Right now could be considered one of the best — and most uncertain — times in theoretical physics. That’s what Symmetry heard in interviews with 10 junior faculty in the field. They talk about what keeps them up at night, their favorite places to think and how they explain their jobs to nonscientists.
Fermilab is America’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory. Our vision is to solve the mysteries of matter, energy, space and time for the benefit of all.
Major deliveries in June set the stage for the next phase of work on LUX-ZEPLIN project, led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. A Fermilab group is responsible for implementing key parts of the critical systems that handle the xenon in the detector.
It took three sky surveys to prepare for a new project that will create the largest 3-D map of the universe’s galaxies and glean new insights about the universe’s accelerating expansion. This Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument project will explore this expansion, driven by a mysterious property known as dark energy, in great detail. The surveys, which wrapped up in March, have amassed images of more than 1 billion galaxies and are essential in selecting celestial objects to target with DESI, now under construction in Arizona.
Postdoc Guillermo Fernandez Moroni is recognized for his outstanding work on the SENSEI experiment at Fermilab. Dark matter experiments are quite sensitive to unwanted background noise, and Moroni found a way to limit this noise for SENSEI, increasing the sensitivity of the experiment by a factor of a thousand, making it the most sensitive of its kind in the world.
Dhuley and his team at the Illinois Accelerator Research Center have received the William E. Gifford Award for their work on cryocooling acceleration cavities. Their research on cryocooler-based systems is paving the way for compact particle accelerators that can operate at ultracold temperatures without complicated cooling infrastructure.
Particle accelerators are some of the most complicated machines in science. In today’s more autonomous era of self-driving cars and vacuuming robots, efforts are going strong to automate different aspects of the operation of accelerators, and the next generation of particle accelerators promises to be more automated than ever. Scientists are working on ways to run them with a diminishing amount of direction from humans.
Fermilab in the news
From Duke Today, July 17, 2019: Teams behind the 1995 discovery are recognized for first observations of tiny but hefty particle at the heart of matter.
From CNN, July 16, 2019: On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln talks about the past, present and future of spaceflight. There is no denying the allure of manned space travel. It tugs at our imagination. Ironically, we must both temper our imagination and dream even bigger.
From Physics World, June 12, 2019: Physics World posts a video recorded inside the ProtoDUNE neutrino detector by the particle physicist and vocalist Anastasia Basharina-Freshville, who sing-explains why the noble gas is used to detect the elusive particles.