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Friday, April 13, 2007

We Are Downrange!

Of a blast of Neutrinos!

Fermilab Experiment To Beam Neutrinos Through Dairyland

In an effort to pin down the elusive nature and qualities of one of nature's most intriguing subatomic particles - the neutrino - scientists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, or Fermilab, in Illinois will soon send a beam of the ghostlike particles coursing through subterranean Wisconsin to a detector deep in a mine in northern Minnesota.
Science Daily – Fermilab Experiment To Beam Neutrinos Through Dairyland
Hehehe, it seems like the blast of neutrinos will divide the state from the southeast to the northwest and then enter Minnesota!

There are a number of neutrino observatories scattered throughout the world. Usually deep in old salt mines shielded from the various other forms of radiation and particles. In 1987 there was a supernova and the people manning the neutrino observatories noted a spike in neutrino observations just prior to the visible light sighting of the supernova.

Ahhh, back then I dreamed of being a high energy physics researcher or cosmologist and spending time working in these environments.

The neutrino beam, which is directed in a manner similar to a beam of light produced by a flashlight, is aimed downward at a 3.3-degree angle toward the detector, known as the Soudan Underground Laboratory, 450 miles northwest of Batavia.

Although the beam will course through the earth beneath Wisconsin, it will be unnoticeable, little different from the neutrinos that exist in nature and are constantly bombarding the earth.
Source: ibid.
Of course, 911-truther types will notice the beam and what it does to their fertility. They will have to gird their loins in tin foil.

I toured Fermilab. The physics club put on a trip, the night before... I will not go into lest I provide blackmail material but the day of we stopped at Dick's Supermarket. The chaperone & driver yelled to me as I was making an ATM run "Hey, get some beer", I thought, ha-ha! Well anyway I am back in the van and here comes the 4.0 gpa math-physics-chemistry major with two twelvers (it was his birthday) of I can not recall. It was a very cold day and we all marveled at the sundogs and grumbled at the one prof who was a chain smoker and would open the window constantly to let the smoke & warmth out.

We got to Fermilab and took our tour. I tell you, very few things have impressed me as much as that facility. I remember one area a data-collection system that looked like it was three floors of computers just for one observatory. The size of the facility and equipment was awe inspiring. The biggest wonder in my mind was how does one separate actual data, artifacts, bugs, and defects? That is, how can you be sure what you are observing is the result of the experimental run and not a flash from the sun (or a distant supernova)?

Anyway, we all piled in the van and I sat in back with the birthday scholar and phhhttt-phhhhtttt! Then the birthday scholar and I went to the bars afterwards and then back to my abode for some nightcaps. Last I heard that scholar was in Stoughton doing material science research for IBM trying to etch silicon chips with x-rays instead of ultra-violet.

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