B Factory announces first results

In May 1999, the B Factory electron-positron collider and its massive, high-resolution BaBar detector came on line at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in Stanford, California. Recently, the experiment's collaborators-SLAC and Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories-announced their first results at the International Conference on High-Energy Physics in Osaka, Japan.
Although these preliminary results are too inconclusive to confirm or overturn long-held theories about why the universe contains far more matter than antimatter, the collaborators have much to celebrate. According to Doug Wright, principal investigator for the Laboratory's B Factory team, both the accelerator-collider and the detector have run well from the moment they were turned on. Says Wright, "The really great thing is that we're getting significant results in our very first year of operation." Most new accelerators need years of fine-tuning to perform at full potential.
The B Factory-and the similar B-meson experiment (KEKB) in Japan-provides scientists with a means of detecting and measuring with greater precision than ever before the differences, or asymmetries, between the laws of physics for matter and those for antimatter. Although scientists have had experimental evidence of subtle asymmetries since 1964, they have had no way to explain how the effect originates. The B Factory and KEKB provide a way to measure asymmetry and either confirm or challenge current theories about the preponderance of matter over antimatter following the big bang that is believed to have brought the universe into being.
"At this stage, we're still developing the tools to extract the asymmetry from the data," explains Wright. Despite the limited preliminary data, Wright says that with both the B Factory and KEKB gearing up their accelerators and fine-tuning their detectors, more definitive results with a lower margin of error are inevitable. And regardless of the outcome, both experiments are win-win for cosmological theory. For Wright, "If we see an asymmetry, that's a huge discovery. If we see no asymmetry, that would be big news as well."
Lawrence Livermore scientists and engineers have been involved in every aspect of the B Factory from conception and design to construction and operation. For more information on Livermore's contributions to the B Factory, see S&TR, January/February 1997, The B-Factory and the Big Bang, and January/February 1999, Imaging the Elephant: The BaBar Detector and the Mystery of Matter.
Contact: Doug Wright (925) 423-2347 (wright2@llnl.gov).

Lab successfully implements safety system

After more than a week-long in-depth review, a Department of Energy verification team recently informed Laboratory management that an Integrated Safety Management (ISM) system has been successfully implemented at Lawrence Livermore. The positive report is the culmination of a three-year program to institute ISM throughout the Laboratory.
According to the verification team's final report, "LLNL has demonstrated a consistent, top-to-bottom commitment to develop and implement a satisfactory ISM system."
"We are very pleased with the DOE team's conclusion," said Director Bruce Tarter. "Implementing ISM and preparing for verification required a true Lab-wide effort. Hundreds of people dedicated themselves to our success. I want to congratulate all Lab employees for what we have accomplished together."
The successful verification process began in November 1999 with a DOE review of all Laboratory environment, safety, and health (ES&H) documentation and interviews with senior management. The next phase came in May 2000, when a DOE verification team focused on implementation of ISM in the Site Operations and Engineering directorates and in a number of facilities.
The third and final phase of verification began September 11, 2000, when a team of 26 DOE experts verified ISM implementation in four additional directorates, inspected 25 facilities across the Laboratory, and reviewed 700 ES&H documents. To complete the verification, the team interviewed over 200 employees, ranging from associate directors to programmatic workers.
According to Bob Kuckuck, Deputy Director for Operations, the implementation of ISM has been the most intensive and substantial Laboratory-wide effort he has seen in his 37-year career at Livermore.
The next step is to continue to strengthen the ISM program by addressing the opportunities for improvement offered by the DOE verification team and by solidifying the ES&H enhancements that have been put into place as a result of ISM implementation.
Contact: Bob Kuckuck (925) 422-2371 (kuckuck1@llnl.gov).
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