Friday, Feb. 22, 2013

Have a safe day!

Friday, Feb. 22

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Marco Trovato, Scuola Normale Superiore - Pisa
Title: Update of the Dijet Mass Spectrum in W + 2 Jets Events Using the Full CDF Dataset

8 p.m.
Fermilab Lecture Series - Auditorium
Speaker: Angela Belcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Title: Engineering Biology
Tickets: $7

Sunday, Feb. 24

2:30 p.m.
Gallery Chamber Series - 2nd Flr X-Over
Dios no Choro
Tickets: $17

Monday, Feb. 25

2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Daniel O. Whiteson, University of California - Irvine
Title: Are the FermiLAT Lines Real?

3:30 p.m.


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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Feb. 22

- Breakfast: strawberry-stuffed French toast
- Cream of butternut squash soup
- Surf-side tuna melt
- Creamy tuna noodle casserole
- Smart cuisine: stir-fry beef and vegetables
- Honey-mustard ham and Swiss panini
- Assorted pizza
- Chicken fajitas

Wilson Hall Cafe Menu
Chez Leon

Friday, Feb. 22

Wednesday, Feb. 27
- Broiled tilapia with Thai coconut curry sauce
- Sautéed tri-color peppers
- Jasmine rice
- Tropical coconut cake

Chez Leon Menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From symmetry

Commentary: Being unreasonable: the value of pure science

The "unreasonable demands" of pure research are an essential driver for technology, enriching our bodies, minds and pocketbooks, says John Womersley, STFC. Photo: Cindy Arnold

Fermilab's founding director, Robert R. Wilson, famously responded to the question of how the laboratory would help defend the United States with the declaration that it would not. "It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture," he said. "It has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending."

In the postwar era, those words had great resonance. But science can—and has—delivered so much more to benefit the nations that invest in it. In today's world of fiscal uncertainty, it is imperative that scientists justify their work in economic as well as scientific terms.

Last year, I spoke at a symposium marking the end of Fermilab's Tevatron particle collider. From back-of-the-envelope calculations, I estimated that the cost of construction and operation ($4 billion in today's terms) was returned approximately tenfold in the value of training Ph.D. students and stimulating industry in superconducting magnets and computing.

Fundamental physics places unreasonable demands on technology and computing. When organizations commit to a project on the scale of the Tevatron, the Large Hadron Collider or any of the proposed next-generation giant telescopes, they are stimulating the future advances in these areas that will make the projects possible. As George Bernard Shaw said, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

Around the world, scientists are gathering the evidence that makes a compelling case: The technological developments needed for pure research are essential to the advances society makes. Examples include magnetic resonance imaging, synchrotrons, the Web and the people inspired to engage in science or engineering by the awe of pure science.

Read more

John Womersley, STFC chief executive officer

In Brief

Don't feed the animals

Don't feed coyotes. Feeding the animals at the laboratory can be dangerous for us and for them. Photo: adactio

There have been some reports of people feeding wild animals on the Fermilab site, especially coyotes. This is not a good practice and could be dangerous. By teaching animals that humans are a source of food, it emboldens them to approach and removes the natural fear and wariness that they have of us humans. It can be dangerous for animals as well. It is well known that tossing bread crumbs out for waterfowl can result in pathogens growing in the bread and making birds sick.

Rod Walton, ecologist, FESS
Photo of the Day

Hawk in winter

A hawk rests on a low branch on a tree near Wilson Hall. Ben Galan, AD
In the News

Cosmos may be 'inherently unstable'

From BBC News, Feb. 19, 2013

Scientists say they may be able to determine the eventual fate of the cosmos as they probe the properties of the Higgs boson.

A concept known as vacuum instability could result, billions of years from now, in a new universe opening up in the present one and replacing it.

It all depends on some precise numbers related to the Higgs that researchers are currently trying to pin down.

A "Higgs-like" particle was first seen at the Large Hadron Collider last year.

Read more
In the News

Mini planet found far beyond Earth's solar system

From Reuters, Feb. 20, 2013

(Reuters)—Astronomers have found a mini planet beyond our solar system that is the smallest of more than 800 extra-solar planets discovered, scientists said on Wednesday.

The planet, known as Kepler-37b, is one of three circling a yellow star similar to the sun that is located in the constellation Lyra, about 210 light years away. One light year is about 6 trillion miles (10 trillion km).

Read more
Frontier Science Result: CMS


The path of a comet that flies by the Earth and misses it is mathematically identical whether the Earth is planet-sized or just a point-like particle with the Earth's mass. The situation is different if the comet hits the Earth. Physicists look at LHC collisions in which pairs of high-energy muons are created. If the outcome of the measurement differs from the prediction of a hypothetical point-like Earth, then we will have discovered a regime in which new physics dominates.

The quarks and leptons of the Standard Model are assumed to be point-like. Note that this doesn’t require that they have no size; it merely means that if we make the simplifying assumption that they have zero size, then we can make predictions that are in good agreement with measurements.

The history of fundamental physics is littered with the corpses of physics models of particles once thought to have zero size, from atoms to the protons and neutrons in atomic nuclei. Each of them eventually was shown to have a measurable size and consequently to be made of yet smaller particles.

For about 50 years, scientists have been poking at the quarks and leptons, trying to see if they are made of something smaller. However, the simple fact is that the success of the Standard Model has actually stymied our progress. Physicists have theorized on what the building blocks that make up quarks and leptons might be, but because the data agrees so well with the point-like hypothesis, there is no universally agreed-upon theory describing the building blocks at the next-lower level. So physicists simply look at the quarks and leptons at higher and higher energy, which is equivalent to using a more and more powerful microscope. If we start to observe that there is a size at which the particles no longer act like point particles, we’ll have seen our first glimpse at the next-lower set of building blocks.

In order to understand how scientists do this, let’s think about planets. Newton’s law of gravity treats all objects—even planets—as point particles. If a comet swings by the Earth at a large distance and you use Newton’s equations to describe the comet’s path, you can reduce the Earth to a point, essentially replacing the physical Earth with a mathematical abstraction of the Earth that has all the Earth’s mass in a particle with zero size. The Newtonian predictions for the path of the comet in both scenarios will be identical.

However, the zero-size planet model falls apart if the path of the comet gets closer than about 4,000 miles from the center of the Earth. That’s because this is the size of the Earth, and the comet will crash into it.

This is an easy-to-visualize situation, but think about what it means. At a certain size (greater than 4,000 miles), Newton’s theory of gravity governs the motion of the comet. Below that size (under 4,000 miles), a different physical theory governs what happens to the comet. To more precisely describe what happens to the comet, then, you need to take into account the strength of the rock that makes up the Earth. Gravity is no longer the only governing theory.

Similarly, scientists look at quarks and leptons at higher and higher energies to see if they continue to act like point particles of the Standard Model or if it begins to look as if some new sort of physical phenomenon is starting to become important.

CMS physicists looked for events in which the collision of two protons resulted in very high-energy pairs of muons. The evidence is entirely consistent with a point-like quark and muons down to size scales about 1/10,000 that of a proton. The point-particle model of the muon continues to hold.

—Don Lincoln

These U.S. physicists contributed to this analysis.
These people have made significant contributions to various aspects of the reconstruction of missing transverse energy (MET). These contributions range from development of new algorithms to identifying calorimeter noise to optimization of MET algorithms for events with a large number of simultaneous collisions between pairs of protons.

Special seminar - John Cary of U Colorado and Tech-X - today

Fermilab Lecture Series: Engineering Biology - today

Fermilab Gallery Series: Dios no Choro (Brazilian flute, guitar) - Feb. 24

URA Visiting Scholars program deadline - Feb. 25

URA Thesis Award competition applications accepted until March 1

School's Day Out - March 1

International Folk Dance 25th Anniversary party - March 2

Deadline for on-site summer housing requests - March 4

Deadline for UChicago Tuition Remission Program - March 7

Fermilab Chamber Series: Arianna String Quartet - March 10

Extended network outage at Wilson Hall - March 10

Fermilab Arts Series: The Believers (documentary) - March 15

DOEGrids certificates to be decommissioned - March 23

Nominations open for 2013 Tollestrup Award - through April 1

2013 FRA scholarship applications accepted until April 1

Interpersonal Communication Skills course offered in May

Martial arts class

Increased online access to scientific journals

Indoor soccer

Employee discounts

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