In memoriam: Anatoly Ronzhin

Anatoly Ronzhin (standing) in his Fast Timing Laboratory. Photo: Leticia Shaddix

Fermilab scientist Anatoly Ronzhin died on Feb. 22. Born in 1945, Anatoly was educated in the USSR and held two Ph.D.s. He earned his physics doctorate from JINR in Dubna, Russia, and his mathematics doctorate from IHEP in Serpukov, Russia.

He was a specialist in high-energy physics detectors and worked on a very broad range of them, from various types of calorimeters (scintillator, crystal, secondary emission and others) to ring imaging Cerenkov counters to solid-state photodetectors.

After working at Dubna and Serpukov, Anatoly joined Fermilab in 1994 as a guest scientist and immediately began making important contributions to the Kaons at the Tevatron (KTeV) experiment based on cutting-edge calorimetry and photon detection technologies.  The success of the KTeV program depended critically on high-performance of photomultiplier tubes, referred to as “God’s amplifier” by then Fermilab scientist, now U.S. Congressman, Bill Foster, who worked with Anatoly in the 1990s. Anatoly was a sought-after, world-renowned master of photon detection technology and was awarded a permanent position at Fermilab in 1999 for his excellence. During his productive career at Fermilab, he made important contributions to many experiments, including CDF, SDC, KTeV and CMS.

In recent years Anatoly became heavily involved in picosecond fast timing and maintained a dedicated laboratory at the Fermilab Silicon Detector Facility, or SiDet. He collaborated on the Large Area Photon Pixel Detector (LAPPD) project and studied the use of silicon photodetectors for fast timing. One of his developments, LYSO crystals read out by silicon photomultipliers (SIPMs), is the target technology for the CMS barrel fast timing project. Anatoly was also passionate about applying these technologies to improve medical imaging such as positron emission tomography (PET) for early cancer detection and other medical applications.

He was the mentor for a generation of younger physicists and his knowledge, collegiality and dedication. He will be sorely missed.