James Loskot retires after four decades at the lab

James Loskot

James Loskot started at Fermilab 43 years ago as a lab technician. After working in two different divisions on numerous accelerator projects and particle physics experiments, he is retiring. His last day is March 15.

During his first almost 10 years at Fermilab, Loskot worked in the Accelerator Division. He was among the first lab employees to help construct the Tevatron, building its satellite refrigerators. While in the Accelerator Division, he also worked on upgrades to Cockcroft Walton generators and at the Neutron Therapy Facility.

After that, he moved to the Research Division, now called the Particle Physics Division, and learned how to run the satellite refrigerators he’d built. He continually restructured the refrigerators as targets were added for the lab’s fixed-target experiments. He also added four strings for the experiments’ cryogenic systems. During the fixed-target runs, he helped operate up to 11 separate helium plants.

Loskot spent some time filling in at the 30-inch bubble chamber. When it stopped operation, he dismantled its hydraulic system by himself, piece by piece.

Loskot eventually made his way up to senior technical specialist. After the lab completed its fixed-target program and started up the Tevatron collider run, he helped operate the cryoplant in the CDF collider hall. During the Tevatron Run II upgrade, he created a graphical interface for operating the refrigeration systems, making it easier for operators to do their work. He has continued this work since on LArIAT, MicroBooNE, Mu2e, Muon g-2, the NOvA near and far detectors, SeaQuest and NOvA, among other subjects.

Loskot recalls the time he came across founding director Robert Wilson working on the sculpture “Acqua Alle Funi.” Loskot said that, when he responded to Wilson’s request for an opinion, “He did not like my answer.”

Loskot also met Leon Lederman. The first time was at the stables where both kept their horses. He once sat in on one of Ledernan’s Saturday Morning Physics classes. “It was very well done,” Loskot said.

During retirement, he plans to move to Kentucky and build a house there.