Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015
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Today's New Announcements

Fermi Society of Philosophy, "The Puzzling Error of Karl Popper, Part II" - Oct. 22

Employee Health and Wellness Fair

FIFE Notes newsletter now available

Office of the CRO meeting today

Concert of Sator Duo at Kuhn Village Barn - Oct. 21

Yoga Thursday registration due Oct. 22

South stairwell in atrium closed through Oct. 24

English country dancing in Kuhn Barn - Oct. 25

Deadline for University of Chicago Tuition Remission Program - Nov. 24

FY 2017 diversity visa lottery registration open

Flu immunizations still available

Fermilab Board Game Guild

Indoor soccer

Scottish country dancing Tuesdays evenings at Kuhn Barn

International folk dancing Thursday evenings at Kuhn Barn


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Roads and Grounds prepares for bison herd turnover

Fermilab's on-call veterinarian, right, in coveralls, treats a bison in the vaccination pen while Roads and Grounds staff help hold it steady. Photo: Dave Shemanske, FESS

Fermilab's hardy bison are pretty low-maintenance. They rarely need shelter, sleep under the stars and feed themselves by grazing on the 80 acres of grass in the laboratory's bison pasture. The Roads and Grounds crew supplies supplemental food and water from a heated tanks in the winter.

But in October, bison care kicks into high gear. That's when every member of the herd receives its annual vaccinations and when calves receive their identification tags. In a demanding, nearly day-long effort, Roads and Grounds staff round up the bison, entice them into the corral system by way of winding, fenced-in passages, and assist the on-call veterinarian as he works to gain access to the shoulder of the often unyielding patient, administering medication. Staff pierce calves' ears with tags. Heifer calves get yellow tags; bull calves get red.

"Occasionally a bison may be uncooperative to being handled in the system," said Cleo Garcia, herdsman and member of Roads and Grounds. "But we have a few tricks to gently correct their behavior."

As the bison exit the vaccination pen, staff separate those to be sold at auction from the rest, taking preselected herd members to a pen in the corral system. The bison remain there for three to four weeks for potential buyers to view, until winning bids are awarded and buyers come to claim them.

"This is a sealed bid process generated by Bob Johnson of the Procurement Department," said Dave Shemanske, head of Roads and Grounds. "The package is mailed out to prospective buyers."

The annual herd vaccination and separation take about a day, but preparation for the event takes much longer. In the four weeks leading up to this year's vaccination day on Oct. 6, Garcia, with help from Grounds crew, repaired pens, aligned and greased the sorting system's gates, and replaced some of the wooden fences with sturdier, more durable steel panel enclosures.

"It's a lot of work to get this area ready for the bison, and Cleo does a great job every year, spending a month or more to fix it up," said Roads and Grounds' Mike Pfaff.

This year the laboratory is selling 22 of the 39 in the herd: two cows, 15 calves and five yearlings. (Herd bulls are sold every five to seven years, and the laboratory purchases replacement bulls to update the genetics of the herd.) Potential bidders visit the Fermilab bison facility or review mailed bidding packages with written descriptions of the bison to determine which they'd like to bid on. This year's bids are due Oct. 23.

Most of the potential bidders are from Illinois, and some come from as far as Michigan, Wisconsin and Indiana just to see the animals, Garcia said.

"We make sure the bison are healthy," Garcia said. "The buyers seem happy with the quality of our bison."

Leah Hesla

In the News

U.S. nuclear physicists push for new neutrino experiment

From Science, Oct. 15, 2015

The United States should seize the initiative and soon mount a massive experiment to search for a hypothesized type of nuclear decay that is possible only if an elusive, nearly massless particle called the neutrino is — weirdly — its own antiparticle. That's one of four recommendations in a new long-range plan developed by U.S. nuclear physicists. The plan, presented to a federal advisory panel today in Washington, D.C., will inform planning for the coming decade in the Department of Energy's (DOE's) nuclear physics program, and the National Science Foundation's (NSF's) physics program. If researchers observe the new decay — and they hope to start work on the experiment within 3 years — the discovery would require rewrites of textbooks in nuclear and particle physics.

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Special Announcement

All Office-of-the-CRO meeting - today at 11 a.m. in auditorium

Chief Research Officer Joe Lykken will hold an all-Office-of-the-CRO meeting today from 11 a.m. to noon in Ramsey Auditorium.

If you work in one of the following departments, please plan to attend: Center for Particle Astrophysics, CMS Center, Neutrino Division, Particle Physics Division.


Fermilab Arts and Lecture series presents 'Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' - Oct. 24

One hundred twenty-five years after his debut, Sherlock Holmes remains the definitive and most famous detective in world literature. Watch and hear Aquila Theatre's fast-paced production of his adventures on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 8 p.m. in Ramsey Auditorium.

The legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes takes the stage at Fermilab's Ramsey Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 8 p.m., when the Fermilab Arts and Lecture Series presents "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes."

The Aquila Theatre brings its energetic and physical style to this new adaptation. With actors drawn from the top British and American stages, "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" is a thrilling and memorable ride. The clever Holmes skillfully maneuvers the twisted web of London's most intriguing cases with his split-second deductions, revealing intimate and useful details of a person's life. He shows himself to be a master of disguise and a brilliant actor, as well as a composer and musician.

Aquila Theatre's mission is to make classical works accessible to the greatest number. Founded in London in 1991 by Peter Meineck, Aquila is now based in New York City.

Tickets are $35, $18 for ages 18 and under. For more information or reservations, visit the Fermilab Arts Series Web page or call 630-840-2787 weekdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Photo of the Day

Peeking over Wilson Hall

nature, sky, sunrise, Wilson Hall, Broken Symmetry, sculpture
The sun rises over Wilson Hall and "Broken Symmetry." Photo: Georgia Schwender, OC
In the News

How a frozen neutrino observatory grapples with staggering amounts of data

From Motherboard, Oct. 16, 2015

Deep beneath the Antarctic ice sheet, sensors buried in a billion tons of ice — a cubic kilometer of frozen H2O — are searching for neutrinos. Not just any kind of neutrino, though. The IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory wants to discover the sources of ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays and thus solve one of science's oldest mysteries.

Just one problem. These kinds of neutrinos are really difficult to detect.

Drilled and left to freeze in the ice between a depth of 1,450m and 2,450m beneath the surface of the South Pole, IceCube sensors collects terabytes of raw data every day.

But how does that data get processed and analyzed? As IceCube researcher Nathan Whitehorn explained, it isn't easy.

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