Fermilab news for employees and users

Fermilab Quality Tool Suite and HPI database

On May 23, the Quality Section released the new Fermilab Quality Tool Suite, or FQTS, as well as updates to the existing Human Performance Improvement database.
The FQTS is a compilation of three databases used to document and track issues identified, lessons learned and scheduled assessments.

SENSEI gets quiet

A good dark matter detector has a lot in common with a good teleconference setup: You need a sensitive microphone and a quiet room. The SENSEI experiment has demonstrated world-leading sensitivity and the low background needed for an effective search for low-mass dark matter.

Now complete, telescope instrument is poised to begin its search for answers about dark energy

The Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, which will map millions of galaxies in 3-D, reaches final milestone toward its startup.

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.

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Modern science: the process and methodologyNEW

From The Great Courses Daily, June 2, 2020: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln writes about modern science: how it is a process for fitting facts into some interconnected whole, for a bigger picture, why it’s an extremely powerful tool and the different terms for the meaning of basic scientific methods.

Accelerator experiments are closing in on neutrino CP violationNEW

From Physics Today, June 1, 2020: Somewhere in the laws of physics, particles must be allowed to behave differently from their antiparticles. If they weren’t, the universe would contain equal amounts of matter and antimatter, all the particles and antiparticles would promptly annihilate one another, and none of us would exist. Fermilab’s NOvA neutrino experiment and the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by Fermilab, are pinning down CP violation, the property that could explain the imbalance.

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