Halloween 2014

Have a spooky day!

Friday, Oct. 31

2:30 p.m.
Joint Experimental- Theoretical Physics Seminar - Dark Side
Speaker: Jack Pumpkinhead
Title: Gourd Simulations of Particle Collisions

3:30 p.m.
DIRECTOR'S POTION PARTY - Room of Requirement

Monday, Nov. 3

3:30 p.m.
WITCH'S BREW BREAK - 13th Flr X-Over

4 p.m.
Astroparticle Physics Seminar - Hornet's Nest
Speaker: Linus van Pelt
Title: Patience is a Virtue: Persistence in Searches for Unseen Phenomena

Consult the cabwide pumpkin for upper limits on inedible squash.

So co-o-o-old

Extended forecast
Weather at Fermilab

Trick or Treat Status

Tino is sighted! It must be a treat. Or is it a trick?

Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Oct. 31

- Breakfast: moldy cheese on toast
- Breakfast: blood sausage
- Fried frog eyes
- Buffalo batwings
- Spiderwurst
- Homemade rat tail soup
- Roasted brains
- Black cat coffee
- Bones for gnawing

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez des Morts

Friday, Oct. 31
- Roasted spiders in a bird's nest
- Pig Olivia with Russell's sprouts and live dumplings
- Toasted toads with candy corn

Wednesday, Nov. 5
- Toasted pumpkin seeds
- Post-carving pumpkins (they're still good to eat)
- Post-bobbing apple cores (also still edible)
- Pepcid AC

Chez de Morts menu
Call xMORT to make your reservation.


Fermilab Today

Scaredy Catty Corner

Freaky Science Result

Physics in a Nutshell

Clip of the Week


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Ghostbuster team finds ghostly neutrinos in Batavia

Ghostly neutrinos are more difficult to capture than ghosts, but the famed ghostbusting crew of New York City managed to get the job done — and then some.

On a hunch that short- and long-baseline experiments might not be adequate for finding ghostly neutrinos, Fermilab management went retro earlier this year and hired the original Ghostbuster team to carry out its own independent, unimpeded search for the elusive particles.

The gamble paid off. At a pre-Halloween press conference earlier this week, members of Fermilab management and the Ghostbusters team announced finding neutrinos along the neutrino beamline in complex 80sGB, a special undisclosed Fermilab facility built just for the New York-based team.

"We got slimed, as we knew we would," said senior ghostbuster Peter Venkman. "But we found them, and we are not telling how. It was so &%#@& scary!"

In addition to bagging the neutrinos, Venkman's team also reviewed earlier Fermilab neutrino experiment protocols. Venkman said there were major flaws in the way the experiments were conducted and the data made public.

"The problem with one of the older experiments was that the team gave too much away," Venkman said. "They were too loose and mouthed off to other scientists. That is not the way do science, let alone go after neutrinos."

Despite his team's refusal to disclose details and data, Venkman said his team's experiment will be both reproducible and disprovable.

"That smarty pants Karl Popper would be a-ok with our research. It is Karl Popper, right?" he publicly surmised. "Or was it Carl Yaz who came up with the test?"

Fermilab confirms that the Ghostbuster experiment's results will be published in a January issue of Nature and its antiresults in Science that same month.

Venkman said being down "in the neutrino beam area with all that gooey stuff and then seeing the ghostly neutrinos was scary beyond words."

He added that he is very proud of his team's good work.

"It is all about good karma," Venkman said, and he encourages particle physicists, in particular, to "start thinking outside the box."


Is ROC West haunted?

The new ROC West is losing it, thanks to an incantation of unknown origin.

Too soon after its September opening, ROC West is temporarily closed due to malfunctioning screens.

Desktop monitors are luring unsuspecting researchers into portals to the fiery underworld with seductive whispers, hypnotic dirges and strange data anomalies that require close inspection. Computing experts advise users not to touch their screens, no matter how many 5-sigma results appear.

Roughly half of the center's displays are rotating freely and periodically expelling a foul-smelling green substance. The remainder alternate between eyeless faces and episodes of "Big Bang Theory." Several employees have reportedly gone insane after viewing the monitors.

The new remote operations center featured futuristic gleaming white walls just a few days ago, but those are now covered with hundreds of scrawlings of Schroedinger's wave equation. The whiteboards are still clean, with the exception of a phrase that appeared late last night: "Enemies of the heir, beware. The time projection chamber of secrets has been opened."

Director Nigel Lockyer denied that the issues in ROC West are connected to a weathered tome he found in Ramsey Auditorium following the NOvA presentations.

"I only read two paragraphs of the text out loud, and I'm sure it was something about neutrinos," Lockyer trailed off during a press conference. "Even if it was an incantation, there's no way that last section was just part of the footer."

With ROC West cordoned off for the foreseeable future, users running muon or neutrino experiments can occupy additional space in ROC East. Although there is currently no danger, researchers should keep an eye on the giant Higgs boson that is slowly clawing its way out of the main projection screen.

In the News

Conceptual physics Halloween costumes

From Uncertain Principles, Oct. 29, 2014

A fine if somewhat intermittent tradition hereabouts has been the offering of high-concept Halloween costumes for people interested in physics, surfacing in 2010, 2012, and 2013. I'm a little too fried right now to do anything all that deep, but I'll try to offer a few suggestions.

Read more

In the News

See the spookiest space photos this Halloween

From Time, Oct. 30, 2014

Nebulae that look like witches, zombie stars, and spectral clouds of star dust.

Read more

Freaky Science Result: DarkHeart-13

Dark matter or the darkest matter?

No one knew what dark matter was — until now. And it appears to be less dark than predicted. Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, University of Basque Country/JHU

Scientists working on dark matter experiments are trained to expect the unexpected.

No one knows what dark matter is or how to detect it. We know that dark matter makes up a quarter of the universe, but beyond that, it remains a mystery. So each experiment is different, and each one uses its own method to uncover the secrets of this elusive substance.

Fermilab's latest experiment, DarkHeart-13, uses what some might consider an unconventional method of detecting dark matter. But it is one that has produced a most unexpected and interesting result, as you can read in our latest paper, published this week. While we do expect that the result is repeatable, proper safety measures should be observed.

Like many dark matter experiments, DarkHeart-13 uses a container of liquid to detect the phantom particles. In this case, however, the container is more of a large metal cauldron, and the liquid a bubbling green froth made of classified ingredients. Wearing special superconducting robes, our scientists then read aloud special equations devised by theorists while standing in a circle around the detector.

While this method has been controversial among the scientific community, the latest result proves its efficacy. On Oct. 12, after a particularly vigorous oration by the collaboration members, the DarkHeart detector spotted something brand new — a particle of matter that had not been observed before. This particle appeared to take the form of a 7-meter-tall red monster with horns calling itself Draghignazzo the Infernal, an utterance the DarkHeart team captured on audio and video.

At first, this new discovery seemed like it might be dangerous. As recordings show, Draghignazzo stomped around the experimental hall for a while in an attempt to scare the research team. But after some time, we realized he was more bark than bite. In fact, Draghignazzo turned out to be a real WIMP. After a cup of tea and some Scrabble, it was determined that despite his outward appearance, he's quite nice. We're going bowling next week.

The DarkHeart-13 collaboration considers this a successful detection of dark matter. As final evidence, we note that the computer screens in the detector hall have since not stopped playing old episodes of "Big Bang Theory." We leave the scientific explanation of this phenomenon to future experiments.

Learn more

Photo of the Day

Nobel Prize winner's inner fire glows eternal

He's watching you: The spirit of Einstein continues to burn bright, almost 60 years after his death, in unexpected places. That's some spooky action.
In Verse

The Shakers

Requiescat in pace, table salt and pepper. Your tabletop life was spicy. Your underground existence will be even more so.

These cruel condiments denying my olfactory senses — crying! —

By their absence, so withholding flavor by which food's restored,

"Though mere salt and pepper shakers, thou," I said, "art sure no fakers,

Playing dead as though thy maker banished thee to be ignored —

When wilt thou return to grace the cafe tables as before?"

Quoth the shakers "Nevermore."


Today's New Announcements

Apple bobbing at Pine St. guard station - today

Thumb-pricking instruction in Wilson Hall - today

Exclusive MINOS underground areas tour - today

Midnight tour of Pioneer Cemetery - tonight

Séance in Kuhn Barn, folk dancing to follow - tomorrow - witching hour

Dog training area closed until Nov. 1