Ray Sarwinski

Ray Sarwinski

Contact Menu

Life Span

Ray Sarwinski Passed Away in March 2011

August 8, 2012 (PO14).  Raymond Edmund (Ray) Sarwinski was born Jan 11, 1936. He was raised in Peru, Illinois, where he attended the St. Beade Academy (a Catholic high school), of which he was later a benefactor, and the LaSalle College. His academic education included a B.S. in Physics, an M.S. in Physics/Mathematics and Ph.D. in Engineering Physics, all from the University of Illinois. His Ph.D. dissertation was on a NMR method of spin-echo to measure diffusion coefficients. His advisor was John Wheatley who later moved to the University of California at San Diego and also founded S.H.E. Corporation, the first ever SQUID and ultra-low temperature cryogenics (dilution refrigerator) company.

Ray's first employer was the Ohio State University, where he was a Research Associate (1966-1967) and assistant Professor (1967-1972). During the summer of 1970, Wheatley asked Ray to become SHE's first president, but he declined, wanting to keep his faculty position. However, in 1972 he moved to San Diego, CA to join SHE as its Senior Physicist, becoming SHE's Manager of R&D. Ray's work with Georgio Frossati at the Centre de Recherches sur les Très Basses Températures in Grenoble, France led to the development of SHE's 400 and 500 series of dilution refrigerators that achieved temperatures as low as 2.9 mK.

In 1982, Ray became an independent consultant at an impressive number of institutions and companies, including Quantum Design, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, BioMagnetic Technologies, Aerojet General, Physical Dynamics, GWR Instruments, General Atomics, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, R. G. Hansen & Associates, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Hughes Aircraft, Maxwell Laboratories, CryoFab Australia, CeramPhysics, Applied Superconetics, Imotron, the University of California at San Francisco's Physics Research Laboratory, Ball Aerospace, Advanced CryoMagnetics, Tristan Technologies, Conductus, Toshiba America Magnetic Imaging, Cryogen, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Alpha Magnetics, International Cryogenics, Primex Physics, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and Aerie Partners among others.  Ray founded his own company, the Cryogenic Designs, Inc., of San Diego, of which he was the President and CEO. One of its products was coil-foil which is used in many high performance non-magnetic liquid helium dewars for biomagnetic measurements.  It became also Ray’s consulting base.

During his career, Ray published over 30 refereed scientific publications in the field of low temperature physics and technology, including papers on low temperature properties of matter, superconductivity, NMR, dewars, SQUID instruments, sensors and cryogenic refrigeration. He was also granted 30 patents for his inventions related to the development of diverse devices such as the stabilized point contact toroidal rf SQUID, vapor-shielded metal and non-metal helium dewars, integration of cryocoolers and storage dewars to prolong hold time (including the first 1000 day hold-time liquid helium dewar), ELF SQUID receivers, towable horizontal dewars, ultra-low temperature dilution refrigerators and the variable temperature superconducting susceptometer. Ray's experience included also the development of custom designed cryogenic systems, scientific programming, level detectors, variable temperature ground based satellite coolers and cascade JT refrigerators. He was also involved in design of MRI magnets for both superconducting and permanent magnet coils, active and passive shielded magnet systems, magnet shim coil design and iron placement to produce homogenous fields.

Ray's honors included: 3M Teaching Fellow, Alfred E. Sloan Research Fellow, and Membership on the U.S. National Committee for the International Institute of Refrigeration.

Ray was a special person with many interests. The long list included photography, science fiction, astronomy, magic tricks, guns, board games, poker, orchids, esoteric plants, old cars (Lincoln continental, Mustang), dressing up for certain holidays (Halloween or Comic-Con), model planes and model helicopters, motorcycling, flying, collecting old and diverse things such as angel collections, coins, juke boxes, old autos, collection of buttons, and Star Wars. He loved swap meets and would share his special finds with other collectors. He had a certain "old codger reputation". He bought his last motorcycle about 1 year ago before passing away.

He had also an interest in computers, however, he continued arguing and fighting with them to make them do what he wanted to do regardless of computer limitations. Eventually, he would call for help. But as soon as he would go back to work on it, the same things would happen again.

Ray never had an unkind word to say about anyone. He loved his two sons and his friends. He would do anything to help them and assisted in solving their problems in his own special style. His last months were difficult due to a plethora of health problems. He was prepared for his departure and settled in advance all details of it, including funeral and celebration instructions.  Ray passed away on March 23, 2011.  His ashes were dispersed on the Pacific Ocean from a cryogenic dewar.

(The remembrance above is based on information, documents and photos supplied by Mrs. Marilyn Hauck.  Additional input and/or revisions were provided by: William Black, Robert Fagaly, Eugene Hirschkoff, Douglas Paulson and Ronald Sager.)

Outdated or incorrect contact information? Please click here to update us with the correct information.