John Krider retires after 28 years at Fermilab

John Krider

A farewell party for Krider will take place Thursday, Oct. 6 at the SiDet Lab C Kitchen at 3 p.m.

Engineering physicist John Krider joined Fermilab in 1983 under Carlos Hojvat, during the early construction of the Antiproton Source. From his days working with a small team at Indiana University (IU), Krider brought focus, efficiency and flexibility to his work.

“I pretty much had to do a little of everything at IU and was exposed to the full range of activities in designing, building and operating a relatively small experiment,” he said, adding that he even fixed the HVAC and swept the floor. When he began at Fermilab, Krider took on a range of duties, later transferring from the Antiproton Source to the Research Division. “Back then it was just about doing whatever needed to be done.”

Composed under pressure and trusted by his colleagues, Krider accepted the toughest projects, finishing them with little fanfare and finding himself always in high demand.

“People came to him to get stuff done,” longtime colleague Hogan Nguyen said. “With a little bit of his time, he got a lot done.”

Hogan also added, “He treated everyone the same high level of professionalism and decency – whether you’re an eminent physicist or it was your first day in the laboratory.”

When pushed, Krider still excelled. In the early 1990s, xenon, a rare and costly gas, was being used at an exorbitant pace in the KTeV Transition Radiation Detectors project. KTeV was then the world’s largest TRD and Krider knew the detector well – he had helped build it. To overcome the hurdle, Krider developed a loop to purify and recirculate the gas.

“The system was a very innovative, ingenious solution,” physicist Erik Ramberg said. “He had to use a lot of glue, but the chambers and system performed marvelously.”

At Fermilab, Krider has been instrumental in wire chamber technology for KTeV, as well as in the early work with liquid argon at DZero and most recently with the CMS upgrade and on operations at SiDet, where he was the senior engineering physicist.

“His contributions were outstanding,” said physicist Gaston Gutierrez, in reference to Krider’s work with DZero’s upgrade. He said that Krider was one of the best people to collaborate with because Krider’s designs and solutions were guaranteed to work.

“I wish he wouldn’t retire,” Gutierrez chuckled. “I hate to see him go.”

Though he’ll be missed at Fermilab, Krider is more than ready to retire.

“I look forward to just choosing whatever I want to do at the moment,” Krider said. “I haven’t had a period like that since my early 20s. when I was looking for a job.”

Brad Hooker