Alan Baumbaugh retires from Fermilab on Thanksgiving day

Alan Baumbaugh

As a graduate student, Alan Baumbaugh worked on Fermilab experiment E-2B, when the lab was rounding the corner into its second decade. He was later hired as a full-time employee. He’s since been with the lab for 37 years.

Now he is retiring. His last day is Nov. 22.

Baumbaugh’s work as an engineering physicist focused on the design of software and hardware systems. In 1985, he worked with a team to build a video data acquisition system, or VDAS, for experiment E-687, a study of heavy-flavor particles. The system could digitize video at 120 megapixels per second, so it was put to use in a different, extracurricular project as well: In early 1986, Baumbaugh and team took a trip to Australia to study Halley’s comet, recording more than 90 million high-speed images of the comet’s flight using the VDAS. They received two patents and an IR-100 Award from Research & Development magazine.

Baumbaugh also designed an upgraded beam loss monitor for the Tevatron and Main Injector and ASIC test systems and robot chip testers. He also helped design equipment at CERN.

Baumbaugh’s colleagues know him as a Star Trek fan who always had a dog named Spock. (He is currently on Spock V.) As a golfer, he had a handicap of 6 and a 5-foot, 7-inch custom driver.

For a number of years, Baumbaugh joyfully participated in a Christmas donation program hosted in his home town. Every year, he contacted the relevant trustee in his home town to find a family who had come upon hard times. He would donate to the family a whole pantry full of groceries, including a turkey and trimmings, plus a treeful of age-appropriate toys and clothes in the kids’ sizes. This he did with great joy until the program came to an end.

Baumbaugh says he enjoyed all 37 of his years at Fermilab. Fermilab congratulates him on his successful career.