meeting at Daya Bay

Fermilab Director
Pier Oddone

What was perhaps the laboratory's most important event last week—the successful Department of Energy CD-1 review of LBNE—became a demonstration of valiant efforts by researchers and project reviewers alike. We are very appreciative of the agency's and reviewers' efforts to hold the review despite the difficulties of travel due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Several participants from the collaboration, DOE and the review committee rescheduled their flights to Fermilab to avoid the storm. Others had to join the meeting through the Web or by phone, including one LBNE spokesperson who had to hand-crank a generator to keep his cell phone running. Participants in this successful CD-1 review acknowledged the enormous effort by the LBNE collaboration and the involvement of many members of the community to help the laboratory with the reconfiguration process. The review recommendation was for approval of CD-1, which hopefully will be granted by DOE before the end of the year. This is a necessary milestone for the project.

For the last two days I have been in Daya Bay, China for the 33rd yearly meeting of the US-PRC Joint Committee on High Energy Physics. This committee discusses collaborative items accomplished in the previous year and agrees on a program of activities for the following year. Jim Siegrist, associate director for high-energy physics in the DOE Office of Science, and Liu Minghua, associate director general of the Bureau for Basic Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, co-chaired the committee. Representatives from six U.S. national laboratories also participated.

The meeting renewed my appreciation for how quickly China is moving to build scientific facilities such as light sources and neutron sources for its growing number of researchers. It was also an opportunity to visit the site of the very successful Daya Bay neutrino experiment, made possible by the collaboration between the United States and China, and the construction site of the Chinese Spallation Neutron Source, which is making rapid progress in Dounguan, about a 90-minute drive from Hong Kong.

Along with the Higgs-like particle discovery, the results from the Daya Bay experiment were the great physics news of 2012. I was especially glad to see the experiment since I had been present for the birth of the idea in Berkeley more than a decade ago when it was first proposed to be built near the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor, and later proposed to be set up in proximity to the Daya Bay reactors. The facility is impressive, starting with the six reactor cores with 18 gigawatts of thermal capacity, moving to the extensive underground infrastructure and extending to the fantastic care with which the systematics were controlled in the eight large detector modules. Future running of the experiment will improve the precision of the measured neutrino parameter and the reach of other experiments such as LBNE.

Fermilab Director Pier Oddone and IHEP Director Wang Yifang visit the underground Daya Bay detector site. Wang Yifang, along with Kam Biu Luk of Berkeley Laboratory, is co-spokesperson for the Daya Bay experiment. Photo: Fermilab
Special Announcement

Save the date: Fermilab holiday party - Dec. 13

Mark your calendars: Fermilab will be hosting a laboratory-wide holiday party on Thursday, Dec. 13, beginning at 4 p.m. in Wilson Hall. All staff and their families are invited. Fermilab Today will announce more details soon.

Safety Update

ES&H weekly report, Nov. 6

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ES&H section, contains two incidents.

An employee cut his finger on a small metal tab while removing a cable. He received first-aid treatment.

An employee has a confirmed standard threshold shift in his left ear. This claim is pending and still under investigation.

Find the full report here.
In the News

Highly charged ions could make better atomic clock

From Physics World, Nov. 6, 2012

A new atomic clock that promises to be accurate to within 40 ms over the age of the universe has been proposed by physicists in the US and Australia. Based on a bismuth atom that has been stripped of 25 of its electrons, the clock could be used to look for variations in the fine-structure constant – according to its designers. The discovery of such variations could lead to a new unified theory of physics.

Read more


Deadline for UChicago Tuition Remission Program - Nov. 26

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