Caitlyn Buongiorno

Caitlyn Buongiorno is a writer and social media manager in the Fermilab Office of Communication.

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.

Jean Reising works with Fermilab computing and helps people with content management systems, including websites and digital signage. She is active in Fermilab’s Spectrum Group, which builds awareness and provides resources for the LGBTQ+ community. Reising also has a degree in culinary arts. When she’s not working, she can be found cooking or reading about cooking.

Rakshya Khatiwada is an experimental astrophysicist at Fermilab working on dark matter searches and quantum science. When she’s not developing the newest detectors to look for dark matter, Khatiwada makes a point to engage with the next generation of scientists through informal lunches, talks and webinars.

Scientists think that, under some circumstances, dark matter could generate powerful enough gravitational waves for equipment like LIGO to detect. Now that observatories have begun to record gravitational waves on a regular basis, scientists are discussing how dark matter—only known so far to interact with other matter only through gravity—might create these gravitational waves.

In electrospinning, a positive charge is applied to liquidized material to create thin strands that eventually harden into a solid, fibrous material. Photo: Reidar Hahn

Fermilab scientists are preparing for future, high-power particle beams with a technological advance inspired by spinning sugar. It’s a new type of target — the material that beams collide with to produce other particles, such as neutrinos. The target is designed to be able to withstand the heat from high-intensity beams, expanding the potential of experiments that use them. Researching this new patent-pending technology already has led to a TechConnect Innovation Award and might have applications in the medical field.

On Feb. 26, a team on Fermilab’s MINERvA neutrino experiment gathered around a computer screen to officially conclude its data acquisition. Even with the data collection over, the work marches on. MINERvA now turns its attention to analyzing the data it has collected over the past nine years of its run.

One day in 2017, the idea to detect particles that had potentially been escaping the LHC for years unnoticed by the gigantic detectors suddenly became feasible. The story of the latest experiment approved for installation at the Large Hadron Collider starts with a theorist and a question about dark matter.