Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015
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Bible exploration group starting new study called "Live Justly" - Sept. 8

New line dancing class

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Fermilab employee art show - submission deadline Sept. 1

Fermilab golf outing - Sept. 11

September AEM meeting date change to Sept. 14

Python Programming Basics is scheduled for Oct. 14-16

Python Programming Advanced - Dec. 9-11

Fermilab Prairie Plant Survey

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Fermi Singers invite all visiting students and staff

Walk 2 Run on Thursdays

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English country dancing at Kuhn Barn


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From symmetry

All about supernovae

Exploding stars have an immense capacity to destroy — and create. Image: Sandbox Studio with Ana Kova

Somewhere in the cosmos, a star is reaching the end of its life.

Maybe it's a massive star, collapsing under its own gravity. Or maybe it's a dense cinder of a star, greedily stealing matter from a companion star until it can't handle its own mass.

Whatever the reason, this star doesn't fade quietly into the dark fabric of space and time. It goes kicking and screaming, exploding its stellar guts across the universe, leaving us with unparalleled brightness and a tsunami of particles and elements. It becomes a supernova. Here are 10 facts about supernovae that will blow your mind.

1. The oldest recorded supernova dates back almost 2,000 years
In 185 AD, Chinese astronomers noticed a bright light in the sky. Documenting their observations in the Book of Later Han, these ancient astronomers noted that it sparkled like a star, appeared to be half the size of a bamboo mat and did not travel through the sky like a comet. Over the next eight months this celestial visitor slowly faded from sight. They called it a "guest star."

Two millennia later, in the 1960s, scientists found hints of this mysterious visitor in the remnants of a supernova approximately 8,000 light-years away. The supernova, SN 185, is the oldest known supernova recorded by humankind.

2. Many of the elements we're made of come from supernovae
Everything from the oxygen you're breathing to the calcium in your bones, the iron in your blood and the silicon in your computer was brewed up in the heart of a star.

As a supernova explodes, it unleashes a hurricane of nuclear reactions. These nuclear reactions produce many of the building blocks of the world around us. The lion's share of elements between oxygen and iron comes from core-collapse supernovae, those massive stars that collapse under their own gravity. They share the responsibility of producing the universe's iron with thermonuclear supernovae, white dwarves that steal mass from their binary companions. Scientists also believe supernovae are a key site for the production of most of the elements heavier than iron.

Read more

Ali Sundermier

Photo of the Day

Meal of a monarch

A monarch caterpillar munches on a milkweed leaf. Photo: Marty Murphy, AD
In Brief

Wilson Hall north plaza repair work starts Aug. 27

Click to enlarge view of Wilson Hall north plaza.

The Wilson Hall north plaza roof repair project begins on Thursday, Aug. 27. It will involve repair of the north plaza roof and drain assembly.

Work will be divided into two phases. Phase one, starting Aug. 27, will affect the east section of the plaza. Workers will install a barricade, which will remain around the area until work is completed, in three or four weeks' time.

The process will be repeated for phase two, which involves the west section. This process will also take three to four weeks to complete.

Pictured above is an overview of the barricade locations for both phases.

Workers will maintain a clear and defined path for access to the building throughout the project.

From the Office of Campus Strategy and Readiness

Smart laboratory

Randy Ortgiesen

Randy Ortgiesen, head of OCSR, wrote this column.

During the labwide building managers meeting last week, I couldn't help but appreciate once again all that these super-dedicated employees do to help execute our mission. You all know this, or should, so thank your building manager today, and I'll move on to the subject of this article, which was also prompted by the same meeting.

As I observed some of the briefings that used the laboratory's Geographic Information System (GIS), I was reminded how far we have come in realizing what we only dreamed of 15 years ago: a "SMART laboratory" to help facility engineers and building managers improve operations in their buildings and utility systems.

SMART laboratory: The ability to use data in the most effective and efficient manner to identify, control and manage various laboratory operations and functions.
From the FESS SMART Lab Working Group, June 7, 2000

The GIS is a platform that allows spatial or geographical data to be retained, accessed, manipulated, assessed, analyzed, integrated to and managed. Fermilab uses an aerial photograph of the site with multiple layers of varying location-based data elements, including facilities, utilities, land planning, roads and building assets. The Roads and Grounds Ecology Group, the Fermilab Fire Department and the Utility Locate Program have all embraced and integrated GIS data and practices into their workflows.

As an example, using the labwide Web-based GIS viewer, one can access individual building information from the Fermilab Infrastructure Database such as size, age, landlord, equipment list and completed engineering projects. From the same GIS location, one can also access the Fermilab Computerized Maintenance Management System to obtain a maintenance work order status and history on the respective conventional equipment. One can also view and query the utilities and assets that serve the facility and its occupants.

Much of the critical equipment in facilities such as the Central Utility Building and Wilson Hall are monitored through a building controls and monitoring system called Metasys. FESS uses this system to email and page engineers, mechanics and electricians so they can respond quickly when critical equipment begins to operate outside of established parameters. Data on equipment operations is recorded, tracked and trended for operational efficiency. Real-time graphics facilitate equipment operation and troubleshooting.

The site's Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system allows Fermilab to monitor capacity and consumption of the electrical system at the feeder level. There is even metering at the building level for about 30 locations. Eventually we would like to implement some building-level metering for both the electrical and mechanical utility systems. Metering helps identify trends in consumption, which in turn can influence usage behavior and aid in quicker identification of leaks in the systems, both of which can help conserve precious resources and direct more funding to the science and future programs.

Fermilab has made great progress over the last 15 years to advance the SMART lab dream. We have many more initiatives planned to integrate GIS practices into our other systems, workflows and day-to-day operations, which will continue to serve and enhance the unique capabilities that Fermilab has to offer in support of the global science mission.

Safety Update

ESH&Q weekly report, Aug. 25

This week's safety report, compiled by the Fermilab ESH&Q Section, contains no incidents.

See the full report.

In the News

To the dark side

From The Economist, Aug. 22, 2015

Ancient Greek philosophers thought the world was composed of four elements: earth, air, fire and water. To explain the heavens, though, many saw a need for something more — quintessence (quinta essentia in Latin), a fifth element. Quintessence was part of the universe, but lay out of humanity's grasp.

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