Friday, Feb. 6, 2015

Have a safe day!

Friday, Feb. 6

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

4 p.m.
Joint Experimental-Theoretical Physics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Andrei Gaponenko, Fermilab
Title: Never Throw Away Old Data: Using TWIST Muons for Mu2e

Saturday, Feb. 7

7 p.m.
Fermilab Arts Series - Auditorium
Cirque Zuma Zuma
Tickets: $30/$15

Monday, Feb. 9

10 a.m.
Neutrino Seminar (NOTE DATE) - WH8XO
Speaker: Boris Kayser, Fermilab
Title: Neutrino Masses and Majorana Neutrinos

2 p.m.
Particle Astrophysics Seminar - One West
Speaker: Alex Szalay, Johns Hopkins University
Title: Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Redshift Space Distortions

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

4 p.m.
All Experimenters' Meeting - Curia II

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Wilson Hall Cafe

Friday, Feb. 6

- Breakfast: French bistro breakfast
- Breakfast: chorizo and egg burrito
- Tuna melt
- White fish florentine
- Vegetarian lasagna
- Cuban panino
- Breakfast-for-lunch omelet bar
- Vegetarian cream of asparagus
- Texas-style chili
- Assorted pizza by the slice

Wilson Hall Cafe menu

Chez Leon

Friday, Feb. 6

Wednesday, Feb. 11
- Grilled Asian flank steak
- Soba noodle salad
- Pineapple flan

Chez Leon menu
Call x3524 to make your reservation.


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Water Street Studios exhibit ties neutrino physics to human identity

Artist Meghan Beitiks makes physicists the objects of study through video projections of their daily tasks in patterns based on neutrino data sets. An exhibit of her work, based on interviews with Fermilab scientists, is on display at Water Street Studios in Batavia. Photo: Georgia Schwender, OC

When artist Meghan Moe Beitiks came to Fermilab to explore the laboratory's neutrino projects and the physicists who pursue them, she left with an observation perhaps as elusive as the neutrino itself — a parallel between particle physics and human identity.

From Jan. 24 to March 7, Water Street Studios is hosting Beitiks' exhibit "Observations of Final States in Interactions," where she uses her experience at Fermilab to tie neutrinos, physicists' day-to-day activities and the philosophical concept of the self.

The exhibit provides a truly multimedia experience. Chalk drawings decorate the blackened windows and doors, videos are projected onto the walls, and voices of physicists and philosophers fill the air.

This project was born out of a conversation between Georgia Schwender, curator of the Fermilab Art Gallery, and Jen Evans, interim executive director at Water Street Studios. They spoke with Beitiks' curator, Ross Stanton Jordan, and when he approached Beitiks with the project, she was happy to accept.

"I was interested in the fact that a neutrino oscillates between different identities and that there are apparatuses to measure it," Beitiks explained. "They're defined by what they bump into — so what does that mean for the identity of the particle and for human concepts of identity?"

Neutrinos are extremely difficult to detect, and they oscillate between three different flavors: electron, muon and tau. In order to observe these oscillations, physicists at Fermilab shoot intense neutrino beams through detectors to spot their rare interactions with other particles. Researchers carry out these measurements in experiments such as MicroBooNE, MINERvA, MINOS+ and NOvA.

Beitiks integrates interviews with Mateus Carneiro da Silva, Bill Lee, Zarko Pavlovic and Sam Zeller, physicists working on these projects, in her installations to illustrate the commonalities between particle physics and identity.

This project became possible through a joint effort between Water Street Studios and Fermilab.

"Here are two institutions passionate about education and reaching out to the public about things that are important to them. There's no reason for us to not be doing it together," said Rita Grendze, the gallery director at Water Street.

Beitiks doesn't expect people to leave her exhibit understanding everything about neutrinos, but she hopes they'll begin to think about identity and particle physics.

"It's a simple installation, but I hope it induces complicated thinking," she said.

Diana Kwon

Editor's note: Beitiks will be one of the speakers in the artist panel discussion at Water Street Studios on Saturday, Feb. 28, from 3 to 5 p.m.

Photo of the Day

Pillow tops

The picnic table by the Booster East anode power supply offers a snowy spread. Photo: Josh O'Connell, AD
Trailer 183, behind ICB, sports a cold, white overhang. Photo: Bridget Scerini, TD
In the News

Restarting the Large Hadron Collider

From Virtually Speaking Science, Feb. 4, 2015

Editor's note: Alan Boyle of NBC News interviews Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln in this hour-long podcast on the restart of the Large Hadron Collider. They discuss the frontiers of particle physics, searches for new physics and why this year will be an exciting time at the LHC.

Listen to the podcast

Frontier Science Result: CDMS

Searching for particles with fractional charges

This plot shows exclusion limits at the 90 percent confidence level on the rate of downward-going fractionally charged particles versus inverse electric charge in units of 1/e, under the conservative assumptions. The blind (light gray solid) and improved, nonblind (black solid) analyses of the CDMS II experiment are compared with past cosmogenic searches MACRO (dashed lower-left), Kamiokande (X) and LSD (+).

You may have heard that particles have something called electric charge. Scientists often quantify this charge in unitless numbers. For example, protons have a charge of 1; electrons have a charge of -1. Particles are assigned charge numbers based on how much they have relative to an electron.

Some extensions to the Standard Model of particle physics predict the existence of fractionally charged particles. Such particles that come to us from the cosmos interact with the electrons in our Earth-bound particle detectors. The probability of that interaction depends on the amount of charge it has — the more it has, the more likely it is to interact with the detector's electrons.

While the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS-II) experiment was designed to focus on dark matter (as its name states), the experiment's ability to detect smaller energy depositions gives it sensitivity to other types of new physics as well. CDMS is the first experiment to probe for particles arriving from outer space with fractional charges less than 1/6 of that of an electron.

CDMS-II operated germanium and silicon detectors in vertical stacks of six detectors. An energetic, fractionally charged particle could interact with all detectors in a single stack, creating a signature, a track, very different from that expected from dark matter particles or even from normal matter interactions.

This analysis relied on two main requirements. First, a fractionally charged particle candidate must have a reconstructed track that is consistent with a straight line. Second, each of the six observed energy depositions in a detector stack must be consistent with that expected for a particle with a given fractional charge. The expected background is reduced to almost zero by these requirements.

CDMS scientists observed no candidate events for fractionally charged particles, allowing us to set limits on the rate of downward-going fractionally charged particles for charges as small as 1/200th of an electron (see above figure).

The next generation SuperCDMS SNOLAB dark matter search experiment will also have greatly improved sensitivity to fractionally charged particles, thanks to lower energy thresholds and larger detectors. Perhaps, in a few years, we may know whether particles with charges less than 1/100th of the electron exist in our universe.

Joel Sander, University of South Dakota

Learn more

These are two of the many members of the CDMS-II collaboration who contributed to this search for fractionally charged particles. Left: Raymond Bunker from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Right: Joel Sander from the University of South Dakota.
In Brief

New Chicago cosmology seminar series, Alex Szalay gives first talk at Fermilab

Alex Szalay

On Monday, Feb. 9, renowned Johns Hopkins University cosmologist Alex Szalay will give a talk at Fermilab titled "Baryon Acoustic Oscillations and Redshift Space Distortions."

His presentation will be the first at Fermilab in a new seminar series, the All Chicago Cosmology Colloquium.

The series features high-profile speakers and is intended to encourage wide attendance from a broad audience from Fermilab, the astrophysics group at Argonne National Laboratory, the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago and other neighboring institutions.

Szalay's seminar takes place on Monday at 2 p.m. in One West.


Today's New Announcements

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn - Feb. 8 and March 1

Fermilab Arts Series presents Cirque Zuma Zuma - Feb. 7

Barn Dance - Feb. 8

Budker Seminar - Feb. 9

Barnstormers Delta Dart Night - Feb. 11

Fermilab Chamber Series presents Callipygian Players - Feb. 15

School's Day Out - Feb. 16 and 27

Core Computing Division briefs on MS Office 2013/365 - Feb. 17

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn - March 1

Fermilab Functions - March 3, 5, 11

Interpersonal Communication Skills course - March 10

URA Thesis Award competition deadline - March 20

Managing Conflict course - March 24

Microsoft Office 2013 ebooks

Windows 8.1 approved for use

Fermi Singers seek new members in New Year

Scottish country dancing Tuesday evenings at Kuhn Barn

Indoor soccer

Vaughan Athletic Center membership rates