fermi national accelerator laboratory

NSF’s Science360 Photo of the Week

Muon magnet’s moment has arrived

What do you get when you revive a beautiful 20-year-old physics machine, carefully transport it 3,200 miles over land and sea to its new home and then use it to probe strange happenings in a magnetic field? Hopefully you get new insights into the elementary particles that make up everything. The Muon g-2 experiment, located at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, has begun its quest for those insights. On May 31, the 50-foot-wide superconducting electromagnet at the center of the experiment saw its first beam of muon particles from Fermilab’s accelerators, kicking off a three-year effort to measure just what happens to those particles when placed in a stunningly precise magnetic field. The answer could rewrite scientists’ picture of the universe and how it works. Image credit: Fermilab

Black Inventors Day 2

Shirley Ann Jackson - Dr. Shirley Jackson was the first black female to receive a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the first black female president of a major technological institute (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). However, she also has a staggering list of inventions to her credit. Her experiments with theoretical physics are responsible for many telecommunications developments including the touch tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber optic cables that make overseas phone calls crystal clear.

As a postdoctoral researcher of subatomic particles during the 1970s, Jackson studied and conducted research at a number of prestigious physics laboratories in both the United States and Europe. Her first position was as research associate at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois (known as Fermilab) where she studied hadrons. In 1974 she became visiting scientist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. There she explored theories of strongly interacting elementary particles. In 1976 and 1977, she both lectured in physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and became a visiting scientist at the Aspen Center for Physics.

At one time her research focused on Landau–Ginsburg theories of charge density waves in layered compounds, and has studied two-dimensional Yang-Mills gauge theories and neutrino reactions.

Jackson joined the Theoretical Physics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1976, examining the fundamental properties of various materials. In 1978, Jackson became part of the Scattering and Low Energy Physics Research Department, and in 1988 she moved to the Solid State and Quantum Physics Research Department. At Bell Labs, Jackson researched the optical and electronic properties of two-dimensional and quasi-two dimensional systems. In her research, Jackson has made contributions to the knowledge of charged density waves in layered compounds, polaronic aspects of electrons in the surface of liquid helium films, and optical and electronic properties of semiconductor strained-layer superlattices. On these topics and others she has prepared or collaborated on over 100 scientific articles.

2

Two Amazing Pioneering Black Women Who Made Great Contributions In the Scientific Field of Physics

Willie Hobbs Moore (1934-1994)- (pictured above) was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics.

A native of Atlantic City, New Jersey, Moore moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1952 to attend the University of Michigan. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1958 and her master’s degree in 1961.[2] While working toward her doctoral degree, she also held positions at technology firms in Ann Arbor including KMS Industries and Datamax Corporation.[3] She also held engineering positions at Bendix Aerospace Systems, Barnes Engineering, and Sensor Dynamics, where she was responsible for the theoretical analysis.[4] Moore completed her thesis, A Vibrational Analysis of Secondary Chlorides, under the supervision of Samuel Krimm at the University of Michigan in 1972.[5] This work was applicable to important questions in the vibrational study of macromolecules.[1]

After receiving her doctorate, Moore worked at the University of Michigan as a research scientist until 1977, continuing spectroscopic work on proteins. In the five years following her dissertation, she published more than thirty papers with Krimm and collaborators.[5] She was hired by Ford Motor Company in 1977 as an assembly engineer.[6] Moore expanded Ford’s use of Japanese engineering and manufacturing methods in the 1980s.[7][8] In 1991, Ebony magazine named Moore as one of their 100 “most promising black women in corporate America.”

Moore was a tutor, a member of Links Inc., a member of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the chairwoman of the Juanita D. Woods Scholarship Fund. She was married to Sidney L. Moore, who taught at the University of Michigan’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, for thirty years. They had two children Dr. Dorian Moore, MD. and Christopher Hobbs Moore, RN. Willie also had three grandchildren Sydney Padgett, William Hobbs Moore, and C. Jackson Moore [3]

Moore died of cancer in 1994.

Source: Wikipedia

Shirley Ann Jackson (August 5, 1946)- (pictured below Mrs. Moore) is an American physicist and the eighteenth president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She received herPh.D. in nuclear physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1973, becoming the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT

Jackson was born in Washington D.C. Her parents, Beatrice and George Jackson, strongly valued education and encouraged her in school.[5] Her father spurred on her interest in science by helping her with projects for her science classes. At Roosevelt High School, Jackson attended accelerated programs in both math and science and graduated in 1964 as valedictorian. [5]

Jackson began classes at MIT in 1964, one of fewer than twenty African American students and the only one studying theoretical physics. While a student she did volunteer work at Boston City Hospital and tutored students at the Roxbury YMCA.[5] She earned her bachelor’s degree in 1968, writing her thesis on solid-state physics.

Jackson elected to stay at MIT for her doctoral work, in part to encourage more African-American students to attend the institution.[5] She worked on elementary particle theory for her Ph.D., which she completed in 1973, the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate degree from MIT. Her research was directed by James Young.[5] Jackson was also the second African-American woman in the United States to earn a doctorate in physics

As a postdoctoral researcher of subatomic particles during the 1970s, Jackson studied and conducted research at a number of prestigious physics laboratories in both the United States and Europe. Her first position was as a research associate at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois (known as Fermilab) where she studied hadrons. In 1974, she became visiting scientist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. There she explored theories of strongly interacting elementary particles. In 1976 and 1977, she both lectured in physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and became a visiting scientist at the Aspen Center for Physics.

At one time her research focused on Landau–Ginsburg theories of charge density waves in layered compounds, and has studied two-dimensional Yang-Mills gauge theories and neutrino reactions.

Jackson has described her interests:

I am interested in the electronic, optical, magnetic, and transport properties of novel semiconductor systems. Of special interest are the behavior of magnetic polarons in semimagnetic and dilute magnetic semiconductors, and the optical response properties of semiconductor quantum wells and superlattices. My interests also include quantum dots, mesoscopic systems, and the role of antiferromagnetic fluctuations in correlated 2D electron systems.[5]

Jackson joined the Theoretical Physics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1976, examining the fundamental properties of various materials. She began her time at Bell Labs by studying materials to be used in the semiconductor industry.[7] In 1978, Jackson became part of the Scattering and Low Energy Physics Research Department, and in 1988 she moved to the Solid State and Quantum Physics Research Department. At Bell Labs, Jackson researched the optical and electronic properties of two-dimensional and quasi-two-dimensional systems. In her research, Jackson has made contributions to the knowledge of charged density waves in layered compounds, polaronic aspects of electrons in the surface of liquid helium films, and optical and electronic properties of semiconductor strained-layer superlattices. On these topics and others, she has prepared or collaborated on over 100 scientific articles.[5]

Jackson served on the faculty at Rutgers University in Piscataway and New Brunswick, New Jersey from 1991 to 1995, in addition to continuing to consult with Bell Labs on semiconductor theory. Her research during this time focused on the electronic and optical properties of two-dimensional systems.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton appointed Jackson to serve as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), becoming the first woman and first African-American to hold that position.[4] At the NRC, she had “ultimate authority for all NRC functions pertaining to an emergency involving an NRC licensee.

On July 1st, 1999, Jackson became the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She was the first woman and first African-American to hold this position. Since her appointment to president of RPI, Jackson has helped raise over $1 billion in donations for philanthropic causes.[8] Jackson is leading a strategic initiative called The Rensselaer Plan and much progress has been made towards achieving the Plan’s goals. She has overseen a large capital improvement campaign, including the construction of an Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center and the East Campus Athletic Village. She enjoys the ongoing support of the RPI Board of Trustees. On April 26, 2006, the faculty of RPI (including a number of retirees) voted 155 to 149 against a vote of no-confidence in Jackson.[9] In the Fall of 2007, the Rensselaer Board of Trustees suspended the faculty senate, thus prompting a strong reaction from the Rensselaer community that resulted in various protests including a "teach-in”.[10][11]

Since arriving at RPI, Jackson has been one of the highest-paid university presidents in the nation.[12] Her combined salary and benefits have expanded from $423,150 in 1999-2000 to over $1.3 million in 2006-07 and to $2.34 million in 2010.[13][14] In 2011 Jackson’s salary was $1.75 million.[15] In 2006-07, it is estimated she received another $1.3 million from board seats at several major corporations.[13] The announcement of layoffs at RPI in Decembe 2008 led some in the RPI community to question whether the institute should continue to compensate Jackson at this level, maintain a $450,000 Adirondack residence for her, and continue to support a personal staff of housekeepers, bodyguards and other aides.[13] In July 2009, the news reported on the construction of a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) mountain-top home in Bolton, New York, overlooking Lake George. A water-quality activist raised concerns about possible environmental hazards from the construction of a driveway, but according to Department of Environmental Conservation officials, the work was in compliance.[16]

In its 2009 review of the decade 1999-2009, McClatchy Newspapers reported Jackson as the highest-paid currently sitting college president in the U.S., with a 2008 salary of approximately $1.6 million.[17] On December 4–5, 2009 Jackson celebrated her 10th year at RPI with an extravagant “Celebration Weekend”, which featured tribute concerts by Aretha Franklin and Joshua Bell among other events.[18][19] Following the weekend, the Board of Trustees announced they would support construction of a new guest house on Jackson’s property, for the purpose of “[enabling] the president to receive and entertain, appropriately, Rensselaer constituents, donors, and other high-level visitors”.[20] It was later reported that Jackson’s current house on Tibbits Avenue has 4,884 square feet (453.7 m2) of space, seven bedrooms and five bathrooms, and an estimated value of $1,122,500.[21] The trustees said that “the funds for this new project would not have been available for any other purpose”.[20] William Walker, the school’s vice president of strategic communications and external relations noted, “The board sees this very much as a long-term investment … for President Jackson and her successors.”[21] On February 2, 2010, the Troy Zoning Board of Appeals denied RPI’s request for a zoning variance allowing them to construct the new house at a height of 44 feet (13 m), which would exceed the 25-foot (7.6 m) height restriction on buildings in residential areas. The Zoning Board stated that it is “too big”, and two firefighters believed the property would be difficult to access with emergency vehicles.[22] A new plan was announced on February 25, describing how the president’s house will be replaced with a new two-story house.[23] The new house will have “9,600 square feet of livable space, divided approximately equally between living space for the president’s family and rooms for the president to conduct meetings and events”.[24] In June 2010, it was discovered that the newest plans for the house showed a new size of 19,500 square feet (1,810 m2), causing the city of Troy to issue a stop-work order until additional building fees were paid.[25] Jackson’s development and implementation of the Rensselaer Plan enabled her to secure a $360 million unrestricted gift commitment to the university.[26]

In June 2010, it was announced that the Rensselaer Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend Jackson a ten-year contract renewal, which she accepted.[27] Shirley Ann Jackson’s compensation ranked 1st among USA private university presidents in 2014.

Jackson has received many fellowships, including the Martin Marietta Aircraft Company Scholarship and Fellowship, the Prince Hall Masons Scholarship, the National Science Foundation Traineeship, and a Ford Foundation Advanced Study Fellowship. She has been elected to numerous special societies, including the American Physical Society and American Philosophical Society.[29]

Her achievements in science and education have been recognized with multiple awards, including the CIBA-GEIGY Exceptional Black Scientist Award. In the early 1990s, Governor James Florio awarded her the Thomas Alva Edison Science Award for her contributions to physics and for the promotion of science. In 2001, she received the Richtmyer Memorial Award given annually by the American Association of Physics Teachers. She has also received many honorary doctorate degrees.[30]

She was inducted into National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998 for “her significant contributions as a distinguished scientist and advocate for education, science, and public policy”.[citation needed]

Jackson has also been active in professional associations and in serving society through public scientific commissions. In 1985, Governor Thomas Kean appointed her to the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology. She is an active voice in numerous committees of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Science Foundation. Her continuing aim has been to preserve and strengthen the U.S. national capacity for innovation by increasing support for basic research in science and engineering. This is done in part by attracting talent from abroad and by expanding the domestic talent pool by attracting women and members of under-represented groups into careers in science. In 2004, she became president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and chaired the AAAS board in 2005.

In spring 2007, she was awarded the Vannevar Bush Award for “a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy”.[31]

Jackson continues to be involved in politics and public policy. In 2008, she became the University Vice Chairman of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, a not-for-profit group based in Washington, D.C. In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Jackson to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a 20-member advisory group dedicated to public policy.[32]

She was appointed an International Fellow[2] of the Royal Academy of Engineering[2] in 2012.

Jackson serves on the boards of directors of many organizations:[3]

Shirley Jackson is married to Morris A. Washington, a physics professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and has one son, Alan, a Dartmouth College alumnus.

Source: Wikipedia

Spotted: A bison calf at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

Like physicists, the bison have been described as “cantankerous” by those who have tried to herd them. A double fence around the Fermilab pasture protects the buffalo and the public from each other. Advice from an experienced hand: “Don’t turn your back on a buffalo.”

Fermilab’s first director, Robert Wilson, established the bison herd in 1969 as a symbol of the history of the Midwestern prairie and the laboratory’s pioneering research at the frontiers of particle physics. The herd remains a major attraction for families and wildlife enthusiasts.

Photography by Maureen Searcy

Scientists complete the top quark puzzle

Scientists on the CDF and DZero experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have announced that they have found the final predicted way of creating a top quark, completing a picture of this particle nearly 20 years in the making.

The two collaborations jointly announced on Friday, Feb. 21 that they had observed one of the rarest methods of producing the elementary particle – creating a single top quark through the weak nuclear force, in what is called the “s-channel.” For this analysis, scientists from the CDF and DZero collaborations sifted through data from more than 500 trillion proton-antiproton collisions produced by the Tevatron from 2001 to 2011. They identified about 40 particle collisions in which the weak nuclear force produced single top quarks in conjunction with single bottom quarks.

Top quarks are the heaviest and among the most puzzling elementary particles. They weigh even more than the Higgs boson – as much as an atom of gold – and only two machines have ever produced them: Fermilab’s Tevatron and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. There are several ways to produce them, as predicted by the theoretical framework known as the Standard Model, and the most common one was the first one discovered: a collision in which the strong nuclear force creates a pair consisting of a top quark and its antimatter cousin, the anti-top quark.

Collisions that produce a single top quark through the weak nuclear force are rarer, and the process scientists on the Tevatron experiments have just announced is the most challenging of these to detect. This method of producing single top quarks is among the rarest interactions allowed by the laws of physics. The detection of this process was one of the ultimate goals of the Tevatron, which for 25 years was the most powerful particle collider in the world.

“This is an important discovery that provides a valuable addition to the picture of the Standard Model universe,” said James Siegrist, DOE Associate Director of Science for High Energy Physics. “It completes a portrait of one of the fundamental particles of our universe, by showing us one of the rarest ways to create them.”

Searching for single top quarks is like looking for a needle in billions of haystacks. Only one in every 50 billion Tevatron collisions produced a single s-channel top quark, and the CDF and DZero collaborations only selected a small fraction of those to separate them from background, which is why the number of observed occurrences of this particular channel is so small. However, the statistical significance of the CDF and DZero data exceeds that required to claim a discovery.

“Kudos to the CDF and DZero collaborations for their work in discovering this process,” said Saul Gonzalez, program director for the National Science Foundation. “Researchers from around the world, including dozens of universities in the United States, contributed to this important find.”

The CDF and DZero experiments first observed particle collisions that created single top quarks through a different process of the weak nuclear force in 2009. This observation was later confirmed by scientists using the Large Hadron Collider.

Scientists from 27 countries collaborated on the Tevatron CDF and DZero experiments and continue to study the reams of data produced during the collider’s run, using ever more sophisticated techniques and computing methods.

“I’m pleased that the CDF and DZero collaborations have brought their study of the top quark full circle,” said Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer. “The legacy of the Tevatron is indelible, and this discovery only makes the breadth of that research even more remarkable.”

IMAGE….This diagram shows the process for creating single top quarks through the s-channel. A quark from an incoming proton interacts in the Tevatron with an antiquark from an incoming antiproton, forming a W boson with much greater mass. This W boson then decays into a top quark and an antibottom quark, which can be seen in the CDF and DZero detectors. Credit: Fermilab

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My feet were in some cool spots last week: 

  1. A superconducting radio-frequency cavity test center
  2. The line that marks out a future high-energy x-ray beamline
  3. The crazy 70s-esque foyer of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
  4. A mine 300 feet beneath the earth where neutrinos are created and measured

Melissa Franklin

(born 1956) Experimental particle physicist

Melissa Eve Bronwen Franklin is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University. While working at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago, her team is credited for the first evidence of the top quark. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and former chair of the Harvard Physics department. 

Number 143 in an ongoing series celebrating remarkable women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

This is a 2011 photo posted by Fermilab of the Department of Energy’s COUPP dark matter experiment, which is designed to detect the mysterious stuff that is thought to make up a large part of the universe’s mass. Dark matter rarely interacts with our sensible world, neither emitting nor absorbing radiation.

That’s why scientists searching for it put this detector a mile and a half underground. At the experiment’s heart is a jar filled with water and an ingredient found in fire extinguishers. A Fermilab statement says the mixture is kept under pressure at just above the boiling point so that no bubbles form. When an energetic particle passes through the jar, it interacts with an atom of the liquid mixture and release enough energy to form a bubble.

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