Monday, April 22, 2013

Have a safe day!

Monday, April 22

2:30 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Matt Walker, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Title: Galactic Dynamics and the Nature of Dark Matter

3:30 p.m.


Tuesday, April 23

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar (NOTE LOCATION) - Curia II
Speaker: Duncan Scott, Fermilab
Title: Main Injector and Recycler: Ready for NOvA and Beyond

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

Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


Take Five

Weather Mostly sunny

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Current Security Status

Secon Level 3

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Flags at full staff

Wilson Hall Cafe

Monday, April 22

- Breakfast: apple cinnamon multi-grain pancakes
- Spicy Thai beef noodle soup
- Gyros
- Garam masala salmon
- Smart cuisine: sweet and sour apricot chicken
- Asian chicken wrap
- Assorted pizza by the slice
- Stir fry sensations

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, April 24
- Chopped-shrimp Waldorf salad
- Strawberry cheesecake

Friday, April 26

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Special Announcement

All-hands meeting Thursday, April 25, in auditorium

All staff should plan to attend the all-hands meeting that is scheduled for Thursday, April 25, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Ramsey Auditorium. The meeting will be webcast.

Topics to be covered include the budget, five-year strategic lab agenda and project updates.


Clever engineering at CMS

The successful operation of the CMS hadron calorimeter relies on a team of electrical engineers at Fermilab. Front row, from left: Julie Whitmore (physicist), Jim Freeman (physicist), Johnny Green, Terri Shaw. Middle row, from left: Paula Lippert, Janina Gielata (U Rochester technician), Marcus Larwill, Albert Dyer, Nina Moibenko, Alan Baumbaugh. Back row, from left: Tom Zimmerman, Lee Scott, Sergey Los, Scott Holm, Lou Dal Monte. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Although physicists were the ones generating headlines with the discovery of a new particle last year, they aren't the only ones who have been keeping busy at CMS.

For the last three years, while the CMS detector was dutifully gathering data from trillions of proton collisions, Fermilab electrical engineers were devising ways to make it more sensitive and more robust for the LHC's second go-round. Now that the accelerator has begun its two-year shutdown, engineers are ready to swoop in to equip the detector's hadron calorimeter—one of the detector's larger sections—with nifty new devices, preparing CMS for the higher energy and luminosity of the collider's next run.

"As technology improves, we can improve our detector. So even from the very beginning, we started an upgrade path," said PPD's Jim Freeman, a physicist working on the CMS experiment. "We're going to improve things we had trouble with or now know how to make better."

One of those improvements is advancement in the photosensor, a device that picks up signals from light particles in the detector. CMS engineers have worked with vendors to develop a more resilient and sensitive photosensor, the silicon photomultiplier—SiPM for short—for collider experiments. The SiPM is not only much smaller than the old photodetector but also has 100 times more gain, giving a better signal-to-noise ratio.

To ensure the SiPM's success in the next CMS run, Fermilab engineer Sergey Los designed an electronics support system for the SiPM photosensor that includes low-voltage generation, leakage current measurement and temperature stabilization.

In addition, the front-end and back-end electronics will be upgraded in stages over the next five years. The microelectronics group is developing a chip that will, without sacrificing resolution, measure the charge and arrival times of signals many times larger than can be handled with the present CMS HCAL front-end electronics. To that end, engineer Tom Zimmerman is designing an upgraded readout chip based on a novel approach known in the physics community as QIE (charge-integrating encoder), which was developed at Fermilab.

"It's a very interesting mix of all different kinds of analog and digital circuitry in one chip, which isn't typical," Zimmerman said. "Making everything work together presents a very diverse set of challenges, which makes it a lot of fun."

Engineer Terri Shaw is using the QIEs in the design of the HCAL front-end electronic cards and is working to seamlessly integrate the full readout chain—a chain that goes all the way from scintillation light in the detector to computers that read out the data.

The engineers' work is just as much about reliability as it is cutting-edge technology, since parts of the detector are inaccessible for years. If a "buried" component fails, scientists will go without data that would have otherwise come through the burnt-out part.

"We'd have lots of people pounding on our door, very upset that they have fake missing energy in their data," said CMS physicist Julie Whitmore.

The collaboration relies on the engineering team to make sure that doesn't happen. They understand that behind every successful physics project is a solid team of clever engineers.

Leah Hesla

In the News

Higgs data could spell trouble for leading big bang theory

From Nature, April 16, 2013

When the European Space Agency's Planck mission team unveiled the most detailed map yet of fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background—the afterglow of the Big Bang—in March, the map was seen as in line, for the most part, with the standard theory of cosmology. But now, a controversial analysis combining the Planck findings with recent data about the Higgs boson paints the prevailing theory in a dim light.

Read more

In the News

There's trouble brewing at the birth of the universe

From NPR, April 16, 2013

Scientists can't just agree to disagree. It's not because we are stubborn or ornery (OK, maybe we are). It's because the whole point of science is to establish "public knowledge"—an understanding of the cosmos on which we can all agree. That is why there is trouble brewing at the beginning of the Universe.

There is a number, the Hubble Constant, that's fundamental to the study of the cosmos. The problem is, different folks are finding different values for that number and no one yet knows what that means.

Read more

Tip of the Week: Health

Summertime and the living need not be sneezy

The pollen of Timothy grass is a common allergen in DuPage County.

We welcome summer but perhaps not its allergy issues. Predominant pollens vary across the country, so if you are new to the area, you may notice a "cold" that doesn't leave—a runny nose and itchy eyes might be among the symptoms—as temperatures warm. There are ways to enjoy the outdoors with some observations and planning.

The time of year that you have allergy problems can give you a clue as to the offender:

  • Late winter and spring: trees—in particular, birches, elms, willows, oaks and maples, to name a few
  • Late spring and early summer: grasses
  • Late summer and fall: weeds such as ragweed

Once you know the culprit, you can plan your day by watching the pollen and mold forecasts online, on TV or in the paper. Typically pollen levels decline in early morning or late evening. A thorough downpour will also cleanse the air.

Take your allergy medication pre-emptively, and if you are going out, bring it with you. It's easier and more comfortable to prevent than to chase symptoms.

Dress defensively. Wraparound sunglasses help keep pollen and your fingers away from your eyes. Consider a paper face mask if you are doing gardening and perhaps kicking up some pollen.

If you do come into contact with allergens, wash your hands to prevent pollen spread. Also wash around your eyes with cool water to avoid rubbing allergens into them later. Finally, shower before bedtime and wash your hair so you don't tuck pollen into your bedding.

Smell the flowers, not the pollen: Plants that rely on pollinators have heavy sticky pollen that is not so easily lofted on the wind. Cactuses, daffodils, hyacinths, lilacs, roses, tulips and zinnias can be good backyard companions if airborne pollen gives you grief.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has a Web page with great tips on coping with allergies, along with a doctor finder, should the season prove very rough.

I hope we can enjoy the warm weather—summertime living can be easy on the allergy symptoms.

Brian Svazas, M.D., M.P.H.

Photos of the Day

Owlet rescue

Fermilab visitor Matthew Tamsett, University of Sussex, found this owlet on the ground in the Fermilab Village on Saturday, April 13. Dave Shemanske of Roads and Grounds took the owlet to Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Glen Ellyn, Ill., to get him checked out. Photo: Dave Shemanske, FESS
On Monday, April 15, Dave Shemanske and Steve Whiteaker, FESS, located the rescued owlet's nest and reunited him with his sibling. Photo: Steve Whiteaker, FESS

Today's New Announcements

Permanent residence presentation by Chicago attorneys rescheduled - May 1

Engineering Group to hold seminars at Fermilab - April 26

Changes to U.S. visa procedures - begin April 30

Hubbard Street 2 Dance - Fermilab Arts Series - May 11

Lecture: Big Science, Big Challenges - May 16

Fermilab-CERN Hadron Collider Physics Summer School open for applications

Indoor soccer

Fermilab Golf League

Indian Creek Riding Club

Chicago Fire discount tickets