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Bjoern Penning | Fermilab | USA

View Blog | Read Bio

Interesting times..

The last month has been a very interesting one. On this day four weeks ago I defended my thesis in Germany. Followed by some days of packing, sorting and finally flying to Chicago. The following Monday, one week after my defense, I started my new job. I am now Research Assistant at Fermilab and this already since three weeks. Astonishing how fast things develop sometimes.

Of course after moving to the US it took some days to get settled both, new job and new living. Although I was familiar with both, Chicago and Fermilab, there are subtle but important difference. But to make things short… it is great and I enjoy it. Maybe the following two pictures give an impression why.

First about private things, this is a view from the backporch of my new place:

Sears tower from backporch

Sears tower from backporch

Of course it is not just the nice view making my day, this is merely a symbol for the advantages being back in Chicago. Meeting dear friends, the amenities and culture of a big city and seeing again a wonderful person very close to me.

And there is work (not really the best term for our type of business right) better work and life at Fermilab. The very same week I arrived beam was put again into the Tevatron, leading to a challenging time for the CDF and D0 collaboration to resume operations. The effort made by the Tevatron machine people and both collaborations was truly impressive. I happened to be on shift already twice and we had very stable data taking at quite high luminosities. You see here a plot of the data taking efficiencies at D0:

Data takine efficiency of D0, Oct. 2009.

Data taking efficiency of D0, Oct. 2009.

The blue, red and green markers give the daily, ten-days average and monthly data taking efficiency. The plot shows the entire time since start of RunII, the gaps indicate the shutdowns of the Tevatron during the last years. The last few blue dots represent the performance of the D0 shift crew directly after the shutdown. As one sees, within literally a day or two the efficiency reached again levels higher than 90%. Very nice. Parallel to starting the Tevatron we happened to have a collaboration meeting last week and I think it is fair to say that the plot above is as well just a symbol for the atmosphere dominating the experiment. Busy, challenging but it is fun and I see many impressive results coming out of it.

A friend of mine, an experienced scientist, used to say “never graduate, it just gets worse”. Well, so far I can’t agree. Sure, work ramps up pretty quickly, the responsibilities even faster and I of course the whole process of graduating has it’s purpose. But once over it feels very good and being able to focus on research again is great. In the end  our work is our hobby as well, right?

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