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  • richardmitnick 3:28 pm on February 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FNAL, , , , Proton booster   

    From FNAL: “Fermilab’s Booster accelerator delivers record-setting proton beam” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    February 21, 2018
    Bill Pellico

    This plot shows the ramp-up of proton flux in the Proton Source under PIP.

    FNAL booster

    On Jan. 29, Fermilab’s Booster accelerator achieved a record proton flux of 2.4×1017 protons per hour. This milestone achievement fulfills one of the most important requirements in the Proton Improvement Plan (PIP), which Fermilab has been implementing over the last five years.

    The main goal of the PIP project is to increase the proton beam output to meet Fermilab’s experimental needs, in particular for neutrino and muon experiments such as NOvA, MicroBooNE and Muon g-2. The Booster delivers beam to all of the lab’s experiments, and according to PIP, the Booster’s proton beam output, also known as proton flux, had to meet a certain minimum.

    FNAL NOvA Near Detector

    FNAL/NOvA experiment map


    FNAL Muon g-2 studio

    We delivered on that promise in January and have been operating the Booster at the new level since then. The record proton flux is about two-and-a-half times higher than what the accelerator was capable of delivering before the PIP upgrades, a flux of 1.1×1017. Now, with the Booster generating 2.4×1017 protons per hour at 15 hertz, the NuMI beamline, Booster Neutrino Beamline and the Muon Campus can all operate simultaneously. (Prior to this, we could operate only one at a time.)

    PIP started in 2012 to upgrade our aging Proton Source accelerators. Not only did we set out to increase the proton flux, we also aimed to provide a reliable source of protons for Fermilab’s scientific program. Reliability translates into “up time” — the fraction of time the accelerator is operating. PIP specified an up time of 85 percent, and we’ve exceeded that: We currently run at 92 percent up time, and we’re working to maintain this high performance level in the years to come.

    We could not have reached this milestone accelerator goal without the dedication of numerous people at the lab, who took on challenging engineering and beam physics problems and addressed other issues related to the viability and reliability of Fermilab’s Proton Source.

    It is truly remarkable that the Booster and the Linac — the oldest machines at the lab — are performing at record levels almost 50 years after they were first built, well higher than their design called for and beyond what anyone could have hoped for at the birth of the lab.

    Now we look to the next steps, working to achieve even higher proton flux levels. We’re also working to make sure PIP’s goal of providing a viable beam source until the successor plan, called PIP-II, is put in place. The PIP-II project will replace the current Linac with a new Superconducting Linac — in time for the operation of our flagship, LBNF/DUNE.

    The successful implementation of PIP ensures that the Proton Source can generate the beam needed to carry out Fermilab’s — and the nation’s — high-energy physics program. This was no small effort, and we congratulate and thank everyone involved for delivering world-class accelerators for fundamental science.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

  • richardmitnick 11:52 am on February 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Evangelia Gousiou, FNAL, , Jeny Teheran, , , , Sima Baymani,   

    From CERN and FNAL: Women in STEM- “Coding has no gender” Sima Baymani, Jeny Teheran, Evangelia Gousiou 

    Cern New Bloc

    Cern New Particle Event

    CERN New Masthead


    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    5 Feb 2018
    Kate Kahle
    Lauren Biron

    Sima Baymani: “You can work all over the world, because programming is the same everywhere. The choices you have are endless.”

    With 11 February marking the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, female physicists, engineers and computer scientists from CERN and from Fermilab share their experiences of building a career in science.

    Sima Baymani: “There is a lot of collaboration, and this, for me, is part of the joy of programming”

    Computer science engineer, Sima Baymani, talks about the freedom, creativity and collaboration of computer programming. (Video: Jacques Fichet/CERN)

    Computer science engineer, Sima Baymani was born in Iran before her family fled war when she was young to start a new life in Sweden. Her parents were academics, and Sima and her sisters were always encouraged to learn more about everything. Her mother, a physicist, had to restart her career in Sweden and chose to pursue database management and programming. Her enjoyment of her job, coupled with an inspiring Danish mathematics teacher, were two factors that helped lead Sima towards studying computer science.

    “In school I was interested in almost all subjects. But I can see that the IT boom in Sweden had an effect on me, and on other women, because when we started university it was one of the peaks of women studying computer science.” At university, Sima wanted to understand how computers worked, so she specialised in hardware and embedded systems. After graduation she worked as an independent consultant for 10 years before joining CERN.

    She has encountered challenges in fighting gender and ethnic stereotypes, and often felt that she had to work harder to prove herself. Yet part of her joy of programming is collaborating with colleagues to find creative solutions to complex problems and to develop new products or new functionality. “Technology is everywhere in our society; the problems and solutions you can work with creatively are endless,” she enthuses.

    Jeny Teheran: “What I love the most is to work with teams around the world.”

    Jeny Teheran shares the best parts of being a security analyst and cybersecurity researcher at Fermilab. (Video: Fermilab)

    Jeny Teheran is a security analyst and cybersecurity researcher at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. That means keeping up with and taking care of hardware and software vulnerabilities so that the experiments can carry out their science in a secure manner. It’s a fast-paced job where you have to come up with the best solution you can put in place, right in the moment.

    “I would recommend this job because it challenges you. It pushes you to be on top of your game. You have to improve your analytical skills; you have to react fast; you have to communicate better.” – Jeny Teheran

    Jeny came to Fermilab from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. She grew up in a house with few toys but lots of books, and says she has always felt close to science. With a degree in systems and computing engineering, she arrived at Fermilab four years ago as an intern to work in the offline production team for neutrino experiments. A year later, she was hired as a security analyst. “And I’m loving it,” she says.

    Evangelia Gousiou: “Nothing beats the rush you get when something that you designed works for the first time.”

    Electronics engineer, Evangelia Gousiou, talks about what led her to a career in engineering. (Video: Jacques Fichet/CERN)

    Electronics engineer, Evangelia Gousiou, began her career studying IT and Electronics in Athens, Greece, before beginning an internship at a manufacturing plant in Thailand. She came to CERN for a one-year position, and now, ten years later is still at CERN enjoying a job that is never boring.

    “Work is never repetitive, which makes it very rewarding. I usually follow a project through all its stages from conception of the architecture, to the coding and the delivery to the users of a product that I have built to be useful for them. So I see the full picture and that keeps me engaged.” – Evangelia Gousiou

    For Evangelia, to be a good electronics engineer means knowing a range of disciplines, from software to mechanics. There is also the human aspect, as she works daily with people from many different cultures.

    At school, her favourite subjects were maths and physics, as she enjoyed finding out how things worked, yet Evangelia never dreamt of being an engineer when she grew up. When the time came to choose what to study, she felt that engineering would be something interesting and future-proof, and then she got hooked and now can’t imagine doing anything else. “I would recommend engineering professions for their intellectual challenge and the empowerment that they bring,” she beams.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Meet CERN in a variety of places:

    Quantum Diaries

    Cern Courier




    CERN CMS New

    CERN LHCb New II


    CERN LHC Map
    CERN LHC Grand Tunnel

    CERN LHC particles

    Quantum Diaries

  • richardmitnick 4:37 pm on February 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Fermilab’s Muon g-2 experiment officially starts up, FNAL, , , , ,   

    From FNAL: “Fermilab’s Muon g-2 experiment officially starts up” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    February 6, 2018
    Bruno Martin

    FNAL Muon g-2 studio

    Fermilab’s Muon g-2 experiment has officially begun taking data. Pictured here is the centerpiece of the experiment, a 50-foot-wide electromagnet ring, which generates a uniform magnetic field so scientists can make measurements of particles called muons with immense precision. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    The Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab, which has been six years in the making, is officially up and running after reaching its final construction milestone. The U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 16 granted the last of five approval stages to the project, Critical Decision 4 (CD-4), formally allowing its transition into operations.

    “We laid down the plans for Muon g-2 early on and have stuck to that through four years of construction,” said Fermilab’s Chris Polly, the experiment’s co-spokesperson and former project manager. “We’ve come out on schedule and under budget, which sets a good precedent for all the other projects.”

    The experiment will send particles called muons — heavier cousins of the electron — around a 50-foot-wide muon storage ring that was relocated from Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York state in 2013. The uniform magnetic field inside the ring exerts a torque that affects the muons’ own spins, causing them to wobble. In the early 2000s, scientists at Brookhaven found the value of this wobble, called magnetic precession, to be different from the “g-2” value predicted by theory.

    At Fermilab, the Muon g-2 experiment aims to confirm or refute this intriguing discrepancy with theory by repeating the measurements with a fourfold improvement in accuracy, up to 140 parts per billion. That’s like measuring the length of a football field with a margin of error that is only one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. If the experimental deviation from theory turns out to be real, it would mean that undiscovered forces or particles beyond the Standard Model — the theoretical framework that describes how the universe works — are appearing and disappearing from the vacuum to disturb the muons’ magnetic moment.

    And if it isn’t?

    “Well, if we find the measurement is consistent with theory, it will allow us to narrow our search for new physics, since it will rule out some current models that would no longer be viable,” Polly said.

    For example, Polly added, there are theories positing the existence of supersymmetric particles — superheavy partners to those in the Standard Model — and new categories of particles that could be the constituents of the mysterious dark matter, which makes up 80 percent of the universe’s mass. Some of these theories would no longer be valid.

    “That’s the value of a null result,” Polly said. “It helps us make sure that the theories that we would use to try to understand these other bigger questions are consistent.”

    All that’s left now is to finish fine-tuning the instruments so the experiment can start its several-year run of data collection.

    “For most of the team, this was the first project we’ve worked on,” said Fermilab physicist Mary Convery, who served as the experiment’s deputy project manager. “To see it through from design to construction and now to operations has been very rewarding.”

    Muon g-2 operations got a head start in June 2017, when the team fired up the particle beam to start calibrating the detectors and tweaking components that required additional work.

    “Since the accelerator turned back on in November, we have been commissioning the beamlines, the storage ring and the rest of the experiment,” said University of Washington physicist David Hertzog, Muon g-2 co-spokesperson.

    As early as next month, Muon g-2 will be ready to start collecting physics-quality data at Fermilab and explore the nature of the previously measured g-2 discrepancy.

    “We’ve set ourselves the goal of collecting three times the amount of data that they had in Brookhaven’s three-year run during this first spring season,” Hertzog said. “But this is just the very beginning: The experiment will run with higher intensity next year. The ultimate goal is to collect 21 times the Brookhaven statistics.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

  • richardmitnick 2:44 pm on January 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL, , ,   

    From FNAL: “Muon machine makes milestone magnetic map” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    January 29, 2018
    Tom Barratt

    David Flay holds one of the probes that Muon g-2 scientists will use to map the magnetic field inside the experiment’s storage ring. Photo: Reidar Hahn.

    Muons are mysterious, and scientists are diving deep into the particle to get a handle on a property that might render it — and the universe — a little less mysterious.

    Like electrons – muons’ lighter siblings – they are particles with a sort of natural internal magnet. They also have an angular momentum called spin, kind of like a spinning top. The combination of the spin and internal magnet of a particle is called the gyromagnetic ratio, dubbed “g,” but previous attempts at measuring it for muons have thrown up intriguing surprises.

    The goal of the Muon g-2 experiment at Fermilab is to measure it more precisely than ever before.

    FNAL Muon g-2 studio

    To reach these remarkable levels of precision, scientists have to keep very careful tabs on a few parts of the experiment, one of which is how strong its magnetic field is. The team has been measuring and tweaking the magnetic field for months and is now very close to achieving a stable field before experiments can properly begin.

    “We’re in the experiment’s commissioning period right now, where we’re basically learning how our systems behave and making sure everything works properly before we transition into stable running,” said David Flay, a University of Massachusetts scientist working on the calibration of the magnetic field for Muon g-2.

    Muon mystery

    Muon g-2 is following up on an intriguing result seen at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York in the early 2000s, when the experiment made observations of muons that didn’t match with theoretical predictions. The experiment’s 15-meter-diameter circular magnet, called a storage ring, was shipped to Illinois across land and sea in 2013, and the measurement is now being conducted at Fermilab with four times the precision.

    When Brookhaven carried out the experiment, the result was surprising: The muon value of g differed significantly from what calculations said it should be, and no one is quite sure why. It’s possible the experiment itself was flawed and the result was false, but it also opens the door to the possibility of exotic new particles and theories. With its four-fold increase in precision, Muon g-2 will shed more light on the situation.

    To measure g, beams of muons circulating inside the experiment’s storage ring are subjected to an intense magnetic field – about 30,000 times the strength of Earth’s natural field. This causes the muons to rotate around the magnetic field, or precess, in a particular way. By measuring this precession, it is possible to precisely extract the value of g.

    The strength of magnetic field to which the muons are exposed directly affects how they precess, so it’s absolutely crucial to make extremely precise measurements of the field strength and maintain its uniformity throughout the ring – not an easy task.

    If Muon g-2 backs up Brookhaven’s result, it would be huge news. The Standard Model would need rethinking and it would open up a whole new chapter of particle physics.

    A leading theory to explain the intriguing results are new kinds of virtual particles, quantum phenomena that flit in and out of existence, even in an otherwise empty vacuum. All known particles do this, but their total effect doesn’t quite account for Brookhaven’s results. Scientists are therefore predicting one or more new, undiscovered kinds, whose additional ephemeral presence could be providing the strange muon observations.

    “The biggest challenge so far has been dealing with the unexpected,” said Joe Grange, scientist at Argonne National Laboratory working on Muon g-2’s magnetic field. “When a mystery pops up that needs to be solved relatively quickly, things can get hectic. But it’s also one of the more fun parts of our work.”

    Probing the field

    The magnetic field strength measurements are made using small, sensitive electronic devices called probes. Three types of probes – fixed, trolley and plunging – work together to build up a 3-D map of the magnetic field inside the experiment. The field can drift over time, and things like temperature changes in the experiment’s building can subtly affect the ring’s shape, so roughly 400 fixed probes are positioned just above and below the storage ring to keep a constant eye on the field inside. Because these probes are always watching, the scientists know when and by how much to tweak the field to keep it uniform.

    For these measurements, and every few days when the experiments is paused and the muon beam is stopped, a 0.5-meter-long, curved cylindrical trolley on rails containing 17 probes is sent around the ring to take a precise field map in the region where the muons are stored. Each orbit takes a couple of hours. The trolley probes are themselves calibrated by a plunging probe, which can move in and out of its own chamber at a specific location in the ring when needed.

    The fixed probes have been installed and working since fall 2016, while the 17 trolley probes have recently been removed, upgraded and reinstalled.

    “The probes are inside the ring where we can’t see them,” Flay said. “So matching up their positions to get an accurate calibration between them is not an easy thing to do.”

    The team developed some innovative solutions to tackle this problem, including a barcode-style system inside the ring, which the trolley scans to relay where it is as it moves around.

    Global g-2

    Muon g-2 is an international collaboration hosted by Fermilab. Together with scientists from Fermilab, Argonne, and Brookhaven, several universities across the U.S. work with international collaborators from countries as wide-ranging as South Korea, Italy and the UK. In total, around 30 institutions and 150 people work on the experiment.

    “It’s the detailed efforts of the Argonne, University of Washington, University of Massachusetts and University of Michigan teams that have produced these reliable, quality tools that give us a complete picture of the magnetic field,” said Brendan Kiburg, Fermilab scientist working on Muon g-2. “It has taken years of meticulous work.”

    The team is working to finish the main field strength measurement part of the commissioning process by early 2018, before going on to analyze exactly how the muons experience the generated field. The experiment is planned to begin in full in February 2018.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

  • richardmitnick 1:58 pm on January 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino Program, FNAL, , , , , , , Short-Baseline Near Detector   

    From Symmetry “Sterile neutrino sleuths” 

    Symmetry Mag


    Tom Barratt
    Leah Poffenberger



    FNAL Short baseline neutrino detector

    Meet the detectors of Fermilab’s Short-Baseline Neutrino Program, hunting for signs of a possible fourth type of neutrino.

    Neutrinos are not a sociable bunch. Every second, trillions upon trillions of the tiny particles shoot down to Earth from space, but the vast majority don’t stop in to pay a visit—they continue on their journey, almost completely unaffected by any matter they come across.

    Their reluctance to hang around is what makes it such a challenge to study them. But the Short-Baseline Neutrino (SBN) Program at the US Department of Energy’s Fermilab is doing just that: further unraveling the mysteries of neutrinos with three vast detectors filled with ultrapure liquid argon.

    Argon is an inert substance normally found in the air around us—and, once isolated, an excellent medium for studying neutrinos. A neutrino colliding with an argon nucleus leaves behind a signature track and a spray of new particles such as electrons or photons, which can be picked up inside a detector.

    SBN uses three detectors along a straight line in the path of a specially designed neutrino source called the Booster Neutrino Beamline (BNB) at Fermilab. Scientists calculated the exact positions that would yield the most interesting and useful results from the experiment.

    The detectors study a property of neutrinos that scientists have known about for a while but do not have a complete grasp on: oscillations, the innate ability of neutrinos to change their form as they travel. Neutrinos come in three known types, or “flavors”: electron, muon and tau. But oscillations mean each of those types is interchangeable with the others, so a neutrino that begins life as a muon neutrino can naturally transform into an electron neutrino by the end of its journey.

    Some experiments, however, have come up with intriguing results that suggest there could be a fourth type of neutrino that interacts even less than the three types that have already been documented. An experiment at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1995 showed the first evidence that a fourth neutrino might exist. It was dubbed the “sterile” neutrino because it appears to be unaffected by anything other than gravity. In 2007, MiniBooNE, a previous experiment at Fermilab, showed possible hints of its existence, too, but neither experiment was powerful enough to say if their results definitively demonstrated the existence of a new type of neutrino.

    That’s why it’s crucial to have these three, more powerful detectors. Carefully comparing the findings from all three detectors should allow the best measurement yet of whether a sterile neutrino is lurking out of sight. And finding the sterile neutrino would be evidence of new, intriguing physics—something that doesn’t fit our current picture of the world.

    These three detectors are international endeavors, funded in part by DOE’s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the UK, CERN, the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) in Italy, the Swiss National Science Foundation and others. Each helps further develop the technologies, training and expertise needed to design, build and operate another experiment that has been under construction since July: the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). This international mega-scientific collaboration hosted by Fermilab will send neutrinos 800 miles from Illinois to the massive DUNE detectors, which will be installed a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in South Dakota.

    FNAL LBNF/DUNE from FNAL to SURF, Lead, South Dakota, USA

    FNAL DUNE Argon tank at SURF

    Surf-Dune/LBNF Caverns at Sanford

    SURF building in Lead SD USA

    Meet each of the SBN detectors below:

    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    Short-Baseline Near Detector

    Closest to the BNB source at just 110 meters, the Short-Baseline Near Detector (SBND) provides a benchmark for the whole experiment, studying the neutrinos just after they leave the source and before they have a chance to oscillate between flavors. Almost a cube shape, the detecting part of the SBND is four meters tall and wide, five meters long and weighs around 260 tons in total—with a 112-ton active liquid argon volume.

    With a CERN-designed state-of-the-art membrane design for its cooling cryostat—which keeps the argon in a liquid state—SBND is a pioneering detector in the field of neutrino research. It will test new technologies and techniques that will be used in later neutrino projects such as DUNE.

    Due to its proximity to the neutrino source, SBND will collect a colossal amount of interaction data. A secondary, long-term goal of SBND will be to work through this cache to precisely study the physics of these neutrino interactions and even to search for other signs of new physics.

    “After a few years of running, we will have recorded millions of neutrino interactions in SBND, which will be a treasure trove of data that we can use to make many measurements,” says David Schmitz, physicist at the University of Chicago and co-spokesperson for the experiment. “Studying these neutrino interactions in this particular type of detector will have long-term value, especially in the context of DUNE, which will use the same detection principles.”

    The SBND is well on its way to completion; its groundbreaking took place in April 2016 and its components are being built in Switzerland, the UK, Italy and at CERN.

    Detector name- SBND (Short-Baseline Near Detector)
    Dimensions- Almost cubic, 4x4x5m (5 meters in beam direction)
    Primary materials- Cryostat and structure made from stainless steel, with polyurethane thermal insulation
    Argon mass- 260 tons in total (112-ton active volume)
    Location- 110 meters from BNB source
    Construction status- Groundbreaking in April 2016, components currently being manufactured in universities and labs around the world
    What makes it unique- Uses membrane cryostat technology, modular TPC construction, and sophisticated electronics operated at cryogenic temperatures, like that which will be used in DUNE; will record millions of neutrino interactions per year

    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago


    The middle detector, MicroBooNE, was the first of the three detectors to come online. When it did so in 2015, it was the first detector ever to collect data on neutrino interactions in argon at the energies provided by the BNB. The detector sits 360 meters past SBND, nestled as close as possible to its predecessor, MiniBooNE. This proximity is on purpose: MicroBooNE, a more advanced detector, is designed to get a better look at the intriguing results from MiniBooNE.

    In all, MicroBooNE weighs 170 tons (with an active liquid argon volume of 89 tons), making it currently the largest operating neutrino detector in the United States of its kind—a Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber (LArTPC). That title will transfer to the far detector, ICARUS (see below), upon its installation in 2018.

    While following up on MiniBooNE’s anomaly, MicroBooNE has another important job: providing scientists at Fermilab with useful experience of operating a liquid argon detector, which contributes to the development of new technology for the next generation of experiments.

    “We’ve never in history had more than one liquid argon detector on any beamline, and that’s what makes the SBN Program exciting,” says Fermilab’s Sam Zeller, co-spokesperson for MicroBooNE. “It’s the first time we will have at least two detectors studying neutrino oscillations with liquid argon technology.”

    Techniques used to fill MicroBooNE with argon will pave the way for the gargantuan DUNE far detector in the future, which will hold more than 400 times as much liquid argon as MicroBooNE. Neutrino detectors rely on the liquid inside being extremely pure, and to achieve this goal, all the air normally has to be pumped out before liquid is put in. But MicroBooNE scientists used a different technique: They pumped argon gas into the detector—which pushed all the air out—and then cooled until it condensed into liquid. This new approach will eliminate the need to evacuate the air from DUNE’s six-story-tall detectors.

    Along with contributing to the next generation of detectors, MicroBooNE also contributes to training the next generation of neutrino scientists from around the world. Over half of the collaboration in charge of running MicroBooNE are students and postdocs who bring innovative ideas for analyzing its data.

    Detector name- MicroBooNE (Micro Booster Neutrino Experiment)
    Dimensions- Cylindrical shape (outer), inner TPC: 10.3m long x 2.3m tall x 2.5m wide
    Primary materials- Stainless steel cylinder containing argon vessel and detector elements (stabilized with front and rear supports), polyurethane foam insulation on outer surfaces
    Argon mass- 170 tons in total (89-ton active volume)
    Location- 470 meters from BNB source
    Construction status- Assembled at Fermilab 2012-13, installed in June 2014, has been operating since 2015
    What makes it unique- Used gas-pumped technique to fill with argon; more than half of operators are students or postdocs


    Artwork by Sandbox Studio, Chicago

    ICARUS (Imaging Cosmic And Rare Underground Signals)

    The largest of SBN’s detectors, ICARUS, is also the most distant from the neutrino source—600 meters down the line. Like SBND and MicroBooNE, ICARUS uses liquid argon as a neutrino detection technique, with over 700 tons of the dense liquid split between two symmetrical modules. These colossal tanks of liquid argon, together with excellent imaging capabilities, will allow extremely sensitive detections of neutrino interactions when the detector comes online at Fermilab in 2018.

    The positioning of ICARUS along the neutrino beamline is crucial to its mission. The detector will measure the proportion of both electron and muon neutrinos that collide with argon nuclei as the intense beam of neutrinos passes through it. By comparing this data with that from SBND, scientists will be able to see if the results match with those from previous experiments and explore whether they could be explained by the existence of a sterile neutrino.

    ICARUS, along with MicroBooNE, is also positioned on the Fermilab site close to another neutrino beam, called Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMI), which provides neutrinos for the existing experiments at Fermilab and in Minnesota. Unlike the main BNB beam, the NuMI beam will hit ICARUS at an angle through the detector. The goal will be to measure neutrino cross-sections—a measure of their interaction likelihood—rather than their oscillations. The energy of the NuMI beam is similar to that which will be used for DUNE, so ICARUS will provide excellent knowledge and experience to work out the kinks for the huge experiment.

    The detector’s journey has been a long one. From its groundbreaking development, construction and operation in Italy at INFN’s Gran Sasso Laboratory under the leadership of Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia, ICARUS traveled to CERN in Switzerland in 2014 for some renovation and upgrades. Equipped with new observing capabilities, it was then shipped across the Atlantic to Fermilab in 2017, where it is currently being installed in its future home. Scientists intend to begin taking data with ICARUS in 2018.

    “ICARUS unlocked the potential of liquid argon detectors, and now it’s becoming a crucial part of our research,” says Peter Wilson, head of Fermilab’s SBN program. “We’re excited to see the data coming out of our short-baseline neutrino detectors and apply the lessons we learn to better understand neutrinos with DUNE.”

    Detector name- ICARUS (Imaging Cosmic And Rare Underground Signals)
    Dimensions- Argon chamber split into two separate argon chambers, each 3.6m long, 3.9m high, 19.6m long
    Primary materials- Detector components held by low-carbon stainless-steel structure, inside cryostat made of aluminum, with thermal shielding layers of boiling nitrogen (to maintain cryostat temperature) and polyurethane thermal insulation
    Argon mass- 760 tons in total (476-ton active volume)
    Location- 600 meters from BNB source
    Construction status- Designed and built in the INFN lab in Pavia, Italy, from the late 1990s, then transferred to the INFN Underground Laboratory at Gran Sasso Laboratory, Italy, where it began operating in 2010. Traveled to CERN for refurbishment in 2014. Arrived at Fermilab in July 2017; currently under installation. Aims to start taking data in 2018.
    What makes it unique- Largest neutrino liquid argon TPC ever built


    See the full article here .

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    Symmetry is a joint Fermilab/SLAC publication.

  • richardmitnick 1:13 pm on January 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL, , , ,   

    From Science: “Renewed measurements of muon’s magnetism could open door to new physics” 

    Science Magazine

    Jan. 25, 2018
    Adrian Cho

    The magnetism of muons is measured as the short-lived particles circulate in a 700-ton ring. FNAL.

    Next week, physicists will pick up an old quest for new physics. A team of 190 researchers at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, will begin measuring to exquisite precision the magnetism of a fleeting particle called the muon. They hope to firm up tantalizing hints from an earlier incarnation of the experiment, which suggested that the particle is ever so slightly more magnetic than predicted by the prevailing standard model of particle physics. That would give researchers something they have desired for decades: proof of physics beyond the standard model.

    “Physics could use a little shot of love from nature right now,” says David Hertzog, a physicist at the University of Washington in Seattle and co-spokesperson for the experiment, which is known as Muon g-2 (pronounced “gee minus two”). Physicists are feeling increasingly stymied because the world’s biggest atom smasher, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) near Geneva, Switzerland, has yet to blast out particles beyond those in the standard model. However, g-2 could provide indirect evidence of particles too heavy to be produced by the LHC.

    The muon is a heavier, unstable cousin of the electron. Because it is charged, it will circle in a magnetic field. Each muon is also magnetized like a miniature bar magnet. Place a muon in a magnetic field perpendicular to the orientation of its magnetization, and its magnetic polarity will turn, or precess, just like a twirling compass needle.

    At first glance, theory predicts that in a magnetic field a muon’s magnetism should precess at the same rate as the particle itself circulates, so that if it starts out polarized in the direction it’s flying, it will remain locked that way throughout its orbit. Thanks to quantum uncertainty, however, the muon continually emits and reabsorbs other particles. That haze of particles popping in and out of existence increases the muon’s magnetism and make it precess slightly faster than it circulates.

    Because the muon can emit and reabsorb any particle, its magnetism tallies all possible particles—even new ones too massive for the LHC to make. Other charged particles could also sample this unseen zoo, says Aida El-Khadra, a theorist at the University of Illinois in Urbana. But, she adds, “The muon hits the sweet spot of being light enough to be long-lived and heavy enough to be sensitive to new physics.”

    From 1997 to 2001, researchers on the original g-2 experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, tested this promise by shooting the particles by the thousands into a ring-shaped vacuum chamber 45 meters in diameter, sandwiched between superconducting magnets.

    Over hundreds of microseconds, the positively charged muons decay into positrons, which tend to be spat out in the direction of the muons’ polarization. Physicists can track the muons’ precession by watching for positrons with detectors lining the edge of the ring.

    The g-2 team first reported a slight excess in the muon’s magnetism in 2001. That result quickly faded as theorists found a simple math mistake in the standard model prediction (Science, 21 December 2001, p. 2449). Still, by the time the team reported on the last of its Brookhaven data in 2004, the discrepancy had re-emerged. Since then, the result has grown, as theorists improved their standard model calculations. They had struggled to account for the process in which the muon emits and reabsorbs particles called hadrons, says Michel Davier, a theorist at the University of Paris-South in Orsay, France. By using data from electron-positron colliders, he says, the theorists managed to reduce this largest uncertainty.

    Physicists measure the strength of signals in multiples of the experimental uncertainty, σ, and the discrepancy now stands at 3.5 σ—short of the 5 σ needed to claim a discovery, but interesting enough to warrant trying again.

    In 2013, the g-2 team lugged the experiment on a 5000-kilometer odyssey from Brookhaven to Fermilab, taking the ring by barge around the U.S. eastern seaboard and up the Mississippi River. Since then, they have made the magnetic field three times more uniform, and at Fermilab, they can generate far purer muon beams. “It’s really a whole new experiment,” says Lee Roberts, a g-2 physicist at Boston University. “Everything is better.”

    Over 3 years, the team aims to collect 21 times more data than during its time at Brookhaven, Roberts says. By next year, Hertzog says, the team hopes to have enough data for a first result, which could push the discrepancy above 5 σ.

    Will the muon end up being a portal to new physics? JoAnne Hewett, a theorist at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Menlo Park, California, hesitates to wager. “In my physics lifetime, every 3-σ deviation from the standard model has gone away,” she says. “If it weren’t for that baggage, I’d be cautiously optimistic.”

    The magnetism of muons is measured as the short-lived particles circulate in a 700-ton ring.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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  • richardmitnick 4:21 pm on January 24, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , FNAL, ,   

    From Don Lincoln at Fermilab – Video – “What is relativity all about?” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    From Don Lincoln Video – “What is relativity all about?”

    Published on Jan 24, 2018
    Einstein’s theory of special relativity is one of the fascinating scientific advances of the 20th century. Fermilab’s Dr. Don Lincoln has decided to make a series of videos describing this amazing idea. In this video, he lays out what relativity is all about… what is the entire point. And it’s not what you think. It’s not about clocks moving slower and objects shrinking. It’s about… well, you’ll have to watch to see.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

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    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

  • richardmitnick 3:06 pm on January 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Fermilab delivers first cryomodule for ultrapowerful X-ray laser at SLAC, FNAL, ,   

    From FNAL: “Fermilab delivers first cryomodule for ultrapowerful X-ray laser at SLAC” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    January 19, 2018

    Science contact
    Rich Stanek

    Media contact
    Andre Salles, Fermilab Office of Communication,

    A Fermilab team built and tested the first new superconducting accelerator cryomodule for the LCLS-II project, which will be the nation’s only X-ray free-electron laser facility.

    The first cryomodule for SLAC’s LCLS-II X-ray laser departed Fermilab on Jan. 16. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    Earlier this week, scientists and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermilab in Illinois loaded one of the most advanced superconducting radio-frequency cryomodules ever created onto a truck and sent it heading west.

    Today, that cryomodule arrived at the U.S. DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California, where it will become the first of 37 powering a three-mile-long machine that will revolutionize atomic X-ray imaging. The modules are the product of many years of innovation in accelerator technology, and the first cryomodule Fermilab developed for this project set a world record in energy efficiency.

    These modules, when lined up end to end, will make up the bulk of the accelerator that will power a massive upgrade to the capabilities of the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC, a unique X-ray microscope that will use the brightest X-ray pulses ever made to provide unprecedented details of the atomic world. Fermilab will provide 22 of the cryomodules, with the rest built and tested at the U.S. DOE’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Virginia.

    The quality factor achieved in these components is unprecedented for superconducting radio-frequency cryomodules. The higher the quality factor, the lower the cryogenic load, and the more efficiently the cavity imparts energy to the particle beam. Fermilab’s record-setting cryomodule doubled the quality factor compared to the previous state-of-the-art.

    “LCLS-II represents an important technological step which demonstrates that we can build more efficient and more powerful accelerators,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “This is a major milestone for our accelerator program, for our productive collaboration with SLAC and Jefferson Lab and for the worldwide accelerator community.”

    Today’s arrival is merely the first. From now into 2019, the teams at Fermilab and Jefferson Lab will build the remaining cryomodules, including spares, and scrutinize them from top to bottom, sending them to SLAC only after they pass the rigorous review.

    “It’s safe to say that this is the most advanced machine of its type,” said Elvin Harms, a Fermilab accelerator physicist working on the project. “This upgrade will boost the power of LCLS, allowing it to deliver X-ray laser beams that are 10,000 times brighter than it can give us right now.”

    With short, ultrabright pulses that will arrive up to a million times per second, LCLS-II will further sharpen our view of how nature works at the smallest scales and help advance transformative technologies of the future, including novel electronics, life-saving drugs and innovative energy solutions. Hundreds of scientists use LCLS each year to catch a glimpse of nature’s fundamental processes.

    To meet the machine’s standards, each Fermilab-built cryomodule must be tested in nearly identical conditions as in the actual accelerator. Each large metal cylinder — up to 40 feet in length and 4 feet in diameter — contains accelerating cavities through which electrons zip at nearly the speed of light. But the cavities, made of superconducting metal, must be kept at a temperature of 2 Kelvin (minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit).

    Thirty-seven cryomodules lined end to end — half from Fermilab and half from Jefferson Lab — will make up the bulk of the LCLS-II accelerator. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    To achieve this, ultracold liquid helium flows through pipes in the cryomodule, and keeping that temperature steady is part of the testing process.

    “The difference between room temperature and a few Kelvin creates a problem, one that manifests as vibrations in the cryomodule,” said Genfa Wu, a Fermilab scientist working on LCLS-II. “And vibrations are bad for linear accelerator operation.”

    In initial tests of the prototype cryomodule, scientists found vibration levels that were higher than specification. To diagnose the problem, they used geophones — the same kind of equipment that can detect earthquakes — to rule out external vibration sources. They determined that the cause was inside the cryomodule and made a number of changes, including adjusting the path of the flow of liquid helium. The changes worked, substantially reducing vibration levels — to a 10th of what they were originally — and have been successfully applied to subsequent cryomodules.

    Fermilab scientists and engineers are also ensuring that unwanted magnetic fields in the cryomodule are kept to a minimum, since excessive magnetic fields reduce the operating efficiency.

    “At Fermilab, we are building this machine from head to toe,” Lockyer said. “From nanoengineering the cavity surface to the integration of thousands of complex components, we have come a long way to the successful delivery of LCLS-II’s first cryomodule.”

    Fermilab has tested seven cryomodules, plus one built and previously tested at Jefferson Lab, with great success. Each of those, along with the modules yet to be built and tested, will get its own cross-country trip in the months and years to come.

    Read more about the LCLS-II project in SLAC’s press release.

    This project is supported by DOE’s Office of Science. LCLS is a DOE Office of Science user facility.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

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    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

  • richardmitnick 3:18 pm on January 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FNAL, , , , White Rabbit technology   

    From FNAL: “Timing neutrinos with White Rabbit” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    January 17, 2018
    Tom Barratt

    From left: Donatella Torretta, William Badgett and Angela Fava fine tune the White Rabbit synchronization system for the Fermilab Short-Baseline Neutrino Program. Photo: Reidar Hahn

    Being on time is important – just ask Lewis Carroll’s leporine friend – and one group who knows this more than most are particle physicists, whose work revolves around keeping track of near-light speed blips of matter.

    As particle accelerators and experiments have become increasingly complex and choreographed over the decades, technology behind the scenes has had to innovate to keep up. One such example is White Rabbit, a clever timing and data transfer system that is playing a key role in modern particle physics.

    “We are always pushing our experiments to higher and higher precisions,” said Angela Fava, scientist on Fermilab’s ICARUS neutrino detector and part of the team exploring White Rabbit at Fermilab.


    White Rabbit is really useful because it can reach time precisions down to less than a billionth of a second.”

    What is White Rabbit?

    • It is a Ethernet based network for general

    purpose data transfer and sub-nanosecond
    accuracy synchronization of time signals over a
    large geographic system.

    • White Rabbit was developed at CERN, and is

    currently used there for precise timing of data

    • Not a “one size fits all”, and must be tailored

    for specific needs.

    Keeping time

    In modern particle accelerators, many separate components have to be activated in sequence in a timely manner to identify and track particles passing by at the speed of light. This requires very precise synchronization and timing systems to determine when these events should occur – an egg timer won’t cut it here.

    Until recently, this timing has usually been achieved with devices that are hard-wired into experimental equipment, such as the General Machine Timing (GMT) system at CERN. But GMT has limitations, including a low data bandwidth, the capacity to only send signals one way through the network, and an inability to self-calibrate — to internally calculate how long a signal has taken to travel — which results in timing errors.

    As experiments grow in complexity and require nanosecond coordination, physicists have been left with a need for a one-size-fits-all system that can provide the required time synchronization and still be compatible with systems from multiple sources and vendors that are already in place.

    The solution is White Rabbit, an open-source system that builds on common and accessible Ethernet technology – the same technology behind wired internet access. The system works kind of like an everyday computer network, too, with circuit boards called “nodes,” controlled by a specially written program.

    Up to around 1,000 nodes can be linked in one White Rabbit network, all connected together with a web of optical fibers – up to 10 kilometers long – to exchange information. As the technology develops, the system will likely be able to support even more nodes separated by greater distances.

    Since precise timing is so important in modern experiments, White Rabbit’s power comes in its ability to keep itself synchronized, no matter the cable length between nodes or other external factors. Even relatively small changes in cable temperature can affect travel time on the scale of nanoseconds, for example.

    A White Rabbit system works kind of like a hierarchy, where one of the nodes in a network is designated a “master” and is responsible for keeping all the other nodes in check. The external time is fed into the master from high-precision atomic oscillators via orbiting GPS satellites, the same technology on which Google Maps navigation is based.

    This exact time is digitally attached to blips of data – which, for example, include control instructions for accelerators – that constantly fly around the network. By sending the time tags back and forth between nodes, which GMT isn’t able to do, the system can calculate the time delays it takes for data to travel through cables and correct for them, keeping all the nodes in synchronization with the correct time and ensuring experimental events are kept coordinated.

    Fava and scientist Donatella Torretta, together with William Badgett at Fermilab, are currently working on installing White Rabbit into some of Fermilab’s experiments, including the Short-Baseline Neutrino (SBN) Program, which will study neutrinos – tiny, elusive particles. The first use of White Rabbit in North America, the system can be used to time-tag the neutrinos from their production at the beam source through to the detector at the end of the experiment.

    On the SBN ICARUS detector, White Rabbit can also be used to get an extremely accurate tagging of unwanted cosmic particles that come from space and get in the way of the experiment, potentially hiding the neutrino signatures.

    “It would be possible to run ICARUS without White Rabbit, but it’s lot easier if we use it,” said Fava. “And it’s all in real-time too, so it saves on our computing power and storage.”

    Open science

    White Rabbit was first conceived in around 2008 as an international collaboration between CERN, the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Germany, and other partners, and was introduced to boost the abilities of the Large Hadron Collider.

    From the beginning, the collaboration has made both the hardware and software for the timing system openly available to anyone around the world. The physical equipment can be purchased from commercial vendors, while the software is completely free and easily accessible online.

    “Everybody benefits when science is open,” said Torretta, who learned about White Rabbit at a demonstration workshop at CERN. “As the technology develops, it’s becoming more and more popular.”

    Torretta has since attended further workshops to learn more, including one recently in Barcelona, which was organized by White Rabbit experts from CERN.

    The CERN development team also took care to ensure the design was as general as possible, so as to allow a large range of practical applications for the technology, including outside of science. A group in the Netherlands has even used White Rabbit to transmit official time between Dutch cities with nanosecond accuracies.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

  • richardmitnick 3:59 pm on January 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , FNAL, ROC West   

    From FNAL- “Caught on camera: Dark Energy Survey’s independent discovery from ROC West” 

    FNAL II photo

    FNAL Art Image
    FNAL Art Image by Angela Gonzales

    Fermilab is an enduring source of strength for the US contribution to scientific research world wide.

    January 12, 2018
    Hannah Ward

    These two photos show two moments in time surrounding the merging of two neutron stars. In the left image, taken about one day after the merger, the optical afterglow of the resulting explosion is visible as a small star at roughly the 11 o’clock position on the outskirts of the galaxy NGC 4993. In the right image, taken about two weeks later, the optical afterglow has completed faded away. Images: Dark Energy Survey

    At this moment, it’s hard to imagine being one of the first people to see and photograph anything in our universe, but that’s what many members of the Dark Energy Survey (DES) strive to do.

    Dark Energy Survey

    Dark Energy Camera [DECam], built at FNAL

    NOAO/CTIO Victor M Blanco 4m Telescope which houses the DECam at Cerro Tololo, Chile, housing DECam at an altitude of 7200 feet

    The recent observation of the neutron star collision and merger on Aug. 17 was one such rare, momentous event, and one of the places it was first observed was right here in Fermilab’s Remote Operations Center-West (ROC West) by Fermilab scientists Douglas Tucker and Sahar Allam.

    Images from ROC West

    The DES gravitational-wave follow-up team, led by Brandeis University scientist Marcelle Soares-Santos, formerly at Fermilab, had only a few hours to prepare for the event, which was only visible for approximately an hour-and-a-half the night of the collision. Researchers at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) had detected the gravitational waves signaling the event the morning of Aug. 17 and notified other astronomy groups, including Fermilab’s DES team.

    VIRGO Gravitational Wave interferometer, near Pisa, Italy

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo Hanford, WA, USA installation

    Caltech/MIT Advanced aLigo detector installation Livingston, LA, USA

    Cornell SXS, the Simulating eXtreme Spacetimes (SXS) project

    Gravitational waves. Credit: MPI for Gravitational Physics/W.Benger-Zib

    ESA/eLISA the future of gravitational wave research

    Skymap showing how adding Virgo to LIGO helps in reducing the size of the source-likely region in the sky. (Credit: Giuseppe Greco (Virgo Urbino group)

    It was essential that the Fermilab team had everything in place for that critical 90 minutes. Each of the astronomy groups analyzed their photos, independently discovered the neutron star merger and confirmed the discovery within minutes of one another. Using photos from the Dark Energy Camera (DECam), DES was the second to independently discover the optical afterglow of the merger.

    The distance from Fermilab to Chile, where the DECam is located, along with the unscheduled nature of the gravitational-wave follow-ups, made it essential to develop ROC West as a remote operations location for DES. Computing added the necessary tools to remotely access and control the DECam from Fermilab.

    “Having ROC West as a remote DES station is a great accomplishment,” Allam said. “It has all the facilities and resources you need to connect to the work without struggling with laptops. Many smaller projects find it much more efficient to observe remotely.”

    Setting up the DES resources in ROC West required computing experts with myriad specialties. The Core Computing Division’s audio/video teleconferencing team installed a Polycom videoconferencing system; the Scientific Linux and Architecture Management Group set up Linux workstations; network architect Gregory Stonehocker added the necessary networking; scientist Liz Buckley-Geer was instrumental in setting up the consoles; and many others within the Core Computing, Neutrino, Particle Physics and Scientific Computing divisions contributed as well. Without these remote capabilities, Fermilab would not have been able to reach DECam in Chile fast enough to view such unscheduled transient events like this neutron star merger. Instead, the DECam would have to be staffed continuously by the DES gravitational-wave follow-up team — an expensive proposition for only a few hours of observation.

    Rather than worrying about logistics and staffing, the DES team used the time between the LIGO notification and the observation window to convert the broad sky area LIGO/Virgo reported into coordinates on the sky for the DECam to image in its search for the explosion. Capturing photos required more than a simple click of camera button. It was a feat of foresight, teamwork and experience. Preparation started months prior, in the spring of 2017. Fermilab scientist Jim Annis prepared algorithms well in advance. Without a good set of coordinates covering the full target area, DECam would be off, and, despite the camera’s large field of view, DES would miss the entire event. Annis also worked on the timing of the DECam observation to ensure the merger was observed at the ideal time based on the sun and weather conditions.

    Once the sun set in Chile that fateful night, Tucker and Allam logged in to the remote console that allowed them to control DECam and start the observation software. The images were processed in parallel on FermiGrid and the Open Science Grid. The high-throughput processing engineered by scientific computing specialist Ken Herner ensured the large, high-resolution photos were quickly processed and ready for analysis so the DES team could quickly discover the neutron star merger.

    “It was very exciting,” Tucker said. “We were honored to be among the first to see something like this happen. We are looking forward to analyzing the data and learning more.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    FNAL Icon

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. Fermilab is America’s premier laboratory for particle physics and accelerator research, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Thousands of scientists from universities and laboratories around the world
    collaborate at Fermilab on experiments at the frontiers of discovery.

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