Brad Hooker

Fermilab scientist Mike Crisler adjust a component of the CIRTE experiment. The tiny bubble chamber (glass tube on lower right) will aid in the dark matter search. Photo: Reidar Hahn In a deep underground laboratory, scientists are hard at work on one of the most advanced experiments in particle physics: watching bubbles form. More than soap bubbles, these delicate reactions may point the way to the first definitive signs of dark matter. The idea is simple: when a particle associated…

Fermilab physicist Jen Raaf manages the assembly process of pieces that will make the MicroBooNE detector. Photo: Reidar Hahn Fermilab’s neutrino experiment MicroBooNE is beginning the full construction phase for the detector, after DOE announced the official Critical Decision 3b approval on March 29. “This is a significant milestone for the MicroBooNE project,” said project manager Gina Rameika, noting that the next step in the DOE CD process will be CD 4, which is approval to start operations, planned for…

Fermilab physicist Jen Raaf manages the assembly process of pieces that will make the MicroBooNE detector. Photo: Reidar Hahn Fermilab’s neutrino experiment, MicroBooNE, is beginning the full construction phase for the detector, after DOE announced the official Critical Decision 3b approval on March 29. “This is a significant milestone for the MicroBooNE project,” said project manager Gina Rameika, noting that the next step in the DOE CD process will be CD 4, which is approval to start operations, planned for…

SeaQuest spokesperson Paul Reimer inspects part of the detector. Photo: Reidar Hahn On the night of March 7, SeaQuest operators celebrated the detection of their first particles – a new milestone for the experiment. For spokesperson Paul Reimer of Argonne National Laboratory, 13 years of planning, proposals, funding and construction have led to this moment, when SeaQuest switched from a long-sought goal to a current reality. Reimer hopes that data gained from this experiment will help scientists better understand the…

EDIT school participant Lauren Jeanty works on her group’s detector at the Fermilab Test Beam Facility. Photo: Reidar Hahn Arms heavy with a coil of wires, Laura Jeanty, a Harvard University student, scrambled to plug her group’s particle detector in before time ran out. Here, at the Fermilab Test Beam Facility, Jeanty and her group would soon test their detector in an actual beam – a valuable learning experience found only at the EDIT school. From Feb. 13 to today,…

CERN’s Marco Villa, center, explains to EDIT students Peter-Bernd Otte, left, and Tom Barber, right, how to use a gas electron multiplier detector at CERN’s EDIT school last year. Photo by Kathryn Grim Called Excellence in Detectors and Instrumentation Technologies, this new series of international symposiums is exposing young researchers to hands-on particle detector experience. From Feb. 13 through 24 at Fermilab, 64 EDIT attendees from around the world will work alongside detector professionals. The first morning starts off with…

Lee Hammond checks the dials on the new cooling system for the MINOS underground area. In 2009, after experimenters in the MINOS underground area expressed concern over a gradual increase in temperatures in the tunnel, Fermilab engineers went to work on a clever, yet tricky plan to rebuild the aging cooling system. By adding two new chiller units and replacing the groundwater-based system with a recirculating loop of chilled water, the air temperatures would drop from the mid-80s to a…

Amitoj Singh and Don Holmgren display one of the new GPUs installed to calculate lattice QCD. Credit: Brad Hooker As Fermilab employees bundle up and head out into the cold at the close of each day, the Grid Computing Center stays hot – literally. The center hums with the sound of cooling fans, as thousands of processors drill away at a single problem in a series of enormously complex calculations known as lattice quantum chromodynamics. QCD, the theory of quarks…

Martijn Mulders, a CMS physicist, facilitates classes during hands-on exercises. Photo: Brad Hooker With the 2012 run for the Large Hadron Collider two months away, a new wave of scientists will be ready to analyze the flood of data from CMS. From Jan. 10 through Jan. 14, Fermilab hosted the CMS Data Analysis School, an intensive workshop that gives the newest members of the collaboration a crash course on the experiment. Previously known as the “EJTERM” workshop, Fermilab’s LHC Physics…

Palmer stands by a section of the Cornell electron-positron accelerator. Today Mark Palmer assumes a new position as head of the Muon Accelerator Program (MAP), a collaborative project exploring the potential of a muon collider and a neutrino factory for experiments. “I’m very much looking forward to joining the Fermilab team and helping to manage the program,” said Palmer. “It’s going to be quite enjoyable to work with what I view as a very diverse and talented team both at…