Fermilab news for employees and users

Subatomic Stories: The amazing Higgs boson

The Standard Model of particle physics was devised in the 1960s and 1970s and tested extensively over the decades. One unanswered question was on the origin of the mass of subatomic particles. A theory proposed in 1964 by Peter Higgs and others proposed an energy field called the Higgs field and a particle called the Higgs boson. It took nearly 50 years, but in 2012, the Higgs boson was discovered. In episode 8 of Subatomic Stories, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln sheds some light on this last discovered feature of the Standard Model.

A window of opportunity: Physicists test titanium target windows for particle beam

Fermilab is currently upgrading its accelerator complex to produce the world’s most powerful beam of high-energy neutrinos. To generate these particles, the accelerators will send an intense beam of protons traveling near the speed of light through a maze of particle accelerator components before passing through metallic “windows” and colliding with a stationary target. Researchers are testing the endurance of windows made of a titanium alloy, exposing samples to high-intensity proton beams to see how well the material will perform.

The sourdough starter physics family

A sourdough family started at Fermilab by a graduate student visiting from Texas A&M has continued to expand and flourish.

Physicists curate list of COVID-19 projects to join

Physicists are finding ways to contribute to projects related to epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, supporting healthcare systems and studying public sentiment.

On the east side of the Fermilab grounds, a few large, stately honey locust trees grow directly over the bike path, where they dump most of their pendulous, spiral bean pods in the fall and winter. Photo: szántó
Mammoths, mastodons and the fruit they left behind at Fermilab

If you live in the Chicago suburbs and have ever taken a walk on the Fermilab hike-and-bike trail along Batavia Road, you’ve probably noticed large trees with long, slender bean pods, which — even after they fall to the ground — are ignored by wildlife. Not that long ago, mammoths, mastodons and giant ground sloths roamed the Fermilab grounds and feasted on these bean pods, along with the fruit of two additional species that still can be found growing on site.

Subatomic Stories: Antimatter

One of the amazing claims in physics is that for every kind of known matter, there is a cousin version called antimatter. Antimatter is the opposite of ordinary matter and will annihilate into pure energy when it encounters matter. In episode 7 of Subatomic Stories, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln gives you the low-down on this amazing substance.

High school students: Hear from professionals at Fermilab Online STEM Career Expo

Fermilab takes its popular STEM Career Expo to the web. This year the annual event, an opportunity for high school students to hear from more than two dozen STEM professionals about their careers, is offered as five recorded panel discussions now available on the Fermilab website. Students can learn how neutrino physicists, bioinformatics scientists, actuaries and others got to where they are and hear from people who work jobs in fields that students might pursue in the coming years.

Lieutenant Steve Hernandez of the Fermilab Fire Department reviews information passed to him from previous shifts. Photo: Chuck Kuhn
Uniting with local community: Fermilab Fire Department ready to respond to area COVID-19 cases

As with all first responders across the nation, the Fermilab Fire Department stands ready to act should they be called upon to help with a COVID-19 incident in the areas surrounding the suburban Illinois laboratory.

Physicists put their expertise toward ventilator shortage

Physicist Cristiano Galbiati shifted focus from the search for dark matter to the shortage of ventilators for COVID-19 patients. The collaboration he began created an easy-to-manufacture ventilator in less than two months.

The invisible Higgs bosons

Experimentalists and theorists search for Higgs bosons escaping as dark matter.

Fermilab scientist Petra Merkel new panel co-chair in APS Division of Particles and Fields

Earlier this month, Fermilab scientist Petra Merkel stepped into the role of co-chair of the Coordinating Panel for Advanced Detectors in the APS Division of Particles and Fields. The panel is responsible for promoting excellence in the research and development of instrumentation and detectors to support the national program of particle physics in a global context.

Subatomic Stories: Known subatomic forces

To understand the universe, you need to understand the different forces that govern it. In this 11-minute video, episode 6 of Subatomic Stories, Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln explains the nature of the forces that govern the microcosm.

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Physicists in Chicago testing simplified ventilator

From WGN9, May 27, 2020: Fermilab scientist Jen Raaf is featured in this four-minute segment on the Mechanical Ventilator Milano, which arrived to Chicago’s Stroger Hospital last week from Italy. Physicists have been troubleshooting the design at the hospital.

UC grad provides ventilators for COVID-19 victims

From University of Cincinnati News, May 26, 2020: Fermilab physicist and UC alumna Jennifer Raaf is part of an international team of scientists and engineers who won federal regulatory approvals for a simple ventilator that could be produced quickly with common parts.

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