Fermilab Resumes “Ask a Scientist” Program on January 19

Media contact
  • Kurt Riesselmann, Fermilab Office of Communication, media@fnal.gov, 630-840-3351

Program now every Saturday at the Lederman Science Center

After a four-month break, the public will again be able to take physics questions straight to the experts at the Department of Energy’s Fermilab. Beginning January 19, scientists will meet visitors at the Lederman Science Center every Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. to answer questions ranging from What is dark matter? to How does a particle accelerator work?

Security concerns after the September 11 terrorist attacks led to the closure of the lab to the general public and the suspension of the popular Ask-a-Scientist program. Although most of the lab remains closed to the general public, visitors are again welcome at the Lederman Science Center, which has announced extended weekend hours and is now open every Saturday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m.

“The security of the laboratory must be our first concern,” said Jane Monhart, head of the Department of Energy’s Fermi Area Office. “However, our open relationship with neighboring communities is very important to us. We continue to investigate possibilities to make the lab more accessible while meeting our security requirements.”

To kick off the Ask-a-Scientist program at its new location, scientist Jerry Zimmermann, known as “Mr. Freeze,” will show some of his favorite cryogenic experiments this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. In addition, visitors can explore a variety of hands-on exhibits about accelerators, particles and the universe at the Lederman Science Center.

“We are happy that people from the neighboring communities are again able to come to Fermilab and learn about the fascinating things we do at this lab,” said Peter Garbincius, who initiated the Ask-a-Scientist program a year and a half ago. “People read about Fermilab in newspapers and magazines and they have questions. We try our best to answer them.”

The Leon Lederman Science Education Center is only accessible using the Fermilab main entrance on Pine Street. During the week the Center will maintain its usual schedule: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Groups of six or more must book a visit by calling (630) 840-8258. For information on other educational activities at the Center, including the Saturday morning Science Adventures, please visit the Web page at www-ed.fnal.gov/ed_lsc.html or contact Nancy Lanning at 840-5588 or 840-8258.

Fermilab is a Department of Energy national laboratory operated under contract by Universities Research Association, Inc.