Ryuji Yamada retires this week

Ryuji Yamada

When newly appointed Director Bob Wilson invited Ryuji Yamada to participate in the 1967 summer workshop in Oak Brook to design what would become Fermilab, Ryuji was already experienced both in executing particle physics experiments and in building and testing accelerator magnets. He has continued to pursue both fields since joining the National Accelerator Laboratory in March 1968 as employee number 114. Ryuji retires Friday.

Ryuji recalls with fondness the exciting days of building the Main Ring. The goals were challenging and the setbacks were many, but with hard work and ingenuity the Main Ring team pushed through and brought the project to completion on time and under budget. He is especially proud of the magnet designs, which CERN directly copied in building the Super Proton Synchrotron.

His first experiments here were a series of internal target experiments at CZero, led by scientist Ernie Malamud, that included a pioneering collaboration with the USSR’s JINR.

Ryuji Yamada and fellow scientists congregate in the National Accelerator Laboratory 200-BeV control room in 1972. From left, they are Dave Sutter, Sandro Ruggiero, Frank Cole, Ryuji Yamada, Jim Griffin and Stan Snowdon. Photo: Fermilab

With the Main Ring complete, Ryuji entered the R&D effort on superconducting magnets, studying niobium-titanium strands, making model magnets and building the Magnet Test Facility. Merging his interests, he promoted the Japanese contribution of a superconducting solenoid for CDF and, later, their construction of one for DZero.

In recent years Ryuji has contributed to the development of both Nb3Sn and
Nb3Al superconductors for accelerator magnets, as well to DZero searches for the top quark and Higgs boson.

Colleagues also know Ryuji for his dedication to mentoring students. He finds top students, defines excellent magnet modeling projects for them, guides them expertly and learns from them.

Though he retires this week, Ryuji plans to continue his search for the Higgs boson in the DZero data.

“I have really enjoyed working at Fermilab, together with many excellent physicists, engineers, technicians, other staff and students at each stage,” he said.