Mark Leininger, lab problem solver, retires Friday, July 29

Mark Leininger

Stop by the second floor crossover today, July 28, from 12-2 p.m to say farewell.

Mark Leininger is a problem solver. For the past few decades, he’s helped Fermilab solve problems that it hadn’t faced before, such as how to bend the magnets in the Main Ring to the proper curvature or how to give computational support to an entire collaboration.

But now, after more than 35 years, Leininger is ready to tackle some tasks in the next phase of his life. Leininger retires tomorrow.

“The laboratory really gave me a nice opportunity to essentially have two or three careers technically,” Leininger said. “It was really nice to be able to stay in one place and to build on my knowledge each step of the way.”

Leininger had trouble finding a job in the tough job market of the mid-1970s after graduating college. A former physics professor encouraged him to check out Fermilab, which he joined as an operator in 1976. Leininger’s problem-solving career took off when he began working a few years later building magnets for the energy saver/doubler – the machine that would eventually become the Tevatron.

“I learned quickly that Mark was held in high regard by important people. He had been heavily involved in the refrigeration system for the Main Ring. It was his idea to use helicopters to install long sections of transfer line, a process that worked very well,” said Bob Wands, PPD, a close friend of Leininger’s who worked with him in the early 1980s. “He shares information very readily, and he taught me a lot about how the lab works and what to expect from mechanical engineering in our environment.” Along the way, Leininger became interested in computing and began to pursue his master’s degree in computer science.

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Rhianna Wisniewski