07 November 2011

Faster than Light Neutrinos

From the BBC to the AP, and from The Huffington Post to Fox News, the press has been abuzz with stories of particles traveling faster than light.

The original press release and paper preprint are probably the best sources for information about this analysis.  The experiment on which I work, MINOS, is gearing up to reproduce this measurement as soon as possible.

If this result is real, it would be one of the greatest shocks to hit the physics community for about a century.  Given this extraordinary implication, the measurement will need to be reproduced (preferably multiple times) before it becomes accepted.

Photo Backlog 4: The British Museum

This album is from the 30 min. we managed to spend at the British Museum during our trip to England in January.

31 October 2011

If you are curious or confused about my work ...

For those of you who are interested in learning more about what I do for a living, Symmetry Magazine just published an article and photograph gallery about NOvA, the experiment on which I work that is under construction now.  Quotes from yours truly bookend the article! Another article provides a good summary of the current questions particle physicists have about neutrinos and the experiments we are using to answer them.  Symmetry is "a magazine about particle physics and its connections to other aspects of life and science, from interdisciplinary collaborations to policy to culture."

"It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out."- Proverbs 25:2

20 October 2011

David, God, and the Law for Kings

In my Bible reading a few days ago, I read with much interest about the law God proclaimed to govern Israelite kings.

One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, 'You shall never return that way again.' And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
Deuteronomy 17:15-17

My first reaction was to be impressed that God gave laws that even kings had to obey, a concept that modern America still holds. Richard Nixon and Rod Blagojevich discovered the hard way. 

I also noticed one of the clauses requires that the king "shall not acquire many wives for himself."  

I Chronicles 3:1-3 lists six wives of David, and II Samuel 3:13-16 recounts another (Mical).  This is not counting Bathsheba.  If seven wives can be considered many, then David broke the law, which is no surprise given the adultery and murder his is famous for committing.  What surprises and confuses me is part of the condemnation Nathan relayed from God regarding David's sins, "I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more" (II Samuel 12:7-9).  This raises several questions that I do not know how to answer.  Is God saying that he gave David at least some of his many wives?  If so, does that mean God was abetting David in breaking his own law? I would welcome any suggestions you have.

13 October 2011

Answered Prayers This Week

  • Sold my first ticket in The Well's raffle
  • I think God just answered my prayer for my internet connection to work!

11 October 2011

A Good Old Fashioned Church Raffle! You could win $5000!

If you would like a raffle ticket with a chance to to win a $5000 cash prize, an iPad or a $500 gift card, e-mail me, call me or comment on this entry. $25 for a ticket will help our church raise some needed funds. Only 2000 tickets available so your chance of winning is at least 1 in 667!  Tickets will be sold until October 30th,  and the prizes will be awarded on November 6th.

"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

26 September 2011

Planes, Physics Talks, and Automobiles

It seems God has decided that I have not done enough traveling and presenting my work yet this year.  Here are the upcoming presentations and travel planed between now and Thanksgiving.  Among these trips are 3 plane flights and more than 1000 miles of driving.

Most of them have come up only in the past few weeks!  Please pray that I will represent God, particle physics, NOvA, and Indiana University well at all of them.

22 September 2011

Photo Backlog 3: 2010 Small Group Game Night

Click on the photograph below for the full album.

19 September 2011

Photo Backlog 2: Winter of 2010

Dec. 2010 Snow.  Click on picture for full album.

2010 Young Adult Small Group Christmas Party.  Click on picture for full album.

14 September 2011

Photo Backlog 1: Steely the Snowman

In what may be the greatest display of procrastination in my life, I have started posting online photos that date back to late 2010.  Here is the first album in the series, Steely the Snowman.  I think he was there for the Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore game on Dec. 5, 2011.

31 August 2011

Softball, Success, and God

Behold, the 2011 Boomers of the Fermilab Softball League!  We played our final game of the season on Aug. 25.  All of the teams in the league make it to the playoffs, which are a double-elimination tournament.  We lost both of our playoff games, all but one game (out of 12) of the regular season and all but 2 games of the previous season.  Given those records, you might be able to see why being on this team reminds me of an article that my wife sent me: "Why You Need To Fail."

This might prompt you to ask why I am smiling in the photograph above, something that my wife will confirm is too rare for me.  It is because, in addition to the lessons of humility, reliance on God, resilience, compassion, humility, wisdom, and simplicity, failure has helped me "learn what really matters" and what doesn't.  God has used it to teach me that being a "successful" softball player is far less important than doing my job well, which is less important than loving my wife well.

Also, I have learned that success and failure are not always as easily defined as one might think, and they are often defined by one's goals.  I am certainly a much better softball player and in better physical shape than when I began playing; that can be considered a success.  If the Boomers' goal was to win the most games, we were certainly not successful. However, if we our goal was to follow my wife's motto for our team, "we lose the most games, but we have the most fun," I think we were a success.

10 August 2011

Thoughts about Slavery from my Daily Bible Reading

For me and probably for many other American Christians, slavery is one of the most uncomfortable topics to read about in the Old Testament.  Given the horrors of past and modern slavery, I have difficulty understanding how the loving God in whom I believe and trust could condone such an institution.  I want to find the language of the 13th Amendment in the Torah, but it is not there.

However, some time ago during my daily Bible reading, I read this passage.  Though I must have read it multiple times before, I didn't remember it.

If your brother becomes poor beside you and sells himself to you, you shall not make him serve as a slave: he shall be with you as a hired servant and as a sojourner. He shall serve with you until the year of the jubilee. Then he shall go out from you, he and his children with him, and go back to his own clan and return to the possession of his fathers. For they are my servants, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as slaves. You shall not rule over him ruthlessly but shall fear your God. As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

This prohibition seems absolute to me, but it only applies to Israelite "brothers;" ownership of "strangers" and members of other nations was still explicitly allowed and regulated.  However, in the New Testament, the difference between brothers and strangers becomes much less clear.

In fact, Paul says that gentile believers are grafted onto a Israelite root.

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? If the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, "Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in." That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree.

I wonder if this is why Paul asked Philemon to accept Onesimus, his slave, back as a brother.

For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

01 August 2011

Cool Memories for a Hot Month

As we prepare for sweltering August, I thought I would share a few cool photographic memories from the Groundhog Day Blizzard (a.k.a. my wife's Birthday Blizzard) that was about six months ago.

25 July 2011

See one of the Men behind the Computer that won Jeopardy!

The principle investigator on the Waston project, which build the computer that beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy! will be giving a colloquium at Fermilab on Wednesay, July 27 at 4pm in Wilson Hall, room One West. Let me know if you are interested in coming.

09 July 2011

One of the benefits of being on swing shift is seeing beautiful sunsets...

...he has set a tent for the sun,
     which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
     and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
     and its circuit to the end of them,
     and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

06 July 2011

I want to be able to bike to church. (mailed July 5, 2011)

Commissioner Thomas Van Cleave
Forest Preserve District of Kane County
1996 South Kirk Road, Suite 320
Geneva, IL 60134

Dear Commissioner Van Cleave:
As a resident of Batavia and an avid bicyclist, I am writing to ask about a possible extension to the bike trails which intersect at the corner of Kirk Rd. and Fabyan Parkway in Geneva.  Would it be possible to construct an extension from that corner to the parking lot of the Fox Valley Ice Arena?  This extension would allow a cyclist to ride to Cherry Lane from the south without needing to ride on Kirk Rd. or walk through knee-high grass and thistles along sections of Kirk.  
This is of interest to me and multiple other members of The Well, which is a church congregation that has recently begun sharing the Fox Valley Church of God building on the corner of Kirk and Cherry.  Several of us would like to be able to bike to church on Sunday mornings. We have even discussed having a “Bike to Church Sunday.”  However, there is currently no safe or convenient bicycle route, and the extension I have suggested would complete one from the south.
I realize that such a suggestion would require considerable money and time, so if such a trail extension is impractical at present, it would still be helpful if the grass on the west side of Kirk Road could be kept short enough to make walking though it practical.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Luke Corwin

Ask Your Senators To Support the TVPRA

I called both of my senators today.

If you have trouble viewing this email, please click here.
Justice Campaigns - TVPRA Justice Campaigns - TVPRA Photo
Dear Friend,
On June 29, 2011, a bill called the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Leahy (VT), Brown (MA), Kerry (MA), Boxer (CA), Cardin (MD), and Wyden (OR).
This bi-partisan legislation is critical - it will renew the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which established the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, authorized the annual Trafficking in Persons report, and established human trafficking as a punishable crime here in the U.S.
Abolitionists around the country are calling on Congress to pass the TVPRA quickly. Will you join us? Thank you for your support!
Eileen Campbell
Director of Justice Campaigns
P.S. Stay tuned for updates on the introduction of the TVPRA in the U.S. House of Representatives!
Action Alert Button
IJM - International Justice Mission
www.ijm.org | PO Box 58147, Washington, DC 20037
All text and images © 2011 International Justice Mission.

One Reason I Enjoy Giving Tours of the MINOS Underground Area

Date: Wed, 18 May 2011 17:11:53 -0500 (CDT) [18 May 2011 05:11:53 PM CDT]
Subject: thanks!

Dear Aria, Art, Zeynep and Luke,
Thanks so much for the tunnel tour Friday at MINOS.  I totally love going down there and I really appreciate your time and patience with my science writing students so they can love it too.  I am endlessly fascinated by the concept of sending neutrinos through a tunnel and then the Earth to Minnesota...I don't think there'll ever be a day when I'm not amazed.  You do a wonderful job making the science accessible and explaining what goes on in the tunnel.  Then there are those elephant doors....
The students told me afterward they thought the tour was awesome...they even liked your elevator.
I look forward to visiting again.
All the best,

10 June 2011

Poor Neighbors

Somehow, I never noticed that these two proverbs are right next to each other.

"The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
  but the rich has many friends.
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
  but blessed is he who is generous to the poor."
Proverbs 14:20-21

Summer Travel Plans

  • June 12-17: We will be in Ely, MN for the MINOS Week in the Woods Collaboration Meeting at Vermilion Community College.  This will be a particularly important meeting as our far detector has recently been restored to working order after a fire.  
  • June 24-26: We will be driving to Independence, WI to visit my parents and sister.
  • June 30 - July 2: We will be traveling to Arlington, VA to witness the marriage of our friend Cate.
  • July 16-18: Yet another wedding! Our maid of honor Kristen will be getting married in Letchworth State Park, which is near Buffalo, NY.  We will be flying there to celebrate with her and hope to visit Niagra Falls and Canada. 

01 June 2011

Fighting Slavery

The Blogger outage of May 11 seems to have deleted the original version of this entry, so I have had to re-write it.

The Well has joined the fight against human trafficking, which is the name commonly given to modern day slavery.  This is a horrific organized criminal reality, and we believe God has called us to actively fight against it.  Our contribution to this cause is called Making Waves.

We are raising funds and raising awareness in many ways, including a garage sale this weekend that my wife and I hosted and a plant sale that another church member hosted.  Both were part of the Batavia city-wide garage sale and raised a total of more than $500.  The Well also sponsored and organized and a 5K run/walk on May 14 to raise funds for a community training class on May 21. "The training is for first-line responders (or anyone in a position to serve youth).  The training will equip participants to recognize the signs of human trafficking and will empower them with the proper tools for response."

"Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, 
  whose hope is in the LORD his God,
  who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them,
  who keeps faith forever; 
  who executes justice for the oppressed,
  who gives food to the hungry.

The LORD sets the prisoners free; 
  the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; 
  the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners; 
  he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
  but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin."

16 May 2011

Photos of the NOvA Prototype Near Detector

This photo is linked to a album showing the detector and many of the people who helped install it.

10 May 2011

Softball Season at Fermilab!

Kelly & I are on the Boomers again, and this year the league has added a fifth team, the Prairie Fire.  The picture above shows Kelly batting during our first game of the season on Thursday.   It along with the other pictures in the album were taken by another teammate.

05 May 2011

National Day of Prayer: My Prayer for Education

This was the prayer I gave at the 2011 National Day of Prayer gathering at Fermilab.

Lord and Father,

You are the Creator of education and teaching, and we thank you for the opportunities to teach and learn with which we have been blessed.  We come to you with petitions for this vastly influential institution.

We confess that we have all at times be timid in sharing your gospel with our colleagues, students, and teachers.  We ask your forgiveness.

For the teachers, administrators, and students in our schools, colleges, and universities who do follow Jesus, we offer our deep thanks.  For them we ask that they will always seek your understanding, insight, and knowledge above all.  We ask that they will have courage to speak your gospel with truth, love, and patience.  We ask that they will accept the truth even when it forces them to admit error or overturn their previous understanding.

We ask that you will continue to protect the freedom of your people to gather in your name in places of learning.  We ask that those who do not yet believe will se your light shining in their peers and be cultivated to receive your word.  We ask that all educators will use their influence well.

Your will be done.

In Christ's name, amen.

28 March 2011

Starting a Fire with a Piece of Plastic...

...and the sun.

The piece of plastic is a fresnel magnifying sheet.

26 March 2011

Earth Hour 2011

Earth Hour 2011 will be celebrated by the city of Batavia and Fermilab this year.

24 March 2011

Another Election Already?

While a surprising amount of news coverage has been given to the beginning of the 2012 Presidential Election, in our own city, there is another election coming much sooner:  April 5 to be exact.

It is the local spring election, and three contested races appear on my ballot.

  • Batavia City Council, Ward 4
  • Batavia School District 101 Board 
  • Kane County Forest Preserve Bond Referendum

The people and issues that win or lose these races will have real impacts on how we and the children in our community live.  They are also the races in which individual voters have the most power because of the small electorate and low turnout involved.   For instance, in the 2009 spring election, only 426 ballots were cast in the Ward 4 election.

11 March 2011

God Provides

The title of this post may strike some as cliche, but it was true for us.  We were planning to be on a bus to Columbus, OH today, but Kelly became quite ill yesterday.  We decided to cancel the trip.

From Columbus, we were scheduled to fly to Venice, Italy for a conference at which I am giving a presentation.  Then, we were going to fly back from Venice to Chicago.

I called United to see how much it would cost to change our flights so that we would depart from Chicago rather than Columbus.  Given the last minute nature of this change and airline's penchant for charging fees, I thought it would be prohibitively expensive if there were even any seats available.  This is where God provided.

In what was probably the most productive half-hour I have even spent on the phone with an airline employee, he found seats on a flight from Chicago to Frankfurt, where we could connect with the same flight to Venice we had already booked. The seats are a pair, so we will still be able to sit together in the kind of seats we prefer (window and aisle).  He made the change for free!  Anyone who has navigate the world of airline fees will realize why calling this an instance of God's provision is no exaggeration.  He mentioned something about bad weather in Cleveland, but I didn't ask any other questions.

Our plans for Venice and the return flights are unchanged, so we would appreciate your prayers that we will both be well enough for our trip and my presentation.

"Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds." - Psalm 36:5

15 February 2011

The President's Budget and Me

The President released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2012 this morning.  It may not mean much since we don't yet have a budget for this year.  However, the New York Times has a nice chart showing how the administration is proposing to spend our tax money.

The part of the budget that affects me most directly is the Department of Energy because a grant from that Dept. pays my celery salary, and it provides most of the funding for the experiments on which I work.  It is marked "ENERGY" in the lower right hand portion of the Times chart.  More specifically the budge of High Energy Physics, the subfield in which I work, receives a small increase, as you can see in Slide 24 of Secretary of Energy Steven Chu's presentation of the proposal.

Secretary Chu's FY 2012 Budget Briefing

On Slide 6, you can see that the Tevatron run will not be extended.  This was officially conveyed in a Dept. of Energy memo and has gotten coverage in Fermilab Today, the Beacon News, Science News, and The New York Times.

30 January 2011

Upcoming Travel: Miami, Columbus, and Venice!

From Feb. 5 - 8, my wife's late birthday and early Valentine's Day present is a trip to someplace warmer than here!  That doesn't narrow things down very much, but having a friend offer to host us in the Miami area certainly does.  When I planned this trip, I didn't realize it was Super Bowl weekend.  However, we certainly plan to be watching Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay.  I am from Wisconsin and married into the Steeler Nation, so whoever wins, I will have a reason to celebrate.

On Mar. 13, we will be in Columbus, OH to see our friends Stephen and Danielle get married.

That evening, we will fly from Columbus to Venice, Italy, where I am scheduled to give a presentation on the MINOS experiment at the 14th International Workshop on Neutrino Telescopes!  We are going to be in Italy for a week.  It should also be warmer than Chicago.  This will be my second trip to Italy and Kelly's first.

It really is amazing all the blessings God has given us, and the places (both literal and figurative) that he is taking us.

26 January 2011

Super Bowl XLV

I believe

I believe
God can heal
all our wounds.

21 January 2011

Cold Ride

This is what the thermometer read when I left to ride my bicycle to work this morning.  The bottom number is the outside temperature in Fahrenheit. In this weather, I appreciate the irony inherent in the fact that I ride in part to combat global warming.