Friday, Aug. 9, 2013

Have a safe day!

Friday, Aug. 9

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Keith Ulmer, University of Colorado, Boulder
Title: Measurement of the Bs→μμ Branching Fraction at CMS

8 p.m.
Fermilab Lecture Series - Auditorium
Speaker: Jeff Lichtman, Harvard University
Title: Connectomics: Mapping the Brain
Tickets: $7

Monday, Aug. 12


3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II

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a weekly calendar with links to additional information.

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Aug. 9

- Breakfast: chorizo and egg burrito
- Breakfast: strawberry-stuffed French toast
- Texas Pete buffalo-style wings
- Smart cuisine: Hawaiian stir fry
- Tuna noodle casserole
- Honey mustard ham and Swiss panini
- Chicken fajitas plate
- Cream of butternut squash soup
- Texas-style chili
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu
Chez Leon

Friday, Aug. 9
Special serving time of 6 p.m.
- Vichyssoise
- Filet mignon with red-pepper coulis
- Sauteed spinach
- Parmesan orzo
- Tiramisu

Wednesday, Aug. 14
- Cumin-crusted pork soft tacos
- Refried beans
- Spanish rice
- Hummingbird cake

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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From the Directorate

Snowmass report: tackling the mysteries of the universe

Stuart Henderson

Stuart Henderson, associate director for accelerators, wrote this report about the "Snowmass on the Mississippi" meeting in Minneapolis.

For nine days over the last two weeks, nearly 700 physicists from almost 100 universities and laboratories in the United States, as well as colleagues from Europe, Japan and other laboratories from around the world, gathered in Minneapolis for the final meeting of the 2013 Snowmass Community Summer Study, which kicked off with a meeting at Fermilab last October. Jim Siegrist, associate director for High Energy Physics in the DOE Office of Science, as well as several other program managers from DOE and NSF, also devoted nine days of their time to listening to and interacting with members of the community. Our incoming director, Nigel Lockyer, gave a presentation on the first day of the meeting.

Organized by the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields, the summer study is an opportunity for the U.S. particle physics community to take stock of the greatest unsolved mysteries of matter, energy, space and time and discuss the facilities and experiments that would help solve them. It has brought together experts in particle detectors, particle accelerators, theoretical physics, computing and many other areas of research related to particle physics.

From breakfast in the dorm to ad hoc discussions in classrooms and hallways, the University of Minnesota campus allowed the opportunity for many informal discussions, which were important for gathering ideas and discussing the possibilities. Many Fermilab scientists and users actively participated in the various study groups of this year's meeting, and I thank all of you for your very hard work over the last nine months.

The leaders of the Community Summer Study were charged with developing the field's long-term physics aspirations. The following give a flavor of the type of "big questions" the field plans to address over the next two decades:

  • The Higgs particle is unlike any other particle we have ever encountered. Why is it different? Are there more?
  • How do neutrinos fit into our understanding of matter, energy, space and time?
  • What is dark matter? Can we detect it in our labs? Are there other undiscovered particles in nature?
  • Are nature's four known forces aspects of a single unified force? Are there additional forces?
  • Are there new, hidden dimensions of space and time?
  • Both matter and antimatter were produced in the big bang, but today our world is composed only of matter. Why?
  • Why is the expansion of the universe accelerating?

You can read the press release issued by the American Physical Society.

The summer study evaluated the potential of many existing and proposed facilities to answer those questions, including the LHC (and its high-luminosity upgrade), LBNE, Project X, the ILC, dark-matter detection experiments and cosmological dark-energy surveys. Scientists, educators and communicators discussed better ways to explain the community's work and ambitions to policymakers, students and the public.

A number of round-table panel discussions were held on many of the difficult questions that face our field. I participated in a lively panel discussion on the balance in the U.S. program between domestic and overseas facilities with Priscilla Cushman, David Gross, Joe Incandela, Chris Quigg and Kate Scholberg.

It was great to see so many scientists with diverse interests and opinions come together to chart the course for particle physics. A truly astonishing range of physics topics and technology capabilities were explored and discussed in detail.

The study's final report will provide essential input for the U.S. Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel. The panel, which will start its work this fall under the leadership of Professor Steven Ritz from the University of California, Santa Cruz, will develop an affordable strategic plan for our field and advise the funding agencies on future U.S. investments that will enable particle physicists to tackle the big questions.

The summer study's final report will be published by Nov. 1. Until that date, I encourage you to read the summary presentations shown on Monday and Tuesday in Minneapolis to learn more about the field's long-term scientific aspirations and the path to achieve them. (Click on the folder icon to the right of the speaker's name to download the corresponding presentation.)

I also thank Jonathan Rosner, APS DPF chair, and the working group conveners, who did a great job organizing this summer study and bringing everybody together. The local organizers, led by Dan Cronin-Hennessy and supported by more than a dozen undergraduates at the University of Minnesota, helped make the final meeting a great success. Thank you.

Nearly 700 scientists participated in the "Snowmass on the Mississippi" conference at the University of Minnesota. Click to enlarge. Photo: Reidar Hahn
In the News

School will put focus on math, science, technology

From the Chicago Tribune, Aug. 5, 2013

Next year, 200 elementary and middle school students from Indian Prairie District 204 and other west suburban school districts will work in labs designed by their teachers and staff at Aurora University, along with scientists and business people from the likes of Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, Caterpillar, Waste Management, Nicor Gas and Tellabs.

Read more

Frontier Science Result: CMS

Ultra-rare events

Particle collisions like this were used to make this measurement. The two red lines on the top of the figure are the two muons from a Bs meson decay. The yellow lines are all the other particles created in the collision.

Over the years, we have heard of the extraordinary scientific possibilities provided by the LHC's very high energy. However, of equal value is its large number of collisions. When one is looking for a very rare and particular kind of collision, the best way to find it is to make many, many collisions. That increases the chances that a rare one will occur.

One particle that is of special interest is called a Bs (pronounced "B sub s") meson. This particle contains a bottom antiquark and a strange quark (or a bottom quark and a strange antiquark). While there are many ways in which it can decay, it is forbidden in the simplest calculations to decay into a pair of muons. In more complex calculations, however, it turns out that such a decay is possible, though exceedingly rare. Bs mesons are predicted by the Standard Model to decay into pairs of muons only once out of every 280 million decays. The first experimental evidence for this process was announced by the LHCb experiment in November 2012.

Ordinarily such a rare decay would be of only academic interest, but there are many candidate theories for physics beyond the Standard Model that predict this unusual decay will occur far more often. These theories include several models that incorporate supersymmetry and another that involves hypothetical particles called leptoquarks.

Because detecting two muons is very easy for the CMS experiment, it was natural for it to attempt such an analysis. While identifying muons is quite straightforward, the analysis was exceedingly challenging. Using all the data recorded in 2011 and 2012 (during which about 3 quadrillion collisions occurred in the detector, each containing tens, hundreds or even thousands of particles), only 30 or so decays of Bs mesons were identified as having the sought-after properties.

The result of these studies was that the fraction of Bs mesons that decayed in this particular way was completely consistent with predictions of the Standard Model. Comparable studies of another type of meson called Bd told a similar story. The agreement between the data and the Standard Model prediction sets severe constraints on many proposed theories for new physics.

Don Lincoln

These US CMS scientists contributed to this analysis.
Keith Ulmer is giving today's Wine and Cheese presentation on the CMS measurement of Bs mesons decaying into pairs of muons (Bs→μμ).
Photo of the Day

A day for the hunter

A red-tailed hawk feasts on a garter snake near the Building 327 driveway. Photo: Tracy Lundin, PPD

Today's New Announcements

Employee massage day - Aug. 15

Kyuki-Do martial arts

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn - Aug. 11

Budker Seminar - Aug. 12

Fermilab Heartland Blood Drive - Aug. 12 and 13

Fermilab Arts Series: The Congregation band - Aug. 17

UChicago Tuition Remission program deadline - Aug. 22

An Honest Approach to Weight Management - register by Aug. 22

URA Visiting Scholars program deadline - Aug. 26

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings in Auditorium

International folk dancing in Auditorium for summer

Chicago Fire discount tickets

Fermilab discount at Don's Auto Ade Inc.

Bristol Renaissance Faire discount

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