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In this issue:
SLAC to Leverage Accelerator Expertise for Project X
Badging Office Will Close for Move
Symetry Explains It in 60 Seconds: Neutrino

SLAC Today

Thursday - February 24, 2011

SLAC to Leverage Accelerator Expertise for Project X

(Photo - Fermilab from the air)
Located 45 miles west of Chicago, Fermilab's particle accelerator complex provides beam to particle physics experiments, test facilities and a cancer treatment center. The proposed Project X would replace the 40-year-old linear accelerator and booster ring. (Photo: Fred Ullrich, Fermilab.)

This month, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory officially received a funding package of $400,000 from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory for research and development on a radio-frequency power system for the proposed proton accelerator, Project X, at Fermilab. The project will benefit greatly from SLAC's current expertise, while the opportunity to do R&D in new accelerator technologies will help SLAC maintain its position at the leading edge of accelerator research.

"We're a world leader in RF systems and this is one of our core competencies," said SLAC Accelerator Physicist Chris Adolphsen, who is leading part of the work funded by the new package. "This effort is one way to continue developing our expertise. We're kind of the go-to guys for RF systems, and we want to keep it that way."

The Project X facility would fuel two experiments: a high-intensity neutrino beam traveling more than 800 miles to a detector at the proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory, and a proton beam that will support rare-decay experiments. Fermilab has officially formed the Project X Collaboration and has plans to apply for the first major step for any Department of Energy project, Critical Decision 0, to establish the scientific case to move the project forward.  Read more...

Badging Office Will Close for Move

Tomorrow, Friday, February 25, the SLAC Badging Office will close at 11 a.m. in preparation for moving into the new Security Building near SLAC's Main Gate. It will reopen Monday, February 28, at 11 a.m. in the new location. Stay tuned for more details on the new Security Building in SLAC Today over the coming days.

Symetry Explains It in 60 Seconds: Neutrino

(Image - banana)
(Image: Sandbox Studio.)

The neutrino is perhaps the best-named particle around: it is tiny, neutral, and weighs so little that no one has been able to measure its mass yet.

Neutrinos are among the most abundant particles in the universe; there are 700 million of them for every proton. Every time atomic nuclei come together (as in the sun) or break apart (as in a nuclear reactor) they produce neutrinos. Even a banana emits neutrinos, which come from the natural radioactivity of the potassium in the fruit. Without neutrinos, the sun wouldn't shine and we wouldn't have elements heavier than hydrogen.

Once produced, these ghostly particles almost never interact with other matter. Tens of trillions of neutrinos from the sun stream through your body every second, day and night, but you can't feel them.

Theorists predicted the neutrino's existence in 1930, but it took experimenters 26 years to discover it. Today, with theories about the nature of the neutrino abounding and often in conflict, experimenters are trying to determine the particle's mass, how it interacts with matter, and whether the neutrino is its own antiparticle. Some think neutrinos might be the reason all the antimatter disappeared after the big bang, leaving us in a universe of matter.

So if we want to understand the universe we'd better understand the neutrino.




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