Larry Sauer, accelerator installation maestro

Larry Sauer

Larry Sauer, the engineer primarily responsible for the mechanical installation of Fermilab’s Main Ring, Tevatron and Main Injector accelerators passed away Sunday, February 13, after a prolonged fight with pulmonary fibrosis.

Sauer joined the Main Ring section during the early days of Fermilab and took on the challenge of installing all the Main Ring mechanical systems, including the magnets, the most visible part of the project.

“Larry, by his skill and careful planning made it possible to complete installation in record time,” said Ernie Malamud, who worked closely with Sauer.

Sauer had the added challenge of the failure of many magnets during early attempts to commission the ring. These magnets were repaired with significant construction changes and replaced.

“Larry ended up having to install the Main Ring magnets twice,” said coworker Mike May.

Sauer was also responsible for the design and installation of Tevatron magnets and associated equipment into the same Main Ring tunnel under the direction of Helen Edwards. Richard Andrews, a colleague of Sauer’s, recalls that Sauer had remarkable determination, devoting long night hours to ensure timely installation.

After briefly working at the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas, the laboratory again called on Sauer’s accelerator engineering expertise. He was tasked with overseeing the installation of the Main Injector.

Sauer retired in 2000, and returned as a contractor to participate in NuMI beamline installation.

Aside from his many achievements, Sauer was a mentor and friend to many at Fermilab. His friends and colleagues will remember him for his creativity, intelligence, wit, love of mathematics and obsession with golf.

“I will always associate Larry with that spirit of inquisitiveness, inventiveness, and enthusiasm that we had together in my early years at Fermilab,” said Tom Peterson, an officemate of Larry’s during the 1970s.

Information on memorial services is not currently available. Condolences may be sent to the family of Larry Sauer in care of Ruth Becker, MS 340.

— Patrick Hurh