FROM THE OFFICERS
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 http://hpschapters.org/sections/accelerator/documents.php3.
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. http://indico.fnal.gov/event/ASW2016
The President-Elect’s Message
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
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
Here are several facets on the latest on how dark matter research
and accelerator tools to help study it are in harmony…
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 [Phys-Org.com,
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 [Cosmos.com, 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? Nature.com, 05/25/2016).
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?
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!
there are two more items of interest for us as accelerator acolytes:
- Light and matter merger
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 [Physics-Astronomy.com, 06/15/2016]).
- Four new elements now have monikers
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 Scientist.com, 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…