April Fool's Day 2014

Be safe!

In honor of Southern Food Manager John Hatfield's birthday, there will be free food in Wilson Hall cafeteria from 10-11 a.m. today.

Tuesday, April 1

11 a.m.
"It's Academic" Lecture Series - One West
Speaker: François-Marie Arouet
Title: Dark Energy is Neither Dark nor Energy

3:30 p.m.
MOLSON BREAK - Main Control Room

4 p.m.
Accelerator Physics and Technology Seminar - One West
Speaker: Bill Pellico
Title: Like Herding Cats: Collimating Beams to Mitigate Undesirable Beam-Beam Effects

Wednesday, April 2

3:30 p.m.

4 p.m.
Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speakers: Mucca Pazza
Title: Up! Top! Up Top! Cheering On Science

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

Ongoing and upcoming conferences at Fermilab


Take Two


Weather Glorious

Take that, polar vortices

Current Security Status


Wilson Hall Cafe

Tuesday, April 1

- Food, glorious food!
- What is there more handsome?
- Gulped, swallowed or chewed —
- Still worth a king's ransom.
- What is it we dream about?
- What brings on a sigh?
- Piled peaches and cream, about
- Six feet high!
- Magical food
- Wonderful food
- Marvelous food
- Fabulous food

Audio menu

Chez Leon

Wednesday, April 2
Theme: Cheesy
- Fondue
- Pizza
- Nachos

Friday, April 4
Theme: Corny
- Tortilla chips
- Grits
- Johnnycakes
- Corn on the cob
- Creamed corn
- Sweet-corn ice cream

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


Director's Corner

Frontier Science Result

Physics in a Nutshell

Tip of the Week


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Costly mixup might delay Muon g-2 experiment

No one questioned for a moment what might be under the plastic wrap.

It all seemed to be going so well. Maybe too well.

Last summer, Fermilab received a carefully wrapped ring, protected by many layers of white, sturdy plastic, from its collaborators at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The ring had traveled more than 3,000 miles from Long Island — along the Atlantic coast, through the Gulf of Mexico and up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers — to Illinois. Police blocked highways and Interstates to get the ring by truck from the port in Lemont to Fermilab.

Thousands of people watched and cheered as the ring arrived in front of Wilson Hall. School children and congressmen visited to have their photos taken in front of the ring.

But nobody bothered to check what was inside the huge package, about 50 feet in diameter — until now.

With the construction of Fermilab's new Muon g-2 building nearing completion this month, technicians finally began to unwrap the oversized object — and were in for a big surprise.

"'What the heck is that' was one of the milder things people said," recalled John Voirin of the Experiment Installation Group. "Nobody saw this coming. The Muon g-2 folks should have asked our Shipping and Receiving guys to do an inspection upon arrival."

Kelly Hardin was one of the employees who used a box cutter to remove layer after layer of the white plastic to unveil what was supposed to be a giant electromagnet for the proposed Muon g-2 experiment.

"It took me and my colleagues almost an hour to carefully remove just a little section of the shrink wrap," he said. "When we peeled away the final layer, it was clear: This was not a magnet. Then security guards arrived and I was asked to leave the area. I still don't know exactly what that thing is."

Project manager Chris Polly is charged with determining what might have happened. He said he has contacted the Brookhaven management team, and they are investigating whether a mix-up might have occurred in their warehouse.

"This will be hard to explain to DOE," Polly said.

For years, residents of Long Island have known about stories that Brookhaven was storing a spaceship that crashed near the laboratory in 1992. If those are true, Fermilab scientists now might have a chance to show how smart they are.

"Clearly, the Brookhaven folks never got the ship to fly again, otherwise we would have read about it in the National Enquirer," Polly said. "This might be our chance."

Special Announcement

All employees required to clock in on Memorial Day

Due to the labor time lost during the recent snow days, Fermilab will be open on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26. All employees are required to come to work that day. When completing your timesheets, please use the designated Snow Day code.


Bison selected for Fermilab Users Executive Committee

The Fermilab Users Executive Committee recently elected its first bovine member, the well-respected Rutherford Bison. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Fermilab's ever-popular herd of bison has finally leveraged its longstanding celebrity into political might.

Last week, the Fermilab Users Executive Committee elected one of the herd's own to the 13-member team. Rutherford Bison is the first bovine — or any nonhuman member of the animal kingdom — elected to a Fermilab committee. Users say he's well-suited to the task.

"Rud's been a leader since he was a calf," said Nikos Varelas of the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Even now, when I go to the Fermilab barn, he's always at the front of the herd greeting passersby."

Varelas added, "I always wanted to feed him. I know you're not supposed to feed the bison, but I wanted to."

Despite local support, it's been a long, hard road for the campaign that united under the slogan "Go Big." The reputation Mr. Bison enjoys as a charismatic megafauna seemed to work against him at times on the campaign trail. After some of the more energetic rallies, threats of stampedes frightened many of the Fermilab Village residents. And during rockier periods of the campaign, Mr. Bison lost substantial weight. In the latter portion of the weeks-long Chicago suburb bus tour, his 2,000-pound frame shrunk by nearly 200 pounds. This did not go unnoticed by pundits.

"'Go Big'? More like 'Go Dig' … a grave for this candidate," said George Hughes, local talk radio personality. "He doesn't seem able to stand up to the pressures of running for office. How could he possibly succeed in a leadership role at America's particle accelerator laboratory?"

Few animal candidates have expressed interest in running for office at the laboratory since Felicia the Ferret's failed bid for Fermilab Friends for Education chair. In the 1970s, the stalwart, cuddly ferret lost to a human candidate for the coveted seat.

Some UEC members have expressed doubts about the new addition.

"So far, all Mr. Bison's ideas have been bison-related. 'More grazing space for the bison' or 'Better food for the bison,'" said UEC member Mandy Rominsky. "We're hoping he expands into other areas of concern soon."

The campaign bumps did not dampen bison enthusiasm surrounding this landmark victory. Fermilab officials are also optimistic.

"The Fermilab leadership looks forward to working with Mr. Bison," said Andre Salles, Fermilab media and communications specialist. "The laboratory really needs individuals who thrive in harsh Chicago winters."

Photo of the Day

Making way for neutrinos

Individuals break ground on NOvA's 500-mile underground neutrino conduit, which will provide passage for neutrinos traveling from Fermilab to the far detector in Minnesota. Those tasked with shoveling were heard to grumble that they wished there were a way to send neutrinos to Minnesota without a tunnel. Photo: Fermilab

CERN to switch to Comic Sans

Former ATLAS spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti announces the change to Comic Sans. Video: CERN

From today, all of CERN's official communication channels are switching to exclusive use of the font Comic Sans. The move comes after weeks of deliberation by CERN management and top web designers about how best to update the image of the laboratory for this, its 60th anniversary year.

"This is an important year for CERN and we wanted to make a bold visual statement," says CERN Head of Communications James Gillies. "We thought the most effective way to communicate our research into the fundamental structure of matter at the very boundaries of technology was by changing the font." For Gillies, Comic Sans says: 'This is a serious laboratory, with a serious research agenda.' — "And it makes the letters look all round and squishy," he adds.

Read more

In the News

Distant planet terrified it might be able to someday support human life

From The Onion, April 1, 2014

CONSTELLATION VELA—Claiming that the mere thought is an "absolute nightmare," WR 67c, a terrestrial planet from the distant Gamma Velorum star system, expressed its profound terror Wednesday at the possibility of one day gaining the capacity to sustain human life.

The 5.2-billion-year-old celestial body, which is located roughly 1,100 light years from Earth, said that for both its own sake and that of its entire solar system, it can only hope to never possess the necessary planetary characteristics and chemical elements needed to support either a deep-space human outpost or, more gravely, an entire human colony.

Read more

Director's Corner

Policy changes

Fermilab Director
Nigel Lockyer

Last week, we announced the selection of Tim Meyer as Fermilab's new Chief Operating Officer. As many of you know, I worked closely with Tim for years at TRIUMF, Canada's particle physics laboratory.

Many of you have asked if Tim's hiring is the first step toward making Fermilab more like TRIUMF. I also heard that some of you are worried that I might be interested in bringing more of a Canadian flavor to the laboratory, and you're wondering if I have plans to "Canada up" the place.

The short answer is oui.

The long answer is that while the good old United States of America is my home, I've spent the last seven years in Canada, and there are some things our northern neighbor just does better. So I am happy to announce the following changes to laboratory policy, effective immediately.

  1. The Fermilab logo will be replaced by a large red maple leaf. The Office of Communication is in the process of updating the laboratory's templates, and the Roads and Grounds crew will reshape the tall grass in front of Wilson Hall this week.
  2. The herd of bison will be replaced with a herd of moose. I've arranged with the Canadian Wildlife Service to release a breeding herd in the Main Ring.
  3. Fermilab documents will begin using the correct spellings of words like "colour" and "centre." This applies to scientific names as well: our flagship accelerator will now be called the Main Injectre.
  4. Anyone delivering a public lecture will be required to pronounce "about" correctly. It's "aboot." As in, "It's aboot time you all pronounce this word the right way."
  5. We will begin instituting mandatory hockey games at lunchtime. I was glad to see that some of our scientists anticipated this mandate and practiced this winter on the pond in front of Wilson Hall. But to accommodate this wonderful sport year round, part of the atrium will be remodeled to include a hockey rink. The winners of the daily games will get a free case of Molson with their lunches.
  6. On that note, effective today, Molson will be sold in the cafeteria, and will be the official drink of Fermilab if we run out of Tim Horton's coffee.
  7. All employees will be given a Blackberry Q-10.
  8. Working with the manager of our Arts and Lecture Series, Janet MacKay-Galbraith, I have arranged for next season's program to include Michael Buble, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Justin Bieber and the Barenaked Ladies.

I am sure you will all enjoy these changes as much as Tim and I will. The first hockey game this fall will pit the NOvA Neutrinos against the Muon g-2 Ringers. Come down, have a Molson, and celebrate with us. Happy April 1st, eh!


2015 Winter Classic to be held at Fermilab

Nigel Lockyer and Joe Morgan look over plans that detail the transformation of Fermilab's tranquil reflecting pond into an almost-regulation hockey rink. It will include penalty boxes, heated player benches and a Zamboni. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Since the game-opening puck drop at the first Winter Classic in 2008, Fermilab's Joe Morgan has been tirelessly lobbying the National Hockey League for a chance to host the outdoor hockey game here at the lab.

Yesterday, he got his wish.

"I was in my office on the phone trying to negotiate a purchasing contract for the lab when I received an email from the NHL saying that the Fermilab site had been selected for the 2015 Winter Classic," said Morgan, who works in the Procurement Department.

The Winter Classic is one of the NHL's series of outdoor hockey games, which also includes the Stadium Series and the Heritage Classic. In the past five years, the games, which are played in professional baseball and football stadiums converted to ice rinks, have soared in popularity due in part to the enjoyment of watching the players trying to skate in severe winter weather.

While Morgan has attended every single one of the outdoor games throughout the United States and Canada, he's especially looking forward this one, which will match up the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 1, 2015.

"It will be a real treat to have the Hawks here," Morgan said. "I mean… a chance to see Sharpie and Kaner and Crow up close and playing some serious hockey on the Wilson Hall reflecting pond? It just doesn't get any better than that."

Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer shares Morgan's enthusiasm. "I've always thought the pond would be the perfect setting for an NHL game," said Lockyer. "Sure it's not oval like a real rink, but hockey players are tough and can deal with it. Especially the Canadian ones."

In Brief

Fermilab deputy director candidate pool down to four

Four highly qualified individuals are currently vying to be Fermilab's next deputy director.

The Fermilab Deputy Director Search Committee has announced its final four candidates: Deputy Cletus Hogg, Deputy Enos Strate, Deputy Barney Fife and Deputy Dawg.

FRA Chair Robert Zimmer said that any one of them would be an asset to the laboratory.

"The advantage all the candidates share is that they're already deputies," he said. "They know the ins and outs of deputizing and being deputized. That gives them a significant leg up for being second in command at the laboratory."

Construction Update

Eye of Sauron nearly complete

Depending on how the pictured project turns out, we may be compelled to convert this Fermilab Today column into a destruction update. Photo: Jamieson Olsen, PPD

FESS is nearly finished installing the eye of Sauron atop Wilson Hall. The lidless orb will relentlessly track all rings at the laboratory: Muon g-2, Main and Main Injector. FESS determined that the lab needed only one eye to see them all.

The Eye of Sauron construction project is in full compliance with the Fermilab Master Plan and will not interfere with the laboratory's effort to consolidate its ill distributed buildings and spaces.


Today's New Announcements

Upgraded coffee and cookies to be served at Director's Coffee Break

Name change from Fermilab to FermiLab effective April 2

La-di-da: Gourmet coffee now to be served at Director's Coffee Break

Wilson Hall roof construction

Colloquium speakers Mucca Pazza in Ramsey Auditorium - April 5

Pfft, coffee and cookies? No way. Freshly baked cupcakes to be served at Director's Coffee Break

Lunch and Learn: Crunch and Burn - April 8

Cupcakes too plebeian: espresso and made-to-order French pastries to be served at Director's Coffee Break

Office Etiquette course - April 8-9

Desserts banned: Sushi bar to be installed as regular part of Director's Coffee Break