Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015

Have a safe day!

Thursday, Jan. 22

9 a.m.-9 p.m.
ELBNF Proto-Collaboration Meeting

2 p.m.
Neutrino Seminar - WH8XO
Speaker: Janet Conrad, MIT
Title: New Cyclotrons for Nu Physics

2:30 p.m.
Theoretical Physics Seminar - Curia II
Speaker: Luis Alvarez-Ruso, University of Valencia
Title: Progress and Open Questions in the Physics of Neutrino Interactions with Nucleons and Nuclei

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

Friday, Jan. 23

9 a.m.-5 p.m.
ELBNF Proto-Collaboration Meeting

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

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Eun-Joo Ahn, Fermilab
Title: Surprising Results on the Composition of the Highest-Energy Cosmic Rays

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Thursday, Jan. 22

- Breakfast: Canadian bacon, egg and cheese Texas toast
- Breakfast: sausage gravy omelet
- Philly chicken sandwich
- Baked penne with chicken and mushrooms
- Mom's meatloaf
- Rosemary chicken with sun-dried tomatoes
- Greek chicken salad
- Meatball and orzo soup
- Chef's choice soup
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Friday, Jan. 23

Wednesday, Jan. 28
- Stuffed cabbage
- Mashed potatoes
- Apple crisp cake

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Fermilab leads in developing software for LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration

From left: Fermilab's Jim Kowalkowski, Marc Paterno, Saba Sehrish, Steve Kent, all of the Scientific Computing Division, and Scott Dodelson, Particle Physics Division, contributed to DESC as part of its Software Working Group, which Dodelson leads. Photo: Rich Blaustein

At the supercomputing conference SC14, held in November, Fermilab astrophysics and computing experts achieved a milestone with a demonstration run of the analysis framework software they are developing for the Dark Energy Science Collaboration (DESC) of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

The LSST, whose construction is led by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, is currently in the advanced design phase and will be placed in Cerro Pachon, Chile. It will be the tool for the world's largest imaging survey, taking repeated images of the southern sky beginning in 2020.

The software and data processing demands for the DESC are challenging, to say the least.

"LSST will truly be a next-generation survey: It will surpass preceding surveys in terms of data size in its first few months of operation," said University of Pennsylvania astrophysicist Bhuvnesh Jain, spokesperson for the Dark Energy Science Collaboration.

More than 200 scientists from five countries are currently involved with DESC, and Jain expects the number of scientists involved in DESC to double in the next decade.

Fermilab astrophysicist Scott Dodelson, convener of the DESC Software Working Group, says the group is designing a framework for all DESC scientists that will facilitate their collaboration and use of tools built by the LSST project team. Steve Kent, Jim Kowalkowski, Marc Paterno and Saba Sehrish, all in Fermilab's Scientific Computing Division, worked to develop the DESC framework. Sehrish ran the November demonstration.

The framework links some programs specifically produced for LSST with others written externally or by the scientists themselves. It runs them on supercomputers, networks such as FermiGrid and local resources.

"The scientists running the DESC workflows will not have to worry about details such as file transport or access to supercomputers to do their dark energy science," Paterno said. "We demonstrated how this could be done."

Dodelson and Kent say that the demonstration was very successful and bodes well for the DESC.

"The demo was an end-to-end simulation of LSST data and science analyses — that was the really important thing," Kent said. "It was a walking-through of all the steps and with an eye on eventually expanding to the LSST scale."

The group ran simulated images through the interlinked software until at the end it was run through CosmoSIS, a cosmological parameter estimation program to which Dodelson, Kowalkowski, Paterno and Sehrish have contributed.

The DESC Software Working Group is currently developing another version of the demonstrated framework for the DESC scientists to consider at their February gathering at SLAC.

Jain said that innovative DESC software will enable explorations of the many astronomical mysteries that LSST will open up.

"The work of the Fermilab group is really going to pave the way for a new mode of doing software analyses and how people collaborate," Jain said. "I think it will have far-reaching implications for how we do cosmology."

Rich Blaustein

Photos of the Day

All-natural window art

Frost takes all kinds of shapes, making for beautiful seasonal office decorations. Photos: Jesus Orduna, Brown University
In the News

Neutrinos offer glimpse into the origins of the universe

From University of Cincinnati, Jan. 13, 2015

Each second, over a trillion neutrinos from the sun and other celestial objects pass through the average human body. With a name meaning "little neutral one" coined by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi to reflect their absence of electric charge, neutrinos are a billion times more abundant than the particles that make up stars, planets and people. They so rarely interact with other particles that they are very difficult to detect.

The NOvA experiment uses a very intense neutrino beam generated at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) near Chicago, Illinois, and two massive detectors placed 500 miles apart, one at Fermilab and one at Ash River, in northern Minnesota, to study nature's most elusive subatomic particle, the neutrino. By studying how neutrinos transform from one type into another over those 500 miles, NOvA will provide a new understanding of neutrino properties that may unravel the answers to the most fundamental questions in our understanding of the evolution of the universe.

Read more

In the News

Speed of light not so constant after all

From Science News, Jan. 17, 2015

Light doesn't always travel at the speed of light. A new experiment reveals that focusing or manipulating the structure of light pulses reduces their speed, even in vacuum conditions.

A paper reporting the research, posted online at and accepted for publication, describes hard experimental evidence that the speed of light, one of the most important constants in physics, should be thought of as a limit rather than an invariable rate for light zipping through a vacuum.

Read more

Physics in a Nutshell


Electromagnets are made by wrapping wire in a coil and attaching it to a battery. The same technology is used to make the magnets used in large particle accelerators.

Magnets are something most of us are familiar with, but you may not know that magnets are an integral part of almost all modern particle accelerators. These magnets aren't the same as the one that held your art to your parent's refrigerator when you were a kid. Although they have a north and south pole just as your fridge magnets do, accelerator magnets require quite a bit of engineering.

When an electrically charged particle such as a proton moves through a constant magnetic field, it moves in a circular path. The size of the circle depends on both the strength of the magnets and the energy of the beam. Increase the energy, and the ring gets bigger; increase the strength of the magnets, the ring gets smaller.

The Tevatron and the LHC are accelerators, a crucial word that reminds us that we use them to increase the energy of the beam particles. If the strength of the magnets remained the same, then as we increased the beam energy, the size of the ring would similarly have to increase. Since the size of the ring necessarily remains the same, we must increase the strength of the magnets as the beam energy is increased. For that reason, particle accelerators employ a special kind of magnet.

When you run an electric current through a wire, it creates a magnetic field; the strength of the magnetic field is proportional to the amount of electric current. Magnets created this way are called electromagnets. By controlling the amount of current, we can make electromagnets of any strength we want. We can even reverse the magnet's polarity by reversing the direction of the current.

Given the connection between electrical current and magnetic field strength, it is clear that we need huge currents in our accelerator magnets. To accomplish this, we use superconductors, materials that lose their resistance to electric current when they are cooled enough. And "cooled" is an understatement. At 1.9 Kelvin (about 450 degrees Fahrenheit below zero), the centers of the magnets at the LHC are one of the coldest places in the universe — colder than the temperature of space between galaxies.

Given the central role of magnets in modern accelerators, scientists and engineers at Fermilab and CERN are constantly working to make even stronger ones. Although the main LHC magnets can generate a magnetic field about 800,000 times that generated by the Earth, future accelerators will require even more. The technology of electromagnets, first observed in the early 1800s, is a vibrant and crucial part of the laboratories' futures.

Don Lincoln

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In Brief

Scientists present proposals for neutrino programs to PAC

Sergio Bertolucci, CERN director for research and scientific computing and chair of the interim International Executive Board for the proposed experiment at the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, addresses the members of the Fermilab Physics Advisory Committee.

Last week scientists presented proposals for future short- and long-baseline neutrino programs at the meeting of the Fermilab Physics Advisory Committee. Carlo Rubbia, David Schmitz and Peter Wilson presented plans for the short-baseline neutrino program, which aims to search for sterile neutrinos. Sergio Bertolucci, CERN, presented the proposal for the experiment at the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility, which would send a neutrino beam from Fermilab to the Sanford Underground Research Facility.

More than 500 scientists from 142 institutions in 23 countries have signed the letter of intent for ELBNF, and scientists will meet at Fermilab this week for the LBNF Proto-Collaboration meeting (Jan. 22-25). Links to the slides of all PAC presentations have been posted on the PAC meeting website.

In Brief

Getting paid the greener way - get paperless pay stubs

Thinking of using less paper in 2015? Wanting to simplify your life? Sign up for a paperless pay stub. Simply send an email to, and request that you no longer receive paper pay stubs.

If every employee signed up for paperless pay stubs, we would save almost 50,000 pieces of paper per year, not to mention ink, toner and the electricity used by the printers.

To view your paycheck electronically, go to the Work Resources page, select Employee Self Service, and sign in with your Fermilab ID and employee self service password. Click on Self Service, then View Paycheck. Past paychecks are viewable online.


Today's New Announcements

Linux User Group meets Jan. 28

International folk dance workshop with Lee Otterholt - today

Register for ELBNF collaboration meeting - today and tomorrow

Managed print upgrade revised date - Jan. 25

Zumba Toning registration due Jan. 27

Zumba Fitness registration due Jan. 29

Vaughan Athletic Center membership rates effective Feb. 3

Writing for Results: Email and More - Feb. 27

Fermilab Functions - March 3, 5, 11

Interpersonal Communication Skills course - March 10

Managing Conflict course - March 24

2015 FRA scholarship applications accepted until April 1

Windows 8.1 approved for use

Maternity closet

New ebook available: CRC Handbook of Mechanical Engineering

GSA updates mileage rate to 57.5 cents for 2015

Abri Credit Union appreciates our members

The Take Five challenge and poster winter 2014/2015

Scottish country dancing Tuesday evenings at Kuhn Barn

Indoor soccer