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Today's New Announcements

Witch recruitment in Wilson Hall - today

Pumpkin trebuchet at Village soccer field - tonight

Bison rides at Bison Pasture - tomorrow

Zombies on Interpretive Trail until Nov. 3

Free candy in IARC parking lot until it's all eaten

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Feature

Tevatron reanimated

It took two teracandles to raise the Tevatron from underground. Photo: Kalle Gustafsson

Scientists hoped that bringing the Tevatron back to life would yield more insights into the nature of space, time and reality. What they got instead was a ring hoping to set a world record beyond the bounds of physics.

A group of 500 physicists calling themselves "The Cult of the Tev" reanimated the ring through a series of incantations on Wednesday morning. Circling the survey tower at the center of the ring, half of the group hummed harmonics while the other half chanted Maxwell's equations.

The Crew Chief, hooded in black, then placed her key in the Lockout/Tagout box, doused the container in lubricating oil, and lit the container on fire. (Members of the Fire Department and Roads and Grounds were on hand with fire extinguishers during this controlled burn).

Immediately, the ground began to shake. Cracks split along the 4-mile circumference of the tunnel housing the superconducting behemoth. Earth shifted as the ring shimmied to the surface, letting out a loud groan as it awoke from slumber. Magnets creaked as the Tevatron leaned onto its side and peered down at its dazed fans.

"Oh Tevatron," shouted the Crew Chief, "will you help us collide particles once more?"

The gigantic ring moved close to the Crew Chief and whispered something in her ear. After a brief consultation, the Crew Chief turned to her followers.

"It says it wants to fly away and join the circus," she said. "Its life goal is to get in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest ring toss ring."

Negotiations are currently under way with the City of Chicago to see if Willis Tower can be used as a post for the ring toss. The Tevatron also agreed that if a suitable skyscraper in Chicago cannot be found, it will fly to a different city such as New York or Dubai.

Perhaps when the Tevatron has had a chance to fulfill its life's dream, it will return to Fermilab for scientific endeavors, or at least to advise younger magnets working at the lab.

Feature

Newly discovered particle is mysterious, delicious

An artist's rendering of a potential new addition to the Main Control Room, allowing operators to switch from neutrino production to glucoson production in the Main Injector, once the process is understood.

It's the dream of any particle physicist to discover some new ingredient in the cosmic soup that formed our universe. If that ingredient happens to be a tasty one, so much the better.

Scientists working on Fermilab's Main Injector accelerator announced a major, yet completely accidental discovery this week: a previously unseen particle that seems to play an integral role in the makeup of the universe. Unlike most particles discovered with the lab's flagship accelerator, this one is not subatomic — you can fit about five of them in your hand — and it comes in only one flavor.

"It looks, feels and, most importantly, tastes exactly like candy corn," said Sergei Nagaitsev, Fermilab's chief accelerator officer.

Nagaitsev said that accelerator operators are not sure how the new particle, which they have called a glucoson, was generated.

"One moment we were accelerating protons into a target as usual, the next our accelerator was full of yummy, sugary candy corn," Nagaitsev said. "We've been trying to replicate it, but all we've managed to make are neutrinos, and as everyone knows, you can't eat neutrinos."

"Believe me, I've tried," he added, popping a handful of the amazing new discovery into his mouth.

In a paper published in Nature this week, Fermilab scientists have made an extraordinary claim about the new particle: it does not itself decay, but it causes teeth to decay. Researchers say that further study is required to truly understand this property.

Scientists have been studying the new particle in mass quantities since discovering it, but now they say supplies of the glucoson are running low. Nagaitsev said his team is hoping to replicate the original discovery soon.

"It's not often that the accelerator itself is the site of a major discovery," Nagaitsev said, his mouth full of glucosons. "We're pretty proud of this."

Creature

A hairy encounter

Don't let his fuzzy wuzzy appearance fool you: We've inadvertently poked a sleeping Ted E. Bear. Here we lay bear the story.

The laboratory housed a grizzly attack last night.

Leah Hesla, Fermilab Today editor, was working late when she was attacked by Mr. Ted E. Bear, the person-sized teddy bear known for his seemingly innocent occupation of vacant offices.

Hesla was sitting at her desk when Mr. Bear entered her cubicle and beared his fangs, hurling insults and fluff. She swatted him in his button nose, allowing her to escape (but just bearly), grabbing only the bear necessities from her den.

It was determined that Mr. Bear, having learned that a certain newsletter was undergoing changes, had come out of hibernation to voice his displeasure at the polarizing issue.

"I was here in 2003 when we launched it. This is unbearable and embearrassing," he growled as he lumbered after her. "Changing the way you deliver news ought to give you great paws, so stop bruining everything. It will turn into pandamonium!"

"Don't judge it before you see it, Mr. Bear — there's no claws for alarm!" Hesla shouted, as she climbed up a tree in the atrium. "You'll still get a weekly newsletter, and even a daily if you want!"

This soothed Mr. Bear fur sure. After regaining his bearings, he silently toddled away.

"Where are you going?" Hesla cried.

"I'm going to the Build-a-Bear workshop at the maul," he responded.

"Want a hug?" she asked in an attempt at d├ętente.

"No," he said. "Bears don't hug."

Photo of the Day

When witches fly

The sky around Wilson Hall glows orange. Photo: Elliott McCrory
In Verse

Pronounce it 'kahy-oht'

A coyote speeds
Through snowy weeds
Toward the Main Injector.
Perhaps he spies,
With fiery eyes,
A sign of El Dark Sector.
Photo: Denton Morris, AD

Chasing a dream
From stream to stream,
Following every vector,
A coyote went
With ardent bent
In search of El Dark Sector.

For matter dark,
For some small spark,
In various detectors,
He scanned and sought.
Yet he saw naught
That looked like El Dark Sector.

"Dark energy —
I hear its plea
To prove it's no mere specter!"
He feared he'd fail.
'Twas his white whale:
This land of El Dark Sector.

His wounds he nursed.
"To see it first
Would be the sweetest nectar."
"Then keep it up,"
said his small pup,
"If you seek for El Dark Sector!"

In the News

13 spooky science stories to get you in the Halloween spirit

From The Washington Post, Oct. 29, 2015

Creepy crawlers, weird animals and chilling scientific studies. We've got your nerdy Halloween reading material right here.

Read more

In the News

DIY Halloween costumes: 7 geeky getups for any party

From Live Science, Oct. 27, 2015

With Halloween less than a week away, science nerds everywhere are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their costumes. But if you've waited until the last minute to throw an outfit together, don't worry. There's still time to assemble an appropriately geeky getup in time for this weekend's festivities. Here are a few science-themed ideas to get you started.

Read more