Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014

Have a safe day!

Thursday, Nov. 6

1 p.m.
Computing Techniques Seminar - One West
Speaker: Steve Timm, Fermilab
Title: Enabling On-Demand Scientific Workflows on a Federated Cloud

1:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar (NOTE TIME, LOCATION) - WH3NE
Speaker: James Barnard, University of Melbourne
Title: Composite Higgs Models with "The Works"

3 p.m.
All-Hands Meeting - Ramsey Auditorium

3:30 p.m.
Director's Coffee Break - WH2XO

Friday, Nov. 7

3:30 p.m.
Director's Coffee Break - WH2XO

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar and Fermilab Colloquium - One West
Speaker: Morgan Wascko, Imperial College
Title: New Measurements of Neutrino-Nucleus Scattering from T2K

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Thursday, Nov. 6

- Breakfast: Canadian bacon, egg and cheese Texas toast
- Breakfast: Greek omelet
- Ranch house steak sandwich
- Mediterranean baked tilapia
- Barbecue pork spareribs
- Rustic club flatbread sandwich
- General Tso's chicken
- Beef and rice soup
- Chef's choice soup
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Friday, Nov. 7
- French onion soup
- Filet mignon with horseradish cream sauce
- Roasted new potatoes
- Broccoli puree
- Chocolate souffle

Wednesday, Nov. 12
- Four cheese ravioli with roasted red pepper cream sauce
- Cranberry spinach salad
- Carrot cake

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Marcela Carena elected vice chair for APS Division of Particles and Fields

Marcela Carena

Marcela Carena, theoretical physicist at Fermilab and the University of Chicago, was recently elected vice chair of the Executive Committee for the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields. She will begin as vice chair on Jan. 1, 2015, rotating to chair-elect in 2016 and chair in 2017.

A 2002 fellow of the American Physical Society, Carena is an active member of the global high-energy physics community. In addition to conducting research at Fermilab, she has worked at both the DESY laboratory in Germany and at CERN. She served on the U.S. Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel in 2007. In 2010 she was awarded the Germany-based Alexander von Humboldt Research Award. She frequently interacts with the public, spreading the excitement of high-energy physics, something she hopes to continue as DPF officer.

"Particle physics is a remarkable human endeavor, inspired by the prospect of discoveries about nature's innermost secrets and enabled by transformational advances in accelerator, detector and data-handling technologies," Carena said. She said that, as DPF chair, she will work to strengthen partnerships with both other science fields and outside areas such as education and the private sector.

"I am honored to have been elected to the DPF Executive Committee chair line," she said. "I am committed to pursuing the strongest approaches to the challenges ahead, tapping into the enormous creativity and energy of our own community."

From symmetry

The rise of astrostatistics

Astrophysicists and cosmologists are turning to statisticians to help them analyze an ever-increasing deluge of data. Image: Sandbox Studio, with Kimberly Boustead

In late 1801 the orbit of the newly discovered asteroid Ceres carried it behind the sun, and astronomers worried they had lost it forever. A young mathematical prodigy named Carl Friedrich Gauss developed a new statistical technique to find it. Called "least squares regression," that technique is now a fundamental method of statistical analysis.

For about 200 years after that, however, astronomers and statisticians had little to do with one another. But in the last decade or so, astronomy and statistics have finally begun to formalize a promising relationship. Together they are developing the new discipline of astrostatistics.

Jogesh Babu, a Pennsylvania State professor and the director of the Penn State Center for Astrostatistics, remembers when the new age of astrostatistics dawned for him. Twenty-five years ago, when Babu's focus was statistical theory, astronomy professor Eric Feigelson asked to meet with him to talk about a problem. At the end of the conversation, Babu says, "we realized we both speak English but we didn't understand a word the other said."

To address that disconnect, the statistician and the astrophysicist organized a continuing series of conferences at Penn State. They also wrote a book, Astrostatistics, which effectively christened the new field. But collaborations between astrophysicists and statisticians remained small and scattered, only really starting to pick up in 2006, says Babu.

"The development of statistical techniques useful to advanced astronomical research progressed very slowly, and until recently most all analyses had to be done by hand," says statistician Joseph Hilbe, a statistics professor at Arizona State University. Before the advent of computers with sufficient capacity to do the work, certain useful calculations could take statisticians weeks to months to complete, he said.

Read more

Lori Ann White

Photo of the Day

Peaceful morning

The light of the rising sun illuminates a quiet Fermilab scene. Photo: Leticia Shaddix, PPD
In the News

Scintillator yields glimpse of elusive solar neutrinos

From Physics Today, November 2014

Virtually everything we know about the Sun has been gleaned from the light it emits. Images collected at various wavelengths provide clues to its composition, magnetic field dynamics, subsurface flows, and more.

To glimpse directly into the Sun's opaque core, however, one needs to look not for photons but for neutrinos. Both are products of the fusion of protons into helium-4, the multistep process that powers our parent star. But photons scatter in the Sun's core for tens of thousands of years before escaping. By the time we see them, they retain little history of their origins. Because neutrinos interact weakly with matter, they escape almost immediately. From their flux and energy, one can deduce rates of reactions occurring in the core.

Read more

In the News

Mystery photos from CERN's history

From CERN Bulletin, Oct. 20, 2014

Over the first 50 years of its existence, before digital photography became the norm, CERN accumulated about a quarter of a million hard-copy images in its archive. Now, a project is underway to digitise the entire collection and make it searchable via the CERN Document Server (CDS).

Some 120,000 black and white images from the period 1955-1985 are currently being digitised, with files being uploaded in batches of several hundred per week. They are then automatically sorted into albums based on the existing information. In most cases, at least some descriptions exist, allowing us to identify the pictures.

Read more

Physics in a Nutshell

Nine weird facts about neutrinos

Neutrinos change their flavor just as chameleons can change color. The observer needs to make sure their instruments are prepared to detect these changing beasts.

We don't know much about neutrinos, but what we do know points to renegade particles that, despite their prevalence, are hard to pin down. Here are, in a nutshell, nine neutrino nuggets that scientists have figured out so far.

1. Neutrinos are super abundant. The shining sun sends 65 billion neutrinos per second per square centimeter to Earth. Neutrinos are the second most abundant particle in the universe. If we were to take a snapshot, we'd see that every cubic centimeter has approximately 1,000 photons and 300 neutrinos.

2. Neutrinos are almost massless. No one yet knows the mass of neutrinos, but it is at least a million times less massive than the lightest particle we know, the electron. We do know that each is so lightweight and so abundant that the total mass of all neutrinos in the universe is estimated to be equal to the total mass of all of the visible stars.

3. Neutrinos are perfect probes for the weak force. All other fundamental particles interact through the strong, electromagnetic or weak force or through some combination of the three. Neutrinos are the only particles that interact solely though the weak force. This makes neutrinos important for nailing down the details of the weak force.

4. Neutrinos are really hard to detect. On average, only one neutrino from the sun will interact with a person's body during his or her lifetime. Since neutrino interactions are so rare, neutrino detectors must be huge. Super Kamiokande in Japan is as tall as Wilson Hall and holds 50,000 tons of ultrapure water. IceCube is buried between 1.5 and 2.5 kilometers under pure and clear ice in Antarctica, instrumenting a full cubic kilometer of ice.

5. Neutrinos are like chameleons. There are three flavors of neutrinos: electron, muon and tau. As a neutrino travels along, it may switch back and forth between the flavors. These flavor "oscillations" confounded physicists for decades.

6. Neutrinos of electron flavor linger around electrons. When neutrinos travel through matter, they see dense clouds of electrons. Electron neutrinos will have trouble traversing these dense clouds, effectively slowing down while muon and tau flavors travel through unimpeded. The NOvA experiment is using this phenomenon to deduce more information about the neutrino masses.

7. Neutrinos let us see inside the sun. The light that reaches Earth takes 10,000 to 100,000 years to escape the thick plasma of the sun's core. When light reaches the solar surface, it freely streams through open space to our planet in only 8 minutes. Neutrinos provide us a penetrating view into the core, where nuclear fusion powers the sun. They take only 3.2 seconds to escape to the solar surface and 8 minutes to reach Earth.

8. Neutrinos may have altered the course of the universe. Why is everything in the universe made predominantly of matter and not antimatter? Cosmologists think that at the start of the universe there were equal parts of matter and antimatter. Neutrino interactions may have tipped this delicate balance, enabling the formation of galaxies, stars and planets like our own Earth.

9. Neutrinos dissipate more than 99 percent of a supernova's energy. Certain types of stellar explosions lose nearly all of their energy through neutrinos. These "core collapse" supernovae end as either a black hole or a neutron star. Neutrinos are used to understand how supernovae explode and tell us more about other astronomical objects like active galactic nuclei.

Tia Miceli

In Brief

All-hands meeting video and slides are now online

On Nov. 5, Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer led an all-hands meeting to discuss the current state of the laboratory. A video of the talk and the presentation slides are now available in the online archive.


Today's New Announcements

International folk dancing newcomers' session at Kuhn Barn - today

Nature of the Laws of Nature discussion - today

NALWO Visit to the Art Legacy of Nancy Carrigan - Nov. 8

Barn Dance - Nov. 9

English country dancing - Nov. 9

Yoga Mondays - register by Nov. 10

Computer Security Awareness Day 2014 - Nov. 11

Access 2010: Advanced - Nov. 12

Wilson Fellowship accepting applications through Nov. 14

UChicago Tuition Remission Program deadline - Nov. 24

Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing - Dec. 1-5 (afternoon only)

Excel 2010: Advanced - Dec. 3

Ramsey Auditorium horseshoe road closure

Retrospective ebook on superconductivity available

NALWO Playgroup meets Wednesdays at 5:15 at Users Center

Scottish country dance Tuesdays at Kuhn Barn

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn

Silk and Thistle Scottish dancing celebrates 20 years

Indoor soccer

Broomball open league

Hollywood Palms Employee Appreciation Day