Wednesday, May 6, 2015
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Wednesday Walkers begins today

Barn Dance - May 10

Gallery talk - today

"What is Thought?" open discussion - May 7

National Day of Prayer Observance - May 7

Wilson Hall east drinking fountains out of service through May 7

Volunteers needed for Employee Health and Fitness Day on May 12

Interpersonal Communication Skills on May 20

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

Mac OS X security patches enabled

Living Green! new Fermilab Library book display

Prescription Safety Eyewear Form updated

Fermilab Board Game Guild

Swim lessons at Fermilab Pool

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Scottish country dancing Tuesday evenings at Kuhn Village Barn

International folk dancing Thursday evenings at Kuhn Barn


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From symmetry

Ten things you might not know about antimatter

Antimatter has fueled many a supernatural tale. It's also fascinating all by itself. Image: Sandbox Studio with Ana Kova

Antimatter is the stuff of science fiction. In the book and film Angels and Demons, Professor Langdon tries to save Vatican City from an antimatter bomb. Star Trek's starship Enterprise uses matter-antimatter annihilation propulsion for faster-than-light travel.

But antimatter is also the stuff of reality. Antimatter particles are identical to their matter counterparts except that they carry the opposite charge and spin. When antimatter meets matter, they immediately annihilate into energy.

While antimatter bombs and antimatter-powered spaceships are far-fetched, there are still many facts about antimatter that will tickle your brain cells.

1. Antimatter should have annihilated all of the matter in the universe after the big bang.
According to theory, the big bang should have created matter and antimatter in equal amounts. When matter and antimatter meet, they annihilate, leaving nothing but energy behind. So in principle, none of us should exist.

But we do. And as far as physicists can tell, it's only because, in the end, there was one extra matter particle for every billion matter-antimatter pairs. Physicists are hard at work trying to explain this asymmetry.

Read more

Diana Kwon

In Brief

Cover your wagon

From left: Fermilab docents Mary Jo Murphy, Sue Dumford and Dee Huie cover the prairie schooner wagon that sits outside the Lederman Science Center. Photo: Sue Sheehan, WDRS

This prairie schooner wagon outside Lederman Science Center is not just a nice conversation piece, it's an educational tool to teach elementary and middle school students about 19th-century prairie settlers.

Fermilab docents Sue Dumford, Dee Huie and Mary Jo Murphy, pictured above, have attached a new canvas cover to the wagon to get it ready for future student field trips to Fermilab. The base of the wagon is authentic.

The docents tell histories of the settlers, who used wagons like this one to travel across the country.

The wagon, owned by the Education Office, will be ready in time for the June 14 Fermilab Family Outdoor Fair.

From symmetry

LHC sees first low-energy collisions

The Large Hadron Collider is back in the business of colliding particles. Image courtesy of ATLAS collaboration

[On Tuesday] low-energy protons met in the hearts of the four Large Hadron Collider experiments. These test collisions will help the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb collaborations calibrate their detectors in preparation for the high-energy collisions scheduled for early June.

"Our detectors need to be able to distinguish between two particles separated by about the width of a human hair," says Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory researcher Greg Rakness, run coordinator for the CMS experiment. "We need these low-energy collisions to precisely calibrate our instruments."

Read more

Sarah Charley

In the News

Mysterious galactic signal points LHC to dark matter

From Nature, May 5, 2015

It is one of the most disputed observations in physics. But an explanation may be in sight for a mysterious excess of high-energy photons at the centre of the Milky Way. The latest analysis suggests that the signal could come from a dark-matter particle that has just the right mass to show up at the world's largest particle accelerator.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC), housed at the CERN particle-physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland, is due to restart colliding protons this summer after a two-year hiatus. Physicists there have told Nature that they now plan to make the search for such a particle a top target for the collider's second run.

Read more

From the Scientific Computing Division

Software for neutrinos

Panagiotis Spentzouris

Panagiotis Spentzouris, head of the Scientific Computing Division, wrote this column.

Massive particle detectors are the hallmark of neutrino physics research. A less visible but equally essential element in unraveling the mysteries of these elusive particles, and ultimately of the universe itself, is the set of intricate software systems that collect and analyze the data from those detectors. Through the Scientific Computing Division, Fermilab supports a wide range of such software tools to assist the neutrino program in this quest.

Our software portfolio includes various tools that SCD reuses and integrates into flexible end-to-end solutions for the Fermilab neutrino experiments. This approach allows scientists, who often participate in more than one experiment, to operate within similar and familiar software environments.

artdaq-based data acquisition (DAQ) systems have been developed for the DUNE 35-ton prototype and the LArIAT test beam experiment. These systems are currently being used in detector and electronics testing and are well-positioned for production data taking later this year. By similarly extending capabilities and customizing configurations as needed, scientists can integrate artdaq to serve as the core of many different DAQ systems. In addition to artdaq, SCD members, working in close collaboration with the experimenters, have developed custom software components for the MicroBooNE and NOvA DAQ systems.

The art framework, used by the DUNE prototype, LArIAT, MicroBooNE and NOvA experiments, supports offline event reconstruction and simulation. art is also used for online event filtering in several of these experiments and for online, or "nearline," monitoring in all of them.

The software that makes up the LArSoft suite exploits the common properties of liquid-argon time projection chambers to provide shared data structures, algorithms and tools for the simulation, reconstruction and analysis of data from these detectors. SCD partners with the experiments to produce, test and distribute the software and to ensure that the code works for all of the detectors. By providing a means to leverage effort and expertise across participating experiments, LArSoft dramatically reduces the cost of code development. This, in turn, enables scientists to focus on other areas. DUNE, LArIAT, MicroBooNE and SBND all make use of liquid-argon time projection chambers, and all use and participate in the development of LArSoft.

Fabric for Frontier Experiments (FIFE) provides a collaborative platform where experiment offline computing groups and the core SCD support teams deploy distributed computing solutions for simulation and event processing using grid, cloud and, soon, high-performance parallel computing. FIFE software provides the glue: integration, deployment and monitoring of the various software components developed at Fermilab. This includes art, artdaq and packages from other sources such as the LHC experiments and Open Science Grid. The software covers workload scheduling and data management, collaborative tools and the associated database applications.

Computing and software are an increasingly complex and resource-intensive part of building and operating the current and future generation of neutrino experiments. artdaq, art, LArSoft, FIFE and other reusable software tools are important components of the lab's Neutrino Platform. They provide cost-effective solutions that experiments can adopt, adapt and rely on to provide the capabilities they need in a familiar environment while ensuring sustainable support across their lifetime.

Editor's note: The art and LArSoft development teams will present a one-week course on the use of art and LArSoft from Aug. 3-7 at Fermilab. The goal of the course is to help newcomers to art and LArSoft along the path to becoming able to contribute to their experiment's code or to the shared LArSoft software. For more information, visit the course wiki.

Photo of the Day

Where the dinosaurs roam

Prehistoric fauna meet cutting-edge science in this scene, spotted by Michael Kuc, CCD, on the Wilson Hall fifth-floor crossover. Photo: Kris Brandt, CCD
Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, May 5

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

An employee has a confirmed standard threshold shift. An evaluation of his workplace noise exposure history is under way.

See the full report.