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Jonathan Asaadi | Syracuse University | USA

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Fermilab: People, Places, and Spaces (Part II)

As promised, and slightly delayed, I am going to continue blogging about the people, places, and spaces that you find around Fermilab and offering my own take on them.

In the last post in this series (Part I) I got to talk about the beautiful and majestic site known as Wilson Hall. Undoubtedly the trademark structure here at the lab. So this time I thought I would talk about maybe the not so beautiful, but absolutely necessary site….

CDF Trailers

CDF Trailers (As seen from the parking lot)

CDF Trailers (As seen from the parking lot)

No two ways about it, when I arrived at the lab and started doing work with my group in Wilson Hall I was taken back at how comfy of life we physicists have it. Beautiful buildings, cafeteria in the building, lecture halls, etc. Then I made the move over to CDF and got the word from my adviser, “You aren’t really part of CDF if you aren’t hanging out around B0…you should move your office to the trailers!”

“The trailers?”, I thought. I had rode my bike by them every day as I commuted from the Fermilab Village to Wilson Hall and thought that those were just used for maintenance and storage for the big blue and orange building that housed CDF…but I didn’t know that they were offices. So I gathered up my computer and called my fellow grad students who had been working on CDF to find out where I should go and headed over to the trailers. I remember it was in December and it was a Wednesday because I had to find where the CDF SUSY group meeting was and 10am.

“No problem finding this”, I thought as I pulled into the parking lot. It must be in this bigDSCF2293 “more modern” looking building. I’ve got 20 minutes to find my desk, plop my stuff down and get to the meeting room. Turns out, not that simple. Texas A&M’s offices aren’t in the main building…they are in the trailers, and the SUSY meeting room was in the trailers too…just not the attached trailers, but rather the satellite trailer around back (that I didn’t even knew existed at the time). I walked into the hollowed halls of CDF trailers and was confounded by the numbering system…the changing walls depending on what trailer you were in, the out dated map of rooms…here I was going to start the project that was to be my PhD and I was being bested by a series of trailers!DSCF2289

Luckily, I happened to run into a friend from Texas A&M and he pointed me to what would become my office (or palace as I like to call it) and showed me where this trailer was behind everything for the SUSY meeting. After almost a full year in the trailers and spending WAY TOO MANY HOURS in them…I’ve really come to love the charm of doing DSCF2295physics in this environment.

If you hand out in the kitchen area for a little while you will undoubtedly run into some of the “big guns” who keep this experiment running day-to-day. You will also meet people who are working on their analysis, people who are visiting to do their turns of shift, and the seasoned veteran who has been heating up his Ramen in this kitchen since before you were born.

DSCF2298It was while sitting in this trailer pondering the deep aspects of my analysis and waiting to go on my first week of solo Ace shifts this summer that the irony of doing all this work in a trailer truely hit me. That is when I began to love the trailers, and the humility that it helps me remember. We don’t need beautiful ivory towers, the latest and greatest chairs, meeting rooms, or equipment to do our jobs. We can work, ponder, and make progress in high energy physics probing the earliest stages of the universe and the smallest constituents of matter hunkered down in a trailer sitting on a prairie field.

So when you make your way to Fermilab, take the time off the “pretty” places and wonder through the trailers and lunch rooms located at CDF. This is where a lot of the magic happens…in one of the most unassuming places.

CDF Trailer Kitchen (Where the action is...around lunch time)

CDF Trailer Kitchen (Where the action is...around lunch time)

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