Thursday, February 4, 2010

From our awesome Physics class!

From our awesome Physics class! - Oct 13 1:13PM
5 Posts
Hello Dr. Syphers! Anyways we are interested in hearing more about your job and if you could please explain in more details what the accelarator is for. What is a typical day at the Fermilab? What other areas do you dabble in? 

p.s. any chance you can help us with a project we have?

Anyway, the accelerator at Fermilab is used to smash particles together to see what happens in an attempt to understand the most basic building blocks of matter and energy, and to learn more about how the universe works. You can see much more about it at:
Typically my day consists of many meetings, some work in our Control Room (where we run the accelerators) and sometimes I'm lucky and get to do some calculations and studies using the accelerators. Besides particle acceleration, I also like to study astrophysics; it was astronomy that really got me interested in science at at young age.

p.s. -- when you say "help us with a project," exactly what did you have in mind?

Oct 14 2:26PM - Re: Re: Re: Introduction
5 Posts

 Our High School is also very small and we're lucky their has not been a situation like that in our school. 

 How is it like interacting with your students that choose to work at Fermilab with you? What are they able to do sense they have yet to graduate from collage? Is it like an internship for the students?

 Thank you for at the least, the link about dark matter. It's helpful but also lead to more questions about Fermilab. What is your position there, and do you have any involvement with cryogenics?

-BHS honors class


I have worked with college students, graduate school students, and even some high school students here at our laboratory. In general, the high school students have had "internships" where they visited here for a day every week or two during the school year (2 or 3 have done that with me over the years) or else they worked here over the summer for several weeks (5-10 students have worked with me that way). Obviously, they were from a local high school within easy driving distance to the lab. The college students (3 or 4) have been here for summer internships in-between school years. Graduate students are typically working on their PhD degrees, and are usually here full-time by the time they work with me. I've had about 4 of those students overall.

We can usually find some interesting work for students to do, from helping to build apparatus for an experiment, or do computer programming, or using existing programs to help sift through data, make plots, etc. We had a series of students over the past few summers work here helping to locate "gravitational lenses" in photographs taken with a large telescope in New Mexico that Fermilab helped to build.

My position is "Scientist" at Fermilab, and I mostly work on large particle accelerators -- their design, construction, operation, fine-tuning. Our largest accelerator -- the Tevatron -- is made up of electromagnets that have superconducting coils. These coils are cooled to cryogenic temperatures -- 4 degrees above Absolute Zero! -- where they lose all of their electrical resistance and hence operate with essentially no power loss. So, I don' myself do any cryogenic engineering, but I do use cryogenic equipment a lot.


No comments: