Wednesday, July 8, 2015
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Today's New Announcements

Preschool and beginner swim lesson registration due July 13

WalkingWorks final-week winners

Pilates registration due July 13

Commercializing innovation: office hours at IARC - July 15

English country dancing at Kuhn Barn - July 26

Deadline for the University of Chicago tuition remission program - Aug. 18

Call for proposals: URA Visiting Scholars Program - deadline is Aug. 31

Users Center entrance repair on Sauk Blvd in the Village

Deadline approaching for fall 2015 / spring 2016 on-site housing requests

Wednesday Walkers

Fermilab Softball League

Outdoor soccer

Go Club

Scottish country dancing meets Tuesday evenings through summer

International folk dancing meets Thursday evenings through summer

Bristol Renaissance Faire employee discount

Raging Waves Waterpark employee discount


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Getting teachers back on TRAC

Kerbie Reader, a high school math teacher, works at the Muon g-2 ring as part of Fermilab's TRAC program. Photo: Ali Sundermier, OC

Bonnie Weiberg sits down in front of a small monitor in the Proton Assembly Building at Fermilab. Her job is to test the signal strength of the liquid-argon purification monitors for the proposed DUNE experiment. But Weiberg isn't your average particle physicist. In fact she isn't a physicist at all: She's a physics and chemistry teacher at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois.

Weiberg is here this summer as part of the Fermilab TRAC program, which is funded by the Particle Physics Division. Harry Cheung, an associate head for the CMS Department who has been head of the TRAC program since 2010, said that this year, seven teachers were selected from a pool of 33 applicants to be matched with a mentor and work on cutting-edge physics.

The TRAC program gives middle school and high school teachers of science, math, computer science and engineering an opportunity to come to Fermilab, work with a scientist or an engineer for eight weeks, and experience what Fermilab research is like.

This summer the teachers, most of whom are from Illinois, are working on projects such as building and testing photodetectors, reconstructing the Muon g-2 ring and controlling high-voltage supplies for the MINERvA neutrino experiment.

"Many of us haven't done any research since college," Weiberg said. "It's nice to come back and be in a research environment to see what's happening on the cutting edge."

Kerbie Reader, a high school math teacher at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bellevue, Washington, said that TRAC is the only program she could find in the country that enables teachers to participate in this sort of research. She appreciates the opportunity to remember what it's like to be a student and to gain experience that will help her relate to her own students.

"We're seeing the same material year after year. We forget what it's like to be the person who's learning," Reader said. "Instead of saying it's been 10 or 20 years since I felt that way, I can say, 'I felt that way last summer. I get that it's hard, and this is how we're going to work through it.'"

Weiberg and Reader agreed that the most valuable aspect of this program is being able to gain real-life experiences that they can bring back to their schools and share with their students. Weiberg is even working on a unit about particle physics to incorporate into her curriculum.

"It'll help us engage our students more," Weiberg said. "The more real-world things you can bring into your classroom, the better."

Reader added that the TRAC program gives her a chance to participate in difficult research: to be challenged and learn the value of getting things wrong.

"I want to teach my students not to give up on something because they think it's hard, to be able to tell them: making a mistake is not the problem," Reader said. "Everybody that works on all these fantastic things have been making mistakes their entire lives. The day you figure out what your mistakes are, that's the day you celebrate."

Ali Sundermier

In the News

Why Fermilab could blast up campus, shake up Batavia neighbors

From Daily Herald, July 7, 2015

At least 300 billion neutrinos passed through one of your fingernails in the time it took you to read this sentence.

And while they passed through you, your office door, the building's walls and Earth's atmosphere, these ubiquitous building blocks of the universe may have changed their nature — and changed it back again.

Scientists from around the world hope to learn more about these particles in a proposed experiment that would be headquartered at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia.

And that would mean, once again, construction of big objects to study tiny ones.

The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, or DUNE, would shoot neutrinos out to a detector 800 miles away, in a former gold mine in South Dakota. That's 300 miles farther, and 100 percent deeper, than two current Fermilab-based experiments do, when they send neutrinos to a detector in Minnesota.

Read more


A sense of community

Kent Collins

Kent Collins, head of the Facilities Engineering Services Section, wrote this column.

Success of Fermilab's mission relies heavily on active participation from graduate students, postdocs, researchers and other university personnel. Many of these visitors, or users, reside nearby or are lucky enough to live in on-site housing.

One of my early meetings with Director Nigel Lockyer was a tour of the Village housing, where he'd lived for several years while working with the CDF collaboration as a University of Pennsylvania researcher. Although many of our users don't live on site, he felt an obligation for Fermilab to provide a "home away from home" atmosphere, a place where users and visitors have a sense of belonging to a community.

The Users Center provides a common gathering place to meet and enjoy a drink or two, or even a Friday night dinner. It's been a convenient place to get together after collaboration meetings or to celebrate a success, but it's not always been the community facility we'd like to have — one that draws people together on a regular basis.

This fall we'll start the first phase of a make-over for the Users Center. We're currently assessing relocating gaming in the facility and will be renovating the current gaming room into a larger dining and meeting space. We're considering various options for a small menu of food choices several nights a week. The outside wall of the new dining room will be all glass, with a pair of doors to the north patio. The Core Computing Division is investigating cable Internet service for the Village, along with cable TV, so we'll finally be able to watch live sports and contemporary movies!

In our effort to develop a great community gathering place we're also considering improvements (and potentially new names!) to the Music Room, TV Room, the bar and lounge, and the restrooms. We welcome your suggestions.

In Brief

Commercializing innovation: IARC office hours on July 15

Thinking of commercializing your research idea?

Representatives from the Chicago Innovation Exchange will host office hours on Wednesday, July 15, 1-3:30 p.m. in the IARC OTE Building, 3rd floor, Room 335.

Email Wolfgang Connell directly to make an appointment, or stop by IARC anytime between 1 and 3:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Wolfgang Connell or Jason Pariso. Learn more in the June 4 issue of Fermilab Today.

Photo of the Day

Snappy or droopy?

A snapping turtle does its best sloth impression by Bulrush Pond. Photo: Bridget Scerini, TD
Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, July 7

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

An employee was stung by a wasp on his right arm while throwing something into a dumpster. He received first-aid treatment.

See the full report.

In the News

David B. Cline

From UCLA Physics and Astronomy, July 2015

Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy David B. Cline, a driving force behind experiments aimed at understanding the world of elementary particles and forces, died at UCLA Medical Center on June 27 following a heart attack on campus the previous afternoon. He was 81.

Still active in teaching and research at the time of his death, Cline had remarkably broad passions for both. He taught standard courses with content ranging from introductory astronomy and physics for non-science majors to advanced graduate topics; he also took great pleasure in communicating modern physics to students via both Honors Collegium and Fiat Lux courses of his invention.

Read more