One minute with Wanda Newby, wire chamber winding specialist

Wanda Newby works on wire chambers in Lab 6. Photo: Reidar Hahn

How long have you been at Fermilab?
Twenty-eight years. I’ve been the only person doing wire chamber winding at Fermilab for about 18 years.

What’s a typical day for you like?
A typical day at Lab 6 involves the winding, transferring, conductive epoxying or soldering of fine wires to create the planes of different types of detectors in the accelerator beam lines. These detectors give operators information about the beam so as to make adjustments if needed. I also provide wire chamber detector support, for SeaQuest these days, as well as working with an extrusion group at Lab 5.

How did you become interested in this line of work?
I kind of landed into it, really. I started out in this group having soldering skills, and everything else I learned from some very knowledgeable people. Over the years those skills were honed and expanded as I had the chance to work on different types of detectors for here and CERN and wire-type detectors for the Loma Linda Medical accelerator in California as an outside project (with the approval of the lab, of course).

What do you like best about working at the lab?
I like that, in my little corner of the world, I get to play a significant part of something bigger, as in the study of the universe and how it’s made, yet infinitely smaller at the subatomic particle level. I like meeting and working with people from all over the world and have made some great friendships—both at work and on the Fermilab softball field.

What’s next for you?
More of the same, I suspect (and hope). As long as the accelerators are running, they’re going to need instrumentation to measure the beam.

What do you do for fun?
I love music. I enjoy going to gigs and traveling, and I often try to combine the two. I like to read when I have time, tend to my flower garden, ride bikes in the summer and be around friends and family.

Andre Salles

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