Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015
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DOE Press Release

U.S. Department of Energy finds no significant environmental impact from proposed Illinois / South Dakota project

The proposed LBNF/DUNE project will include construction at Fermilab in Illinois and at Sanford Lab in South Dakota.

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) environmental study has determined that building and operating the proposed Long Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) will not have a significant impact on the environment. LBNF/DUNE would help to advance our understanding of the basic physics of the elementary particles called neutrinos and thereby help us to understand the physical nature of our universe.

DOE is following the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which requires that the environmental impacts of any federal project must be studied. DOE explored a number of potential impacts in the draft Environmental Assessment (EA), including impacts on people and the environment, from building and operating the research machine. Impact to floodplains and wetlands were also considered. None were considered major, so a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued. Additionally, a Programmatic Agreement (PA), prepared pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act would put procedures in place to ensure the protection of historic properties. Copies of the final EA and FONSI are available.

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In the News

U.S. targets matter-antimatter frontier

From Science, Oct. 23, 2015

The neutrino is the hottest particle in physics. Two weeks ago, two physicists won the Nobel Prize for showing that the ghostly particle is not, as once thought, massless (Science, 9 October, p. 145). And last week nuclear physicists in the United States urged government funders to swiftly launch a new experiment to test whether the neutrino is — weirdly — its own antiparticle. If it is, the discovery would rewrite textbooks in both nuclear and particle physics.

First, though, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) must come up with roughly $250 million to build a massive detector deep underground. It would search for a new type of nuclear decay, called neutrinoless double β decay, which can occur only if the neutrino and antineutrino are one. The United States will have to hustle to beat other nations to the potential prize, say physicists, who hope to start building the experiment in 2018. "The neutrinoless double β decay arena is very competitive," says Robert McKeown, a physicist at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) in Newport News, Virginia. "If the U.S. wants to lead, we can't wait."

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From symmetry

Frightfully smart jack-o'-lanterns

These physics-themed jack-o'-lanterns come with extra brains. Photo: Reidar Hahn with Sandbox Studio

There are no tricks, only treats, when you add science to your annual pumpkin-carving festivities. That's why we at Symmetry created designs featuring spooky versions of important figures from the history of physics to adorn your Halloween gourds.

To make a physics jack-o'-lantern:

  1. Pick out a pumpkin and one of our five designs.
  2. Using printer settings, resize the design template to fit on your pumpkin.
  3. Print it.
  4. Cut out the shaded sections from the print-out.
  5. Trace the cut out sections of the print-out onto your gourd.
  6. Carve.

Alternatively, you can use a ballpoint pen to poke through the paper along the outline of the template. Connect the dots on your pumpkin to mark where to carve.

Make your physics jack-o'-lantern

Lauren Biron

Photo of the Day

Bobbing geese

nature, wildlife, bird, goose
Whatever's under the surface must be delicious. Photo: T.J. Sarlina, ESH&Q
In the News

The largest cosmic structures in the universe don't actually exist

From Forbes, Oct. 23, 2015

There's a simple recipe for building the Universe as we know it today: take a sea of matter and radiation that starts off hot, dense and expanding, and give it time to cool. Over long enough timescales, atomic nuclei, neutral atoms, and eventually stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies will form. The irresistible force of gravity makes this inevitable, thanks to its effects on both the normal (atomic) matter we know and the dark matter filling our Universe, whose nature is still unknown.

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