Exploring the lab

The Tagged Photon Lab in the 1990s boasted occasional wildlife. Photo: Fermilab

One summer I was working under the supervision of Marleigh Sheaff, who was a user at University of Wisconsin–Madison. We were doing some calibration work with transition radiation detectors. We worked in the Tagged Photon Lab, and for whatever reason, it was exciting to get the key to open up the enclosure and go inside. There were snakes, dead spiders and squirrels in the old beamline where E769 and E791 used to be. I’m still trying to find the exact same gate and lab I used to go into.

Sometimes as a student you work late, and you wander around different floors. I could never get over the fact that Wilson Hall has no office numbers — at least it hasn’t had them for a long time. (There are a few office numbers these days.) One time I found a supply cabinet, and sitting there was a notebook, one of those quadrille engineering note pads. I was excited. I thought, “Could I have a notebook from Fermilab? Would I be stealing? But I’m going to use it for my summer job!” I took it, and I used it. I kind of wish I’d taken more, but I didn’t! I was a good citizen.

Tim Meyer is the Fermilab chief operating officer.