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Meyer Garber

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