Wednesday, April 1, 2015
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Free food in Wilson Hall Cafe today

In celebration of the mild winter, free popsicles will be served in the cafeteria today from 10-11 a.m.


Today's New Announcements

Extraterrestrial attracted to Fermilab project

Sleep pods make it into the Campus Master Plan

Love and joy come to physics playground

Coyote population to be kept in check

Bright new individual joins Mu2e


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First IARC partnership announced

Cereal on cereal box is not shown to scale.

After years of planning, the Illinois Accelerator Research Center has announced its first partnership with an outside company. And the result promises to be delicious.

General Mills, the Minneapolis-based company behind Cheerios, Trix and Lucky Charms, has inked a deal to begin producing new cereal brands based on Fermilab's research. Executives from the cereal giant have already opened an office in the IARC building and have been working diligently with Fermilab scientists to create the first batch of new products.

"Breakfast is fundamental, just like the particles studied here at Fermilab," said General Mills CEO Pendle J. Cowell. "We're looking for that sweet spot where yummy, nutritious cereal and particle physics meet."

The first cereal to be produced under the new agreement will be called Neutrin-O's and will make use of Fermilab's research into particles called neutrinos. The cereal, available this summer, promises trillions of the elusive, invisible particles in every bite.

"From the outside, it will look like we're selling empty boxes," said Bob Kephart, head of IARC at Fermilab. "But anyone with a multimillion-dollar particle detector will be able to tell you that each box is chock full of neutrino-y goodness."

Neutrin-O's will be available this summer in three flavors. Kephart said a fourth flavor has been talked about, but "nothing has been nailed down."

Neutrin-O's will be marketed as a healthy cereal, one that does not provide a significant source of sugar, fat or harmful chemicals. And unlike other cereals, Kephart said, Neutrin-O's will not turn into a soggy mess in milk.

"We can pretty much guarantee that Neutrin-O's won't interact with milk at all," Kephart said.

Kephart and Cowell hope to keep this partnership going and explore other possible particle physics-based breakfast foods. At press time, an idea called Honey Bunches of Bosons was under discussion.


Fermilab and Chicago Metropolitan Water Reclamation District announce Collider and Reservoir Project

The Collider and Reservoir Project tunnel will circle Chicago. One of the particle collider's detectors will sit under the University of Chicago.

Today Fermilab and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) announced an unprecedented partnership that will construct the world's most powerful particle accelerator while improving stormwater drainage for millions in greater Chicago.

"For years now both the physics community and wastewater authorities have dug large tunnels deep underground," said Fermilab director Nigel Lockyer. "Ours have accelerators, and theirs remove stormwater to prevent flooding. This is a great opportunity for us to share the huge infrastructure investment with a reliable partner."

MWRD released their own statement:

"Our TARP — Tunnel and Reservoir Project – has set the standard for large-scale stormwater systems for over 40 years," said a spokesperson for MWRD. "We're proud to extend the benefits of the nation's best stormwater management system to the Chicago collar counties. Never did we think we'd share facilities with cutting-edge research, too."

The new Collider and Reservoir Project's tunnel, popularly known as CARP, will encircle Chicago. Fermilab will supply the CARP's protons from the Main Injector. From Batavia, the tunnel will extend north to Arlington Heights and then curve down through MWRD's mainline tunnel, through a new tunnel under the south side of Chicago to the Thornton tunnel, and then back to Fermilab.

CARP is an astounding 90 kilometers around. The Tevatron at Fermilab was just over 6 kilometers long. The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is 27 kilometers. The Future Circular Collider study, which kicked off just last February, commented that they were surprised their plans were already being implemented.

All of Fermilab's detectors have been located on its Batavia campus, but CARP's size meant finding new detector sites. One of CARP's detectors will sit beneath the University of Chicago. The University of Illinois at Chicago will also host their own detector.

UIC is enthusiastic about their new detector.

"Hosting the new Circle Interchange Collider will call UIC Physics up to the major leagues," said UIC professor Nikos Varelas. "We're calling the north particle beam the Cubs beam and the south one the Sox beam. Given those teams' records last year, it just seemed appropriate that these beams would be 30 meters underground in the proverbial cellar."

Hasan Padamsee, who leads Fermilab's Technical Division, noted the project's challenges.

"Everyone understands how difficult it is to dig a large hole, but that's only half the challenge. Up until now, every collider in the world has been dry," he said. "Not only must we design larger magnets, RF cavities and cryogenics, but we have to make them waterproof — and a lot of other-things-proof, too."

Funding CARP is a primary concern. Cynthia Conger, Fermilab's Chief Financial Officer, is confident about its future.

"The first funding source is the partnership with MWRD — they're recession-proof," she said. "People have to, well, you know. And that has to go somewhere."


CERN researchers confirm existence of the Force

The Force has proven a popular research tool for the CERN beams department. Image: Max Brice and Daniel Dominguez/CERN

Researchers at the Large Hadron Collider just recently started testing the accelerator for running at the higher energy of 13 TeV, and already they have found new insights into the fundamental structure of the universe. Though four fundamental forces — the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force and gravity — have been well documented and confirmed in experiments over the years, CERN announced today the first unequivocal evidence for the Force. "Very impressive, this result is," said a diminutive green spokesperson for the laboratory.

"The Force is what gives a particle physicist his powers," said CERN theorist Ben Kenobi of the University of Mos Eisley, Tatooine. "It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us; and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together."

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Cian O'Luanaigh

From the Office of Integrated Planning and Performance Management

Getting to the point of planning

Erik Gottschalk

Erik Gottschalk, head of IPPM, wrote this column.

Over the course of the last year, Fermilab has been busy planning, planning plans, and planning plans to plan those plans. We are now ready to unveil the fruits of many months of labor.

Following the release of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel (P5) report in May 2014, our planning efforts have been accelerating. When I was appointed the head of the Office of Integrated Planning and Performance Management, I felt prepared to take on this massive task. My team and I were in for a surprise.

As each day passed, we faced a growing mountain of planning paperwork, and our hard drives were full to bursting with plans files. We needed to find a way to tackle our task, which was quickly becoming more than we could handle.

First we proposed the "Planning for P5" method of rolling a six-sided die. P6 seemed a perfect fit for our time, skills and budget. It also greatly increased attendance at senior management meetings. But after a few weeks it became clear that six levels of priority wouldn't be enough, and we needed to find a new strategy.

Next we turned to our tried and true guide for exploring the universe. An Infinite Improbability Drive seemed perfect for planning purposes, so we immediately put together a project proposal. While DOE agreed that the IID fulfilled a mission need, it didn't sit well that the proposed cost range was $0 to $∞. DOE recommended a range of -$∞ to $∞, but that made lab management nervous.

On to the next idea: a Monte Carlo approach involving all lab employees in the planning process. After many late-night meetings at the Users Center and disheartened darts games, our guiding light emerged from the fog: Darts. Simple. Democratic. Low-cost. And now, DOE-approved.

I'm happy to announce that our 2015 Annual Lab Plan will be determined by competitive darts games. A GPP project is already under way to install electronic dart boards on the 15th floor. Core Computing is working on a program to translate the results into project priorities. ESH&Q is working out the safety kinks, WDRS is developing a training program, and Procurement has put out an RFP for hundreds of tungsten darts.

Join me at next week's Director's Coffee Break, where we will kick off the new initiative by competing for cookies.

Video of the Day

A star is born

It's another day at the office for Fermilab scientist Bob Tschirhart.

Fermilab Day Spa set to open this summer

Calgon, take me away. These before-and-after shots show the fantastic improvement you will see in the Wilson Hall first-floor bathrooms by the end of summer.

The Wilson Hall atrium will be bustling with construction over the next few months as the public restrooms undergo a major transformation into a luxurious spa. Scheduled to open in August, the new Fermilab Day Spa will provide a relaxing and rejuvenating escape for staff and visitors.

A salt cave, manicure and pedicure stations, and a Finnish sauna will take the place of the current aging pipes and industrial, well-used restroom fixtures. Radiant-heated marble floors, rainfall showers, serene lighting and aromatherapy will create a peaceful and inviting environment, designed to calm the mind and body.

While initial plans called for modest replacement restroom facilities, Fermilab architect Gary Van Zandbergen had a grander idea in mind.

"We took a relatively mundane renovation project and turned it into an opportunity to improve people's work-life balance," said Van Zandbergen. "The spa will be a convenient oasis that gives people a break from their hectic day and is expected to markedly increase employee satisfaction."

As plans progressed, Van Zandbergen and the FESS team encountered many obstacles, including mature infrastructure and limited space.

"We had to employ nearly every architectural trick in the book to make the small restroom space accommodate a full-size day spa," said Van Zandbergen. "I think people will be pleasantly surprised when they see it."

Wilson Hall Building Manager John Kent, slated to receive the first pedicure on opening day, looks forward to the huge improvement.

"I currently field a lot of calls about the building being too hot or too cold and burned out light bulbs that need replacing," Kent said. "So I'm really looking forward to a change of pace and addressing questions about facial scrubs or the optimal temperature for a Finnish sauna."

After the spa is complete, what's next on the construction project list?

"Sleep pods," answered Van Zandbergen. "A pilot sleep pod room will be constructed this fall in the second-floor space previously occupied by the lab director's office."

He added, "We're thinking that after all of the relaxing spa treatments, people might need a nap."

Photo of the Day

Nessie spotted in Swan Lake

Photo: Elliott McCrory, AD
Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, April 1

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ESH&Q Section, contains one incident.

An employee received a tungsten dart in his right arm during a management meeting. This is a DART case.

See the full report.

In the News

Scientists discover eating serves function other than easing anxiety

From The Onion, April 1, 2015

PROVIDENCE, RI — Shedding new light on the biological underpinnings behind the behavior, scientists at Brown University announced Tuesday that eating appears to serve a number of key functions besides relieving anxiety. "While a considerable portion of food is indeed ingested in order to distract an individual from feelings of panic and insecurity, our research shows that eating actually confers several benefits beyond temporarily holding despair at bay," said Dr. Sandra Lutkin, who explained that consuming food has been found to provide vital nutrients to the human body and in many cases replenish it with energy, suggesting that its primary purpose may not be as a coping mechanism at all.

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