Zubao Qian retired from Fermilab on Oct. 7

Zubao Qian

Zubao Qian first came to Fermilab in 1981, but returned to China after a two-year project was completed. He came back to the radio frequency department of the Accelerator Division to stay in 1989 and has been here ever since. Qian retired on Oct. 7.

There were some cultural adjustments to life in the states. In China, where he was a faculty member at Beijing University, public transportation is prevalent, but in the United States everyone drives a car, he said.

“Socially, it’s a little bit different too,” he added.”In China, if you have a friend, you just stop by. Here you make an appointment.”

But many people at the laboratory helped him get used to life in the states.

Although he has been in the United States for more than 20 years, Qian has always valued his Chinese heritage, said colleague Al Moretti, who first met Qian in 1982.

“Whenever Zubao returned from a trip home to China he would talk with pride about his country’s progress in recent years,” Moretti said.

And several years ago Qian invited a group of coworkers over for an authentic Chinese dinner.

“It was excellent, the real stuff. And he did it all himself,” Moretti recalled.

But it isn’t Qian’s cooking skills that will be missed at the laboratory. Moretti said Qian is a valued team member of the department, and his skills and knowledge will be missed.

“It will take time to replace that,” Moretti said.

As Qian thinks of life after retirement, Qian said he and his wife plan to keep their Warrenville home but travel frequently to China.

But Qian, 70, said he has one main goal for his retirement.

“Most important is to relax,” he said. “I want to leave quietly, without bothering anybody. But I want to thank all the people who helped me.”

—Victoria Pierce