Accelerator Radiation Safety Newsletter

(all articles are to be considered personal/professional in nature and do not reflect the opinions of the institutions described unless otherwise stated)

An Official Publication of the

Health Physics Society's Accelerator Section

Circulation: 493

Second Quarter 2016 /
Volume 26, Number 2



The President’s Message

Elaine Marshall


I write this realizing that my year as President of the Accelerator Section will soon be coming to an end.  As a Section, we have accomplished a lot and I would refer you to the Section Report at As a community, we have accomplished so much more.


I had the opportunity and privilege to serve as a delegate to the IRPA 14 Congress this past May.  Capetown, South Africa was breathtaking.  I was a bit dismayed to not see many highlights of the accelerator community in this forum, but I learned so much about the focus of the international health physics community.  I encourage our international colleagues to become more involved.  The networking always proves invaluable.


I hope to see you at the annual meeting.  One of the plenary session speakers will be Sayed Rokni speaking to the success of the working group to get the technical standard on clearance from accelerators through the approval process.  I would ask that if you haven’t done so already, please take the time to review the document.  The document provides some insight into authorized limits that many of our colleagues have applied and saved our employers millions of dollars in disposal costs.  Congratulations.


The Accelerator Section has a Special Session planned for Tuesday morning, July 19, 2016 in Room 111C at the Spokane Convention Center. This Session will be immediately followed by our annual business meeting in the same room. Know that we have plans to modify, albeit slightly, the By-Laws.  Also at the business meeting, we will be announcing the winners of the H. Wade Patterson and Lutz E. Moritz Student Awards.  I know that we have all been impressed with the quality of the work done by our students and Steve Frey is chairing the Awards Committee.  This will be an opportunity to meet first-hand our newest health physicists.  The intent at the business meeting is also to elect a new President-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer, Director, and Newsletter Editor to our Executive Board for next year. The voting will be electronic, and we will soon notify you when the on-line voting site will be ready for you to review our excellent list of candidates for office next year and cast your votes.  However, you can cast your vote in person, but only during the Special Session. And we will be extending the voting deadline this year to midnight Friday, July 22, 2016.


Thank you to Scott Schwahn for agreeing to chair our Nominations Committee and working to pull together a ballot.  For you, our Section members, there is always the opportunity to volunteer to chair one of the committees. All you have to do is let us know of your interest.


In addition to the Special Session, if you get the opportunity, our Matthew Quinn is offering a PEP on accelerators.  If the years as an accelerator health physicist have taught me anything, it is that each accelerator is unique and there is so much more to this discipline to learn.


Steve Frey has also coordinated a Star Party for the annual meeting.  For those of you that have never been to Spokane, I assure you that the views should be spectacular. The star party will be held on Tuesday evening, July 19, 2016, on the Skybridge that connects to the North side of the Spokane Convention Center from 9:00 PM to 10:30 PM.


For our DOE affiliated colleagues, the Accelerator Safety Workshop (ASW) will be held this year at FermiLab in September.  The workshop is a forum to share experience and gain consensus on how safety systems are efficiently applied to accelerator facilities.  Please visit the ASW 2016 website for additional details and registration.



The President-Elect’s Message

Lorraine Day

Lorraine extends her wishes for everyone to have a great summer. She will return to this column in the next quarterly newsletter.



The Past President’s Message

Steve Frey


Hello friends, the good news about the federal budget increase in support of accelerator sciences this fiscal year (which we discussed in our 4th Quarter 2015 Newsletters) is helping to produce fruit. The April 26, 2016 issue of Symmetry Magazine has an article titled “The Hottest Job in Physics?” notes that opportunities for accelerator physicists (and by implication, accelerator health physicists too) are expanding in the national research labs and medicine. Finally! We may be seeing a significant surge in employment opportunities in the next few years.


That is encouraging, and serves as another great incentive to attend this year’s HPS Annual Meeting in Spokane.


And speaking of the meeting, please come and enjoy our Section-sponsored star party there! It will take place on Tuesday evening of July 19 from 9 PM to 10:30 PM on the little pedestrian bridge that connects to the immediate northwest from the Spokane Convention Center. There’s no need to be concerned about seeing your way to the star party. The moon will be full that night, illuminating the short path to and from the party. The Moon also will present itself as a great telescopic viewing object there, too. Please come enjoy the nighttime sky with us, and revel in the seeing of Mother Nature’s own nuclear reactors and particle accelerators in the heavens!


And when we get to Mars, here’s good news every health physicist will love: Working full time on the Martian surface is within US Radiation Worker limits


Now that the Higgs Boson has been discovered, the next great challenge in the accelerator realm seems to be centering on the unravelling of secrets harbored by dark matter. And we accelerator health physicists stand ready to do our part to support health and safety side of the research!


Here are several facets on the latest on how dark matter research and accelerator tools to help study it are in harmony…


-  First, a new spin on “spin”: under some conditions, some photons can have a spin of one-half! Physicists at Trinity College believe they recently observed such particles. Since the Standard Model of Particle Physics assumes photons, like all other bosons, have only integer spin, this discovery, if it holds up, could call for a re-write of at least some of the Standard Model (Physicists discover a new form of light [, 05/17/2016]).  It could also lend credence to the theoretical existence of “dark photons” as an explanation for dark matter.


- Dark photons and dark force

Other physicists are also proposing that 1) dark photons exist, and 2), interactions between such photons, propelled by a new influence called the “dark force”, constitutes dark matter. While this terminology seemingly has Star Wars-inspired flavorings, dark force and dark matter may emerge as excellent candidates for confirmatory studies via accelerators (The dark side of the universe—a primer [, 06/06/2016, via Symmetry 06/07/2016]).


- Some research points to dark photons being 17-MeV particles

  Recent experiments at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’s Institute for Nuclear Research have revealed the implicit existence of a 17-MeV particle that may be a dark photon. Scientists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory are designing a test to confirm this particle via its DarkLight experiment. Moreover, the DarkLight experiment is intended to spot a range of dark photons with masses of 10–100 MeV (Has a Hungarian physics lab found a fifth force of nature?, 05/25/2016).


-  But, space-based measurements have found no corresponding gamma rays thought to accompany decay of dark matter

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and the Fermi Large Area Telescope have been simultaneously observing the cosmos for theoretical signs of dark matter for several years now. AMS-02 has observed a positron-to-electron ratio that peaks at around 250 GeV and which drops off above that energy, suggesting that dark matter in the form of weakly-interacting massive particles (WIMPs) at or near 250 GeV decays into positrons and electrons. But FermiLAT has found no associated gamma rays. Here is comparative charting of the findings of AMS-02 and FermiLAT showing this apparent lack of agreement in the curves of the positron-electron ratio and gamma ray data. The AMS-02 data is graphed on the left and the FermiLAT data is graphed on the right (Fermi-LAT kills dark matter interpretations of AMS-02 data. Or not? [, 06/03/2016]):



So, does dark matter not exist at all, or in another form not yet postulated, or does exist despite possible measurement misinterpretation? Answering these questions is exactly what accelerators do best!


And, there are two more items of interest for us as accelerator acolytes:


- Light and matter merger

A way has been developed to entrap a photon by the molecule that emitted it. Researchers at the University of Cambridge a tiny void called a “nanopore” that does the trick. Previously thought to be impossible, their finding holds promise for improving comprehension of the formulation of matter and physiochemistry (Physicists Have Mixed Matter and Light at Room Temperature for the First Time [, 06/15/2016]).


-  Four new elements now have monikers

“Name That Tune” it isn’t, but naming new elements, all of which are radioactive, is more fun.  The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) has announced that new elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 have been named, in order, as nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson.” (Four new element names to be added to the periodic table [New, 06/08/2016]).



Lastly, thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve our Section in this capacity. Working with you all has been most enjoyable and stimulating. Please continue to support our superb Section! Why? Because curiosity drives great science. We should always have that. Perhaps the very last Calvin and Hobbes comic strip expresses it best…









Elaine Marshall,
Sandia National



Lorraine Day,
CAMD Louisiana State University


Past President:

Steve Frey,



Linnea Wahl,


Newsletter Editor:

Patrick Bragg,
Idaho National




Don Cossairt (2016), 
Fermi National

Accelerator Laboratory


Reginald Ronningen (2017), National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory


Matt Quinn (2018)
Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

•  Accelerator Section Website

•  HPS Website


From The Secretary/Treasurer:
Linnea Wahl

This year, the Health Physics Society (HPS) Accelerator Section celebrates the 25-year anniversary of the section’s founding. In 1991, our first president was none other than Wade Patterson, the man who is generally regarded as the first professional accelerator health physicist. His legacy lives on in the H. Wade Patterson Memorial Award presented each year at the annual HPS meeting to recognize outstanding student presentations on accelerator health physics.


So we are 25 years old, and going strong (as you might expect). Our membership tally—183 members—is up a bit from last year this time when we had 174 members. This is good news, and worth celebrating along with this special anniversary.


Who do we have to thank for our continued good showing? We can start with the new HPS members who are new to the Accelerator Section in 2016:

·         Matthew Chapa

·         Wouter de Wet

·         Michael Geelhoed

·         Donald K. Jordan

·         Daniel McDonald

·         Nathaniel J. Nichols

·         Preston Phillips

·         William Pramenko

·         Alexandra Robinson

·         Kenneth Schafer


To all of you, welcome to HPS, welcome to the Section, and thanks for joining us. Perhaps one of you will follow in Wade Patterson’s footsteps and someday be our Section President!


Want to earn more thanks? Encourage your colleagues who haven’t taken the plunge yet to join HPS and to join the Accelerator Section. Help us make the next 25 years the best ever. To join, see






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