Magnet’s last stand

This team delivered a Tevatron dipole magnet to the Lederman Science Center earlier this month. From left: Sean Johnson, Darrell Frye, Homer Cunningham, Hubert Kimmons-Mosby, Brian Niesman. Photo: Marge Bardeen, WDRS

Thanks to the Education Office, FESS and Technical Division, the Lederman Science Center now houses a memento of the Tevatron — a dipole magnet similar to others that steered proton and antiproton beams in the now retired collider.

For years the Education Office has sought a Tevatron magnet to add to the Lederman Science Center collection of particle physics tools. One finally became available late last month — the last display model of a Tevatron magnet. It was previously displayed in the Wilson Hall atrium.

“They could never cobble together another one because there were no parts left,” said Marge Bardeen, head of the Education Office.

Although Fermilab’s vast store of magnets includes a number of dipole magnets, none were exhibit-ready. Most of the educational value of an accelerator magnet is on the inside, so display magnets are cut open and peeled back to expose the intricacies beneath the shell. This disassembly is a complex and costly process, so rather than calling up a new magnet to be surgically cracked open, the Education Office inherited an existing display model.

Technical Division’s Sean Johnson refurbished the display magnet and built a frame to support it. He planned the move of the magnet for the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 8, when the center was closed and no members of the public were present.

With the help of a crane, Johnson and four staff members from the Technical Division and FESS loaded it on to a truck at the Industrial Center Building and drove it to the science center. They again used a crane to remove it from the truck onto a dolly. After rolling it into its new home, they used an engine hoist to lift the magnet and put on its pedestal.

“They’d planned it through twice,” said Marge Bardeen, head of the Education Office. “It was quite exciting.”

Now visitors to Lederman Science Center can have an up-close look at a piece of Fermilab’s proud history.

Technical Division’s Sean Johnson refurbished this display model of a Tevatron dipole magnet for the Lederman Science Center. Photo: Marge Bardeen, WDRS