Monday, Feb. 4, 2013

Have a safe day!

Monday, Feb. 4


3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II
Special Topics: SuperCDMS Update; Measurements at HINS

Tuesday, Feb. 5

3:30 p.m.


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

Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


Take Five

Weather Snow

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Current Security Status

Secon Level 3

Current Flag Status

Flags at full staff

Wilson Hall Cafe

Monday, Feb. 4

- Breakfast: blueberry pancakes
- Vegetarian potato leek soup
- Sloppy joe
- Pecan-crusted chicken breast
- Smart cuisine: pasta primavera
- Oven-roasted veggie wrap
- Assorted pizza by the slice
- Shrimp and crab scampi

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, Feb. 6
- Spicy black bean and sausage calzone
- Confetti corn salad
- Pineapple flan

Friday, Feb. 8
- Bacon, boursin and spinach soufflé
- Filet mignon with morel sauce
- Grilled asparagus
- Herbed new potatoes
- Pear tart

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Special Announcement

Save the date: sneak preview of Fermilab documentary on Feb. 11; Q&A with filmmakers

"Fermilab: Science at Work" will screen in Ramsey Auditorium on Monday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m.

All employees, users and contractors are invited to a special sneak preview of the documentary film "Fermilab: Science at Work" on Monday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium. The 40-minute film shows six action-packed days at Fermilab. It follows scientists Brendan Casey, Mary Convery, Brenna Flaugher, Bonnie Fleming, Debbie Harris, Craig Hogan, Denton Morris, Dave Schmitz and Herman White as they work with people across the laboratory.

The film was directed by Clayton Brown and Monica Long Ross, two of the team behind the PBS documentary "The Atom Smashers." Brown and Ross will be on hand following the screening to answer questions, along with the scientists featured in the movie. Public release of the documentary is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 12, so this is a chance for everybody on site to see it before its public release.

From the Department of Energy

Letter from Secretary Steven Chu to Energy Department employees announcing his decision not to serve a second term

Secretary of Energy
Steven Chu

Feb. 1, 2013

Dear Colleagues:

Serving the country as Secretary of Energy, and working alongside such an extraordinary team of people at the Department, has been the greatest privilege of my life. While the job has had many challenges, it has been an exciting time for the Department, the country, and for me personally.

Read more
From symmetry

Tiny bubbles

A hipster detector searches for the crystalline "plink" of dark matter. Click on the image to watch a short video. Image courtesy of COUPP

In the hunt for dark matter, the stealthy stuff that makes up about a quarter of the universe but neither emits nor absorbs light, observational techniques span from strange to stranger.

The Chicagoland Observatory for Underground Particle Physics may top the list.

The COUPP experiment is the hipster of the dark-matter crowd. Its detector is a bubble chamber, a retro bit of 1952 technology originally used to discover interactions through the weak force. Its inner vessel is a clear, quartz tank that looks a bit like a champagne flute without a stem.

The champagne in this case is a clear, heavy liquid heated and pressurized to the edge of evaporation, "waiting for any excuse to boil," says University of Chicago physicist Juan Collar, head of the Fermilab-based experiment. When a foreign particle bumps into an atom of the liquid, the champagne bubbles.

But it's stronger than a gentle fizz. "When these bubbles appear, it's a rather violent process," Collar says. "You can actually hear these things with your ears. The crack is very high-pitched. The inventor of the bubble chamber described it as a 'plink,' very crystalline."

In old-school bubble chamber experiments, the disturbance would trigger a still camera to take rapid photographs of the bubbles as they formed. In the upgraded, more-sensitive-than-ever COUPP experiment, motion sensors connected to video cameras set off the trigger.

The "plink" does not just alert the scientists that a particle has interacted in the detector; it also gives them information about what kind of particle it was. An interaction with an alpha particle, the most significant source of distracting background in the COUPP experiment, is four or five times louder than an interaction with a dark matter particle would be.

Listen to the plink

Kathryn Jepsen

In the News

Eric Colby to help DOE promote wider use of accelerator technologies

From SLAC Today, Feb. 1, 2013

Eric Colby, SLAC senior staff scientist and head of the Accelerator Research Division, today starts a two-year temporary assignment to help the Department of Energy promote the wider use of particle accelerators and associated technologies in industry as well as in other governmental agencies.

Read more
Tip of the Week: Ecology

Is this water safe to drink?

The FESS Operation Department works to ensure that the drinking water at Fermilab is safe.

It's easy to take water for granted. We expect clean, clear and safe water whenever we turn on the tap. But whether the water comes from deep underground or a surface water source, getting it to you involves a lot of engineering and science. "Raw" water has to be treated using filtration and chemicals, then pumped to consumers through a system of mains over a broad area. The quality of water that is delivered to the end user depends on many variables—the quality of the source, the degree of treatment and the condition of the piping systems all the way from treatment to the faucet.

Water quality questions related to Fermilab's distribution system arise on occasion. Obviously, the most important quality of drinking water is its safety. When we think of "bad" water, we're usually worried about microorganisms that make us sick. Fermilab purchases water from the City of Warrenville, and like most public water supplies, the water is chlorinated. Free chlorine in the water quickly gets "used up" through biological and chemical reactions and becomes "combined" chlorine. While chlorine in the free state is a powerful disinfectant, maintaining a sufficient residual concentration of combined chlorine is just as effective at keeping drinking water safe.

The safety of our drinking water is virtually assured, but other qualities, such as color, odor and taste can deteriorate. These characteristics are recognized by regulatory agencies as "secondary characteristics" and are not subject to enforceable standards. Most of our water mains and pipes inside buildings are decades old and subject to corrosion and failure. Old systems can harbor pockets of microorganisms such as sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB), which don't cause disease, but which convert sulfates in the water to hydrogen sulfide, which imparts a rotten-egg odor. As deposits of SRBs are killed off by the disinfectant properties of the water, they can slough off and discolor the water. The result is water that is still safe, but not very appealing.

The FESS Operations Department addresses specific water quality issues as they occur by studying the existing system to better understand the causes of problems and to enable us to make improvements. FESS engineers use a CAD model to estimate flow rates and water residence times as a function of building consumption and pipe sizes. The ultimate answer is to replace old, deteriorated iron pipe with copper or plastic pipe, and we are making progress on this goal, but it is a big job. The immediate goal is to continue to provide safe water for everyone at Fermilab.

Rod Walton

Photo of the Day

Certified administrative professionals recognition

Earlier this month, the Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office hosted a reception in recognition of staff who recently earned their certifications as administrative professionals. From left: Chief Operating Officer Jack Anderson, Karen Seifrid, Kappy Sherman, Linda Diepholz, Jamie Grado, Karen Karlix-Smith, Gayle Millman, Rosa Foote, Anita Menz-Cwilik, Marie Herman. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Financial and procurement systems down - Feb. 6-11

UChicago panel discussion on Higgs discovery - Feb. 7

English country dancing Sundays - Feb. 10

No on-site prescription safety eyewear - Feb. 13

Employee art show applications - due Feb. 20

Fermilab Lecture Series: Engineering Biology - Feb. 22

Fermilab Gallery Series: Dios no Choro (Brazilian flute and guitar)

URA Visiting Scholars Program deadline - Feb. 25

2013 FRA scholarship applications accepted until April 1

Professional development courses

2013 standard mileage reimbursement rate

Scottish country dancing Tuesday evenings in Kuhn Barn

Indoor soccer

Employee discounts