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Recent In Memoriam (Obituaries)

Kyoji Tachikawa

January 5, 1927 to December 7, 2018

December 19, 2018 (PO67).  Kyoji Tachikawa was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. He received his BEng (1950) and Dr. Eng. (1961), both on Permanent Magnets, from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo, and joined the scientific staff of the University of Tokyo as a research associate in 1954. His first scientific papers date back to that year and refer to cold working studies of permanent magnet alloys and later on to high-C and high-Zr steels. In 1962 Tachikawa moved to the National Research Institute of Metals (NRIM) in Tsukuba, where he spent almost his entire scientific career until his “first” official retirement in 1987. He began there as the Head of the Electric and Magnetic Materials Laboratory in 1962, became Director of the Electric and Magnetic Materials Division in 1974, Director of the Superconducting and Cryogenic Materials Division in 1980, and Director of the entire Tsukuba Laboratories in 1985.

His first paper on superconducting materials appeared in 1964 and dealt with the Nb-Zr system. Only three years later he developed V3Ga tapes with a very attractive high-field performance using Cu as a catalyst for the diffusion reaction. Again, three years later, he made an epoch-making invention of the so-called bronze process enabling the production of multifilamentary type V3Ga conductors starting from V/Cu-Ga composites. He constructed the first magnet wound from multifilamentary type A-15 conductors in 1974, which was quite stable under time-varying fields. The bronze process was then successfully applied to the production of multifilamentary Nb3Sn conductors, a workhorse for present-day high-field applications of superconductivity. The next seminal improvement came in 1982 when he developed Nb3Sn conductors, doped by a few at% of Ti, which is incorporated into the Nb3Sn layer and enhances the upper critical field from 20 to 25 T at 4.2 K by the mean-free-path effect. These materials are being used for one of the most demanding magnets ever designed, i.e. the toroidal field coils of the ITER nuclear fusion device.

After his retirement from the Tsukuba Laboratories, Tachikawa started his second career as a full professor at the Faculty of Engineering of Tokai University in April 1987. Substantial improvements of the A-15’s by new processing techniques, the development of other high-field superconductors, such as V2Hf, the development of ultra-thin filaments for ac applications, substantial contributions to the processing of Bi and Tl-based high temperature superconductors, and finally research on the enhancement of critical currents in MgB2 superconductors represent the highlights of Tachikawa’s work in “retirement”.

Professor Tachikawa’s scientific achievements are documented by four books and the editing of seven conference proceedings, around 400 scientific publications in refereed journals (among them 47 in CEC/ICMC Proceedings), and frequent seminar and conference presentations all around the world. He spent sabbaticals at the Francis Bitter National Magnet Lab at MIT, the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Numerous awards and honors bear testimony of the esteem and the international reputation gained by Tachikawa over the years, among them numerous best paper awards from the Japan Institute of Metals and from ICMC, the National Decoration from the Emperor of Japan in 1997, and the Prize for Distinguished Achievements in Research from the Cryogenic Society in Japan in May 2008. In 2000, along with Prof. David Larbalestier, he was one of the first two recipients of the award for lifetime achievement in Materials from the IEEE Council on Superconductivity Additionally, in 2009, Prof. Tachikawa was the third ever recipient of the ICMC Lifetime Achievement Award. The citation read: “The Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding work and contributions to the science and technology of superconducting materials achieved during a distinguished career is presented to Kyoji Tachikawa”.

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