NPL News Now

September 6, 2018
News from former & current NPL graduate students

Dr. En-Chuan Huang, who received his Ph.D from UIUC in 2016 on the Daya Bay Neutrino Oscillation Experiment, gave an invited talk at the Neutrino 2018 Conference announcing the observation of low-energy excess at a 4.8 standard deviation from his analysis of the MiniBooNE data. This result was one of the highlights at Neutrino 2018 Conference. En-Chuan was then invited to give a “Wine and Cheese” seminar at Fermilab in July 2018. This is the second time that he was invited to give the prestigious Fermilab “Wine and Cheese” seminar during a period of two years. The first one was on his Ph.D work on the Daya Bay experiment. En-Chuan is currently a postdoc at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Dr. Pinghan Chu, who received his Ph.D from UIUC in 2012 on the “Dressed-Spin” effect for the neutron EDM experiment, was recently promoted to the position of Staff Member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Dr. Chu recently received the Los Alamos LDRD support for his new proposal to search for Axion, one of the leading candidates for the Dark Matter which remains to be discovered.

Dr. Evan McCllelan, who received his Ph.D degree from UIUC in 2016 on the Fermilab SeaQuest experiment, recently gave an invited talk at the Photonuclear Gordon Research Conference reporting the latest results from the MARATHON experiment. He is currently a postdoc at the Jefferson Laboratory. Ms Shivangi Prasad, a current UIUC graduate student, also presented an invited talk at this Conference on the latest result from the SeaQuest experiment.

October 16, 2018
Pioneer in calculations of few-to-many-body systems passes

Steven C. Pieper, a pioneer in calculations of few-to-many-body systems, passed away last week. Dr. Pieper received his Ph.D. in nuclear theory from UIUC in 1970 after receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Case Western, he moved to Argonne where he worked for over 50 years. In the early 1980s he began a collaboration with Vijay Pandharipande and Bob Wiringa—the Urbana-Argonne collaboration—undertaking nothing less than detailed, first principles structural calculations of the largest nuclei possible—now heading up into the oxygen region. This required making advantageous use of the high performance computing resources available at Argonne and elsewhere, Dr. Pieper’s long-time forte, work that continues to this day. Among many contributions, these calculations helped us to understand the neutron halo nuclei helium-6 and helium-8 and is currently being applied to calculate electromagnetic and weak interaction responses necessary to interpret measurements in the search for sterile neutrinos. Bob and Steve shared the 2010 APS DNP Bonner Memorial prize for this work.

September 6, 2018
Early Accelerator Builders at the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has had a distinguished record in developing accelerators for both nuclear/particle physics experiments as well as for the many applications thereof outside of subatomic physics per-se. Donald Kerst built the world’s first betatron here in 1941, but, 5 years earlier Gerald Kruger and his students built the world’s third cyclotron and the first outside of Berkeley. The Department’s historian, Celia Elliott, has put together a terrific article from the archives outlining these developments and the people who made them possible.

August 20, 2018
CCD, LSI and CC Funding Outlook

Last week the nEDM collaboration met in Washington with our review committee and representatives of the NSF and DOE to assess the status of our experiment following the “Critical Component Demonstration” (CCD) phase of development. The next phases of the experiment will involve both building up the subsystems from the components we have prototyped in CCD, called “Large Subsystem Integration” (LSI), as well as procurement of the “Conventional Components” (CC), such as the experimental hall, the neutron beamline, the magnetic shield and the cryogenic plant, needed for the operation of the experiment. We received a strong, positive response from the review committee with encouragement to try to complete the fabrication as soon as possible. We have now been funded by both agencies for the coming years; in particular, NSF is putting the finishing touches on support of our helium-3 services subsystem (Illinois) and the magnetic systems (Caltech). In total, NSF will provide $7.7M ($4.4M to Illinois) over the next 5 years to complete these two subsystems, including the magnetic shield. The total NSF equipment support for these two subsystems, including CCD, LSI and CC totals over $13M, significantly in excess of the $11M we agreed on at the outset of the project. We are very grateful to NSF for their increased contribution. Congratulations to everyone in the collaboration, and, in particular, to everyone in Urbana who helped make this possible: grad students Tom Rao, Sarvagya Sharma and Blake Erickson together with numerous undergrads, technicians John Blackburn, Lucas Hsu, Peter Sobel and Eric Thorsland, and, of course, our subsystem manager, Steve Williamson.