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John Alcorn

John Alcorn

February 29, 1932 to September 7, 2017
John Stewart Alcorn (around 1990)

November 22, 2017 (PO61).  John Stewart Alcorn was born on February 29, 1932, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His family moved to Houston, Texas in 1935, where he grew up. He graduated from The Rice Institute (now Rice University) in 1955, with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. In the United States Navy Reserve, he was commissioned as Ensign.

As an engineer, he joined Aerojet General Nucleonics, San Ramon, from 1958 till 1961 and did transportation studies for laboratory scale, gas cooled, mobile reactors. From 1961 till 1965, he worked for William Brobeck & Associates in Oakland, designing electromagnets, dipoles, and quadrupoles for HEP research at the Rad Lab and at LLL. For the next 10 years, from 1965 till 1975, he was involved in the design, fabrication, and installation of the copper magnet for the 40-inch liquid hydrogen bubble chamber at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. In this context, he worked also on the design and fabrication of various copper beam handling magnets and the design, construction, installation, and testing of the Large Aperture Superconducting Solenoid, (LASS).

In 1975, he joined the General Atomic Company, San Diego, for the next 14 years, till 1989, working there on the design and construction of a number of superconducting magnets for high energy physics, power fusion research, superconducting magnetic energy storage and power grid leveling. From 1989 on he had the oversight on design, manufacturing, testing and installation of the large superconducting dipole and quadrupole magnets as the Hall A engineer in charge.

Later, he was consultant and advisor to LANL with respect to the reactivation of the LASS solenoid in the MEGA configuration, and also to Indiana University with respect to the reactivation of the LASS - MEGA solenoid within the framework of Hall D at JLab, where he also advised with the reconfiguration for the purposes of GLUEX.


A Personal Memoir.

Fall of 1964. A meeting took place in Building M1 at the Stanford University, then still known as the Farm, at which the need for someone to design and build a magnet for the planned hydrogen bubble chamber was recognized as essential. A young engineer, John Alcorn by name, was recruited a little later from the engineering pool at the fledgling Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, SLAC, and assigned to do just that in the nascent Hydrogen Bubble Chamber Group where I met him for the first time. John was magnets, I was cryogenics, different interests, yes, but somehow, we gravitated together. John professed to be a runner, I claimed to be a bicyclist, we both played tennis, we both loved to hike in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada. We both loved a good discussion, political or technical, which was not important. John was not a reticent character by any means but it took me quite some time before I found out that he was a highly talented artist who expressed the newsworthy events of the day in elaborate pencil compositions somewhat in the manner of Diego Rivera but on a much smaller scale and much more delicately. I also found that John had a fiery temper, just like that artist, offset by an