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Recent In Memoriam (Obituaries)

Roger W. Boom

March 10, 1923 to August 8, 2018
Date of photo unknown

August 29, 2018 (PO66).  Roger Wright Boom died on August 8, 2018, in La Jolla, California, following a long bout with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 95 years old at the time of his death.

Roger was born in 1923 to Frank and Gladys Boom, in Bladen, Nebraska. He attended grade school and high school in Bladen and then attended the University of Nebraska, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1944, Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Sigma Xi. He was then a research associate in the Harvard Underwater Sound Research Lab. He joined the Navy in 1945 and taught electronics at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

He continued his education after WWII at University of Minnesota (M.S.-1950). In 1951 he married LaVerne Backdahl. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics at UCLA in 1958. Along with Profs. Kenneth R Mackenzie, Byron T. Wright, other graduate students and technicians, Roger helped bring up the new UCLA 49 inch cyclotron. He then did post-doctoral research at the University of Bonn for two years before joining Oak Ridge National Lab in 1960. In 1963 he returned to California to work for Atomics International where he received the prestigious IR100 award for his work in cryogenics and superconductivity.

In 1968 Roger joined the faculty of the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. There he continued his research in cryogenics and superconductivity and established the Applied Superconductivity Center which is now located at Florida State University in Tallahassee. His projects included early work in Superconductive Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES), a development of his and his longtime collaborator and friend, Professor Harold Peterson. Numerous researchers and leaders in the field today were doctoral candidates and postdocs in this program. He retired and became Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1993. In July 1993, the Cryogenic Engineering Conference presented Boom with the Samuel C. Collins Award for outstanding contributions to cryogenic technology.

Roger was awarded 12 patents, primarily in the design of systems for cryogenic superconductivity.

Recognizing his accomplishments and his keen interest in nurturing new talent in the field, the Cryogenic Society of America established the Roger W. Boom Award in 2008. It is awarded biannually to a young professional who “shows promise for making significant contributions to the fields of cryogenic engineering and applied superconductivity.” The spirit of the R.W. Boom Award is to recognize young people for their pursuit of excellence, demonstration of high standards and clear communications.

During his tenure at UW he received the Byron Bird Award from the School of Engineering in 1986.

Roger was an avid golfer and was a member of Blackhawk Country Club while living in Madison. He continued to play golf in retirement, and would often frustrate younger players on the course with his capacity to chip accurately and usually leave only a short putt.

Roger’s love for the quest of knowledge was indeed tangible, including support for family members’ education, and the establishment of a scholarship fund through the University of Wisconsin Foundation for both men and women pursuing advanced degrees in Engineering. He and LaVerne were members of the Bascom Hill Society.

As Roger lost ground to the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease, he was fortunate and very appreciative to have the assistance of his grandniece Jennifer (McKenzie) Mannino living nearby as he progressed from independent living and playing golf to becoming a resident in the dementia care unit at White Sands of La Jolla. Her frequent visits, car trips, attention, and companionship helped him enjoy as much as possible those years, as he remained sociable, affable, and never faltered before a good meal with good company.

Roger died without issue, and was preceded in death by his wife LaVerne Boom in 2001; his parents, Frank and Gladys Boom; his sister, Lurye McKenzie, and his brother-in-law and high school physics teacher, Ronald J. McKenzie, Jr. He is survived by nephews, Ronald (Margot) McKenzie III, and Rodney (Paula) McKenzie, as well as nieces, Roine (Chas) Thomsen, and Marilyn Calhoun, and nephew Gary Ripley, as well as grandnieces and grandnephews.

Interment was August 13, 2018, at El Camino Memorial Park in San Diego, CA, beside his beloved wife, LaVerne.

Contributors: Steve van Sciver, Peter Lee, David Larbalestier, Bruce Strauss, and Rodney McKenzie


 

Fernand D. “Doc” Bedard

October 6, 1927 to June 21, 2018
Date Unknown

August 7, 2018 (PO65).  With a B.S. in Physics, Magna Cum Laude, from Fordham University, a Ph.D. in Physics from the Johns Hopkins University and several years teaching at the University of Cincinnati, “Doc” Bedard was recruited by NSA in 1955, based on his graduate work in superconductivity, to participate in Project LIGHTNING.  Project LIGHTNING was a program to explore multiple technologies aimed at achieving three orders of magnitude improvement in compute power for large scale processors.  Although the superconducting approach being pursued at the time, cryotrons, did not prove to be the solution, his work on this program launched Dr. Bedard on a long and distinguished career in superconductivity, ranging from fundamental studies in materials and phenomena to a myriad of applications for computing and ultra-sensitive detectors.

Beyond his early cryotron work, Dr. Bedard had a major impact on several other significant programs to harness superconductivity for computing applications.  He was the prime government force behind a joint IBM/NSA program to use Josephson Junctions as a basic switching element.  It demonstrated the Josephson Junction’s expected high speed and low power advantages for logic applications.  Doc was also a key participant in a joint government/university/industry program in the 1990s, Hybrid Technology MultiThreaded (HTMT) architecture, which sought to achieve major advances in compute power through several emerging technologies, with superconductivity playing a major part in several of them.  Never one to simply be an observer, Doc continued his personal technical efforts, designing and having a prototype built of a revolutionary CROSSBAR SWITCH to provide low latency processor/memory interconnect, an essential element in a full superconducting high-performance computer.

Another area in which Doc Bedard exploited the characteristics of superconductors was in Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (SQUIDs) for ultra-sensitive measurement of atmospheric noise at low frequencies.  After fielding in far-flung reaches of the earth, including on an ice flow north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, Doc concluded that, in most areas of the globe, SQUID sensitivity was greater than needed.  Once again he went into personal contributor mode, designing and building a non-superconductor, high sensitivity, three axes “CUBE” antenna, which is compact, easily deployable and atmospherically noise-limited in the low-frequency range.

For these accomplishments and many more, Doc Bedard received many awards and much recognition, best summed up in his being awarded the IEEE Medal for Accomplishments in Superconductive Electronics.

In addition to his significant personal technical accomplishments,  Doc Bedard continually played a leadership role at NSA, serving as Director of the Laboratory for Physical Sciences and Director of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Research.  Through these Management positions, he was able to leverage his technical skills and experience over a wide range of basic and applied research activities.  These leadership activities dovetailed well with another enduring area in which Doc Bedard’s influence and efforts will be felt for decades, the development of NSA’s technical talent.  As a founding member of the Senior Technical Review Panel (STRP) which provides oversight to NSA’s most senior technical development program, Doc coached, mentored and advised NSA’s “best and brightest”.  Several generations of Agency technical leaders who have benefitted mightily from his dedicated and caring efforts are now playing key roles in ensuring NSA’s future success.  Many others in the superconductivity community and beyond have also benefitted from his leadership and mentoring.


 

Vincenzo (Enzo) Palmieri

November 3, 1962 to March 16, 2018
Enzo Palmieri at INFN, date unknown

May 1, 2018 (PO64). Vincenzo (Enzo) Palmieri, Research Director at Legnaro National Laboratories of INFN (LSC Group) and Director of the innovative Master in Surface Treatments for Industrial Applications of the University of Padua, passed away on March 16th, 2018.

Enzo was one of the most active members of the community of Superconducting RF for accelerators: after graduating cum laude in Physics at the University of Naples Federico II and training at CERN as a technical student, he was hired by INFN in Legnaro, where he developed the techniques to sputter quarter-wave cavities for the accelerator ALPI. Working in the field of SRF technologies for more than 30 years, he was the inventor of several techniques that have been real breakthroughs in the field of Superconducting RF, such as the fabrication of seamless cavities by spinning and the chemical treatments with ionic liquids and without hydrofluoric acid, to reduce cost and environmental impact of the treatments. He dedicated his professional career to improve the performances of superconducting cavities, investigating and giving his fundamental contribution on many topics: from Nb thin film to Nb thick film on copper, from A15 materials to atmospheric plasma treatments, from the influence of sputtering geometry on superconducting thin films to the study of the role of interfaces in the SRF properties. Moreover, he developed high power targets for the production of biomedical radioisotopes and was a pioneer in technological transfer within the collaborations between INFN and industries.

Enzo was the author of more than 280 publications and 3 patents and was the supervisor of more than 100 PhD and Master’s degree theses. Appointed Professor at the University of Padua where he taught Superconducting Materials and Vacuum Techniques, he was also the Responsible of the Material Science and Technologies for Nuclear Physics Service at LNL-INFN, where he had been training generations of scientists.

His family, a large community of colleagues, and friends will always remember him for his outstanding, peerless and eclectic personality.

Today his research group at LNL is honored to carry on his scientific legacy.


 

Meyer Garber

December 1, 1928 to December 14, 2017
1972, Brookhaven National Laboratory

January 24, 2018 (PO63). Meyer Garber, a long time staff member of Brookhaven National Laboratory, passed away peacefully on December 14, 2017, at the age of 89.  After obtaining a doctorate from the University of Illinois he won a Fulbright scholarship to study in Holland.  He spent some time as an academic at the Michigan State University.  In the 1960s he joined Brookhaven National Laboratory where he worked on low-temperature physics and superconducting magnets for more than thirty years.  At Brookhaven, he worked with Bill Sampson and others in characterizing Rutherford cables and in magnet design. His work continued through the Superconducting Collider era.

He is remembered as a mentor and friend by many world-wide colleagues in the superconductivity community.  Lucio Rossi of CERN still uses planning graphs of critical current and load lines in lectures he gives on the history of superconductivity. Rossi noted that Garber helped INFN-Genova and INFN-Milano-LASA establish a multi kA test facility for Rutherford Cables. Steve Gourlay of Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory cites the mentoring that Meyer did with him on a long-distance basis regarding magnets and conductors including Nb3Sn.

Peter Wanderer, Lucio Rossi, Steve Gourlay and Bruce Strauss

Meyer’s Life

In 1945 Meyer had a Fulbright scholarship to work at the great Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory at Leiden in the Netherlands, the birthplace of superconductivity and liquid helium research.  It is not surprising that he chose to work in the field of cryogenics and superconductivity after that!

In the mid 1960’s, His good friend Myron Strongin persuaded him to leave Michigan State University and come to Brookhaven National Lab, where he assured Meyer there would be more opportunity to do his own research, and for some time Meyer did work on his own low-temperature experiments, he   also collaborated with Myron Strongin and others.  His research focused on methods of using liquid helium for superconductor cooling.  When the BNL superconducting transmission line project for D.O.E. was set up, Meyer was asked to work on it, and he served for some time as deputy manager for Eric Forsyth. His contributions to the work included several patents for low-loss conductors.

Later, he continued his work on the science, design, and testing of superconducting wires and magnets with Bill Sampson, at Isabelle, the AGS and in later years, at RHIC.  Wires tested by the BNL group were used in magnets for the BNL accelerators, but also HERA, and the LHC at CERN, among others. In 1979, Meyer was part of a BNL team that visited labs in Russia and Ukraine, and he later visited Brazil to explore BNL sources for Niobium.

After retiring in 1993, he continued working with Bill Sampson as a guest scientist until he moved to California to be near his daughter and grandchildren in 2014.

Meyer grew up during the depression in Philadelphia.  His parents could not afford much for their children.  Meyer and his sister both made their own way by winning scholarships and showing amazing determination to learn about all the fine and wonderful things of life.  Meyer was very much an autodidact.  He had an admirable enthusiasm for new experiences, and one of the things he taught himself to do was sailing – his great solace in later years.  Music was his great love, but as he grew old, a cruel deafness deprived him of his ability to distinguish pitch, so he could no longer hear the music. Meyer had a great sense of humor and loved the good things of life – food, wine, music, great books, and most of all -  good friends. 

Alison Garber


 

James Nordman

April 27, 1934 to November 21, 2017
James Nordman (around 2005)

January 29, 2018 (PO62). James Emery Nordman, Professor of Electrical Engineering and IEEE Member passed away on 21 November 2017 at age 83. Jim was born in Quinnesec in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He graduated from Marquette University in 1957 and received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1962. He then joined the faculty of the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Jim was associate chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department for several years, a founding member of the Material Science Advisory Committee, and an active participant of the Applied Superconductivity Conference.

During his 34 years at UW–Madison, he initiated and taught many subjects and built extensive thin-film laboratory facilities for fabrication and study of superconductor-based devices. Jim, in collaboration with his graduate students and colleagues, made extensive advances in superconducting technology, both in low-temperature and high-temperature superconductivity and on the fabrication of thin-film devices utilizing state of the art techniques. He spent two years on separate leaves of absence from UW–Madison to further his professional work. He conducted research in Princeton, NJ at David Sarnoff Research Laboratories of RCA, and in 1972 he took his family of eight to Grenoble France for a year in which he worked at L’Air Liquide. Jim retired from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1996.

Jim was a creative engineer, an experimentalist, and a soft-spoken teacher. He seemed to have immense patience and inexhaustible time to listen to and guide his graduate students in their endeavors. His unconventional approach of encouraging his students to freely select their research areas prepared them for successful careers in their professions. Some went on to establishing a superconductive electronics center which is currently part of a premier government lab for fabrication of superconducting circuits. Others participated in founding what is believed to be the first successful commercial company for the advancement of thin film and superconducting electronics. His guidance and engineering insight became invaluable to his students in the industry in their quests to expand the boundaries of conventional electronics and successful introduction of superconducting electronics into the commercial marketplace.

Jim’s disposition of embracing new research territories and ideas is what led him to superconducting electronics from his early work on semiconducting devices and circuits. His entry into Josephson effect research at UW gained Jim and his colleagues' national attention when they published their research finding on parallels of wave propagation on superconducting transmission lines to brain waves. To Jim’s amusement, a few custodians of the engineering building petitioned him to be the first recipients of his “engineered brain.”           

In his spare time, Jim enjoyed tinkering with old cars, playing music and performing choral singing; he was a talented musician. In retirement, he was able to focus on his 1941 Lincoln Zephyr convertible—giving him pleasure, challenges, and more good friendships. His quiet manner and humble approach were enjoyed by friends, colleagues, and students.
Jim is survived by his wife Clare and their six children, 13 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and by numerous students whom he mentored as engineers, researchers, teachers, and entrepreneurs. He will be dearly missed for his sense of humor, patience while teaching, fatherly winks and, always, a ready smile.

Masoud Radparvar, Gert Hohenwarter, and Cathy Nordman

In the 1980s I was a graduate student at UW–Madison working in Steve Van Sciver’s helium cryogenics lab. Needing a thin film lab to make temperature sensors for my experiments, I approached Jim Nordman and was welcomed into his lab. There I learned much from fellow students as we worked to make films and devices from sometimes old and finicky equipment. One learning experience occurred when I was working on an evaporator. While turning a bolt, the wrench touched something that produced sparks and a bang and shut down all power to the lab. Professor Nordman came out of his office and marched me down to the breaker room so we could restore power, along the way making it clear with one comment and just the slightest hint of annoyance that in the future I was to make absolutely sure the power was off before working on equipment. I consider part of Jim’s legacy that I am still alive and working in superconductor electronics.

The last correspondence I had with Jim was after the 2011 EUCAS centennial of superconductivity held in The Netherlands. I wanted to let him know that I was still active in superconductor electronics and that superconducting computing was again under active development. I also sent him a photo I took at the conference of a presentation referencing his work on Nb/a-Ge/Nb published in 1972. He was happy to receive it and we spoke on the phone. I am sad that he did not live to see the next generation of superconducting computers.

D. Scott Holmes