Thursday, April 16, 2015
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Today's New Announcements

CCD has launched the RemoteApp service

Bardeen Engineering Leadership program lecture - April 17

Nominations for Employee Advisory Group due April 17

Discounted tickets for Creation's Birthday by Hasan Padamsee - through April 19

Barn Dance - April 19

Free yoga trial open house class - April 20

MS Excel 2013: Introduction offered two half days - April 28 and 30

2014 FSA deadline is April 30

MS Word 2013: Introduction offered two half days - May 5 and 7

Managing Conflict (a.m. only) on June 10

Interaction Management course (three days) scheduled for June 28, July 9, July 28

Performance review training for managers and supervisors - Aug. 4, 5, 6

PowerPoint template and FermiMail signature options available

Fermilab Summer Day Camp

Fermilab Board Game Guild

Yoga registration due soon

Players needed for 2015 Fermilab co-ed softball league

Indoor soccer

Scottish country dancing Tuesday evenings at Kuhn Village Barn

International folk dancing Thursday evenings at Kuhn Barn


Fermilab Today

Director's Corner

Frontier Science Result

Physics in a Nutshell

Tip of the Week

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Press Release

High school students get real-world advice at Fermilab STEM Career Expo April 22

Fermilab will offer high school students a valuable opportunity to meet with scientists, engineers and research professionals at the annual STEM Career Expo on April 22. Photo: Cindy Arnold

What does a scientist actually do all day? How difficult is it to be a mechanical engineer? What jobs could I get if I major in mathematics? What is the daily life of a computer technician really like?

On Wednesday, April 22, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will offer high school students a valuable opportunity to ask those questions in person. The annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Career Expo, held in the atrium of Wilson Hall, will put those students face to face with people actually doing the jobs they will be applying for in the coming years.

In addition to Fermilab scientists and engineers, the STEM Career Expo will feature professionals from several local companies and research organizations who will be on hand to explain what they do. But this is not a college or job fair and is not about recruiting, according to organizer Susan Dahl of the Fermilab Education Office.

Read more

In Brief

Join in Fermilab Earth Week activities - April 20-23

Get ready to celebrate Earth Week next week. From Monday to Thursday, Fermilab will offer staff plenty of opportunities to learn more about how we can be better stewards of the Earth.

April 20 at noon: Spring wildflower walk for employees. Meet in the interpretive trail parking area and bring a camera, notebook and outdoor shoes. Contact Ryan Campbell at x3303 for more information.

April 21 at 11:30 a.m.: Arbor Day tree planting. See the Sustainability website for more details.

April 22, 11:15 a.m.: LEED gold-certified IARC Office, Technical and Education Building tour. Meet in Wilson Hall atrium at 11:15 a.m. Email Katie Kosirog for more details or to RSVP. Reservations are required by 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21.

April 23, 11:30 a.m.: Earth Day Fair in Wilson Hall atrium.

More details will be available in Monday's Tip of the Week, so stay tuned!

In Brief

Scientists meet at Fermilab to recognize top quark discovery

Scientists from all over the world participated in last week's Top at Twenty workshop at Fermilab. Photo: Reidar Hahn

More than 120 scientists converged at Fermilab last week for the 20th anniversary of the discovery of the top quark. Experimentalists and theorists at both the Tevatron and the LHC discussed recent results related to the top quark as well as methods for using the top quark as a tool for future discoveries.

In 1995, researchers at both the CDF and DZero experiments discovered this heaviest quark, the final missing piece of the quark family.

In the News

World's supercollider takes big step forward

From The Huffington Post, April 13, 2015

The Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the world's most powerful particle accelerator, has taken another big step forward in its journey towards exploring new frontiers of knowledge. In the wee hours of April 10, the accelerator injected beams of protons and accelerated them to the expected operational energy of 6.5 trillion electron volts. This energy smashed the earlier record of four trillion electron volts, held by the LHC since 2011. This achievement represents a crucial advance in the commissioning of the facility, as it demonstrates that the equipment can operate at full energy.

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Physics in a Nutshell

Particle beams and the scattering process

The Main Injector is the flagship accelerator at Fermilab. Over the coming months, this column will review how machines such as this one achieve high-energy particle beams. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Much of the information we gather from the physical world comes to us by a scattering process. Scattering occurs when a beam consisting of light or charged particles strikes a target. The incident particle and target can simply recoil from the interaction, or other additional particles can materialize out of the energy of the collision. Information about the target and beam is carried away in the recoiling particles.

Consider an everyday example: A beam of sunlight strikes a flower and scatters off the magnificent petals in the form of light particles at particular frequencies, which make their way to our eyes. From there the information is transmitted to the brain, which compares the data with existing data in the brain, and we recognize that we are looking at a beautiful flower.

We gather information about much smaller, subatomic objects in the same way. A beam from a particle accelerator strikes a target, and a detector records information about the recoiling debris: angles, momentum, energy of the scattered particles. The detector (an eye) registers the raw information and processes it before sending it on to a computer (a brain), which seeks recognizable patterns in the data that reveal basic aspects of the beam and the target. Through the ensuing analysis, we can distinguish between particles and measure their properties, such as charge, mass and spin, among others.

Order discerned in this manner is a fundamental basis for our knowledge of the physical world. A subtlety of the process is that the incident beam must have specific properties in order to reveal the type of information we want with the desired level of detail.

To explore the details of very small particles, scientists need to create beams with high energies. Electric fields are used to accelerate charged particles. An electric field resides between the two poles of a battery. The unit of energy used for beams of charged particle is the electronvolt (eV). One eV is the energy gained by an electron when it is accelerated through a one-volt potential.

One way to create such a potential is with a 1.5-volt flashlight battery. An electron passing between the poles would gain 1.5 eV. However, a battery is not the best way to accelerate charged particles. To achieve 1 trillion electronvolts (1 TeV) with flashlight batteries would require 667 billion batteries, and the battery string would be roughly 24 million miles long.

The good news is that I found batteries on sale for $1.15 each if we act fast. However, a quick review of the numbers reveals that batteries simply won't work due to both cost and environmental issues. We need a better solution for accelerating our beams.

In future columns I will summarize more reasonable solutions for achieving high-energy beams. We will discover that modern accelerators use a combination of brute force and ingenuity. What could be more fun?

Roger Dixon

Photo of the Day

The geese on Sauk Circle

This Thursday we throw back to a time when there was snow on the ground. Geese take a stroll over the snow by Sauk Circle in the Village. Photo: Sudeshna Ganguly, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In the News

Mapping dark matter may help solve a cosmic mystery

From PBS NewsHour, April 16, 2015

Scientists have announced the creation of the largest map yet of the invisible material that helps make up the universe, what's known as dark matter. Jeffrey Brown talks with scientist Sean Carroll about some of very cosmic questions.

View the 5-minute video