Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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Today's New Announcements

Pilates registration due March 30

2015 FRA scholarship applications accepted until April 1

Fermilab Board Game Guild

FermiPoint (including FermiDash), MyPoint, Web.fnal.gov downtime - today

Muscle Toning class registration due today

URA Visiting Scholars Program deadline delayed to March 30

2015 URA Alvin Tollestrup Award application deadline - April 1

Nominations for Employee Advisory Group due April 17

2014 FSA deadline is April 30

Interpersonal Communication Skills course - May 20

Mac OS X security patches

SharePoint online training videos available for on-site users

Monday Golf League

Fermilab Golf League 2015 season is just around the corner

Changarro restaurant offers Fermilab employee discount


Fermilab Today

Director's Corner

Frontier Science Result

Physics in a Nutshell

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One minute with Dave Peterson, electrical engineer

Dave Peterson works on high-level radio-frequency systems for the Accelerator Division. Photo: Reidar Hahn

How long have you been at Fermilab?
I'm coming up on 31 years.

What brought you to Fermilab?
I was working in electron beam lithography at IBM in upstate New York, but my wife and I are both from the Chicago area and we wanted to get back here. There was an opening at Fermilab and I applied. It was the early days of the antiproton source construction, so they were looking for an electrical engineer.

What does your typical workday look like?
Every day is a bit different. I do design work for new projects. I also go out to the service buildings and other areas of activity to do upgrades to existing equipment or plan for new installations. There's also the occasional meeting and other matters that go along with being an engineer.

What would you consider the most exciting part of your job?
I like the challenge of figuring out how to do things that are new. Of course, having been here 30 years, I think it's interesting to see how different electronic systems decline in old age, and I try to diagnose what we can do better to make them more reliable.

You've been featured before in Fermilab Today for your handmade snowplow. What inspired it?
There's this little stretch through the forest preserve on the seven-mile bike trip between my home and Fermilab that doesn't get plowed like the streets do. There's no good detour, and I didn't want to get crushed on the busy streets, so at first I went out with a shovel and walked it for two hours. Then I thought that if I could take something along with my bike, I could ride with it. I eventually ended up with three plows: two different ones I pull behind the bike — one with wheels and a lighter-weight one that just scrapes along — and a walking push plow.

What is something people might not know about you?
I've had assorted misadventures on the bike trail. Chipmunks running at my wheels, deer leaping in front of me and, in the spring, aggressive red-winged blackbirds diving from above. I got hit on the head by an angry goose one time down by the Fox River. All good reasons to wear a helmet.

Diana Kwon

If there's an employee, user or contractor you'd like to see profiled in Fermilab Today, please email today@fnal.gov.

In the News

Doing astronomy with neutrinos

From ars technica, March 22, 2015

The IceCube detector, located at the South Pole, monitors a cubic kilometer of ice for the flashes of light produced as energetic particles traverse the ice. Each second, about 3,000 muons, produced by cosmic rays slamming into the atmosphere, interact with matter in the detector. In contrast, neutrinos are only detected once every six minutes.

Read more

From the Deputy Director

Fermilab Women's Initiative

Joe Lykken

March is Women's History Month, a good time to reflect on the outstanding achievements of women in science, overcoming not just the usual challenges of deciphering the universe but also a professional landscape littered with gender-based obstacles.

Still looming large in the rear-view mirror of history is a shameful era of overt discrimination that extended even to giants of physics. Lise Meitner co-discovered and correctly interpreted nuclear fission, a process that had fooled Enrico Fermi. Chien-Shiung Wu discovered parity violation, an experimental result so surprising that Wolfgang Pauli wouldn't believe it until Leon Lederman and others independently confirmed it. Both Meitner and Wu were snubbed by the Nobel committee, although the brilliance and importance of their discoveries are now universally recognized. Closer to home we have, at least occasionally, done better: Helen Edwards' leadership in the creation of the Fermilab Tevatron has been appropriately acknowledged with the Ernest Lawrence Award, the National Medal of Technology and a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship.

I am happy to announce the launch this month of the Fermilab Women's Initiative. This initiative will sponsor events aimed at educating all employees about the ways in which women affect our workplace and the importance of promoting gender equality. The kickoff is next Monday at 3 p.m. in One West, where writer Hannah Bloch will discuss global women's issues.

We hope and expect the series of events, which highlights a variety of perspectives, to cause some reflection and generate conversation and action that has a positive impact on the culture of our laboratory. Although organized by women, it is critical that men are part of the conversation (guys, that means you).

Don't miss the chance to follow the program and participate in the dialogue.

Photo of the Day

Flying over Fermilab

Here's what the Fermilab site looks like as you fly over it in winter on the way to San Diego. Photo: Bridget Scerini, TD
In the News

Have alien civilizations built cosmic accelerators from black holes?

From Physics World, March 19, 2015

Has an advanced alien civilization built a black-hole-powered particle accelerator to study physics at "Planck-scale" energies? And if such a cosmic collider is lurking in a corner of the universe, could we detect it here on Earth?

Brian Lacki of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, has done calculations that suggest that if such an accelerator exists, it would produce yottaelectronvolt (YeV or 1024 eV) neutrinos that could be detected here on Earth. As a result, Lacki is calling on astronomers involved in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) to look for these ultra-high-energy particles. This is supported by SETI expert Paul Davies of Arizona State University, who believes that the search should be expanded beyond the traditional telescope searches.

Read more