|Jennifer Raaf helps manage the construction of the MicroBooNE detector. Photo: Reidar Hahn|
How long have you been at Fermilab?
I started in March of 2011. I was also part of Fermilab when I worked on MiniBooNE as a physics graduate student from roughly 2000 to 2005.
Describe a typical workday.
I work on the MicroBooNE experiment. I make sure that I and my group know what our plan is for the day and that we do it and do it safely. Before construction of the MicroBooNE detector started in September, those plans included preparing for construction by sorting all the parts to the time projection chamber, cleaning them very well and placing them in labeled piles. We’ve become very good at making organized piles. That sounds silly, but it has been very helpful in moving forward rapidly with the assembly once we had all the parts. We work toward the eventful day when we have a detector that is constructed properly.
What’s the best part of your job?
I wanted to work at a national lab because the experiments are typically there on site, so you can be there with the experiment. Otherwise, I feel kind of disconnected as someone living remotely from the experiment site.
I know every part of the detector I’m working on, and I really enjoy that level of familiarity. Also, I get to do a little bit of everything. If I had to sit at my computer all day, I would get bored, or if I had to rasp the edges off of pieces of metal all day, I’d get bored. But the fact that if I get frustrated with my computer I can go bang on things is one of the best parts of the job.
How did you become interested in science?
Well, I really liked blowing up stuff in high school, and I wanted to do something where I could blow up stuff. I don’t get to blow things up anymore, but it’s still fun.