Director's Corner

Investing in particle physics

by Barry Barish

Happy New Year! This is my first column of 2011 and I am very pleased to begin the year by reporting on the significant new investment in particle physics by the Italian government. The Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research has announced the funding of the proposed €400-million Super B project of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN). The present plan is to site the machine at or near the Frascati Laboratory and to reuse magnets and other apparatuses from the PEP-II accelerator and the BABAR detector at SLAC in the US, both keeping costs down and enabling a rapid construction schedule, perhaps as short as five years.


A new generation of undulator magnets

by Leah Hesla

Lately, scientific communities are in need of higher-energy light particles.

To do this, scientists are extending the existing technology of undulator magnets, or undulators. The device uses magnets to wiggle a particle beam into giving up light, which can then be used for a whole host of scientific applications.

Around the World

From symmetrybreaking: Tevatron to shut down at end of FY2011


Today we received the news that we will not receive funding for the proposed Tevatron extension and consequently the Tevatron will close at the end of FY2011 as was previously planned. The present budgetary climate did not permit DOE to secure the additional funds needed to run the Tevatron for three more years as recommended by the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel.

Image of the week

Winter wonder lab

Image: Reidar Hahn

It’s been a snowy winter in the Chicago, Illinois area. A Fermilab cooling pond has begun icing over. Wilson Hall stands in the background.

In the News

  • From Nature News 11 January 2011 Tevatron faces final curtain Depending on who you talk to, it is either a disappointing blow or a clean break heralding an exciting new era. After much debate, officials at the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science revealed this week that they have decided not to extend funding for the Tevatron, the proton–antiproton collider at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, by an additional three years.
  • From BBC News 11 January 2011 Antimatter caught streaming from thunderstorms on Earth A space telescope has accidentally spotted thunderstorms on Earth producing beams of antimatter.
  • From Scientific American 6 January 2011 New Subatomic Particle Could Help Explain the Mystery of Dark Matter …Sterile neutrinos don’t even interact with ordinary matter via the weak force, the ephemeral hook that connects neutrinos to the everyday world. Recently, however, new experiments have revealed tantalizing evidence that sterile neutrinos are not only real but common.