Robert (Bob) Barger retires

Bob Barger

Robert (Bob) Barger started at Fermilab in 1974 in the Main Control Room. Since then, his work has taken him to the Industrial Building Campus, the Proton Assembly Building and even Texas. Now he is retiring. His last day is Oct. 18.

Shortly after working as a duty assistant in the Main Control Room, Barger transferred to the Magnetic Measurements Group under scientist Ryuji Yamada. He tested superconducting-wire samples intended for constructing the Energy Doubler accelerator magnets. The group also helped installed the CTI-1500 helium refrigerator. After a temporary stint with the Accelerator Division during which he helped install A-sector minisection of Tevatron prototypes, he rejoined his former Magnet Measurements Group. He eventually led the refrigerator operating crew, who cooled each of the 1,200 Tevatron magnets for test and field mapping.

In 1984, Barger oversaw the construction of the new compressor building, as well as the move and recommissioning of the compressor skid. The group began modifying the refrigerator for the larger magnets for the proposed Superconducting Super Collider and testing those magnets.

In 1993, Barger left Fermilab to join the SSC project in Texas. After the project’s cancellation, he worked in the private sector consulting on cryogenic technologies until he rejoined Fermilab in 1996. He helped DZero prepare for Tevatron Run II, designing and constructing chamber gas supply piping for the detector; helped fabricate the transfer lines and devices; and conducted operational tasks as needed until the Tevatron shutdown.

In 2009, he took over the Proton Assembly Building Calibration Shop from his colleague Jim Tweed, “who left some big shoes to fill,” Barger said. There, he calibrated relief valves, gauges, and transducers and conducted pressure tests. Frederick Davis will succeed Barger at the calibration shop.

“I owe an enormous debt to the many people at the lab who gave generously of their time and substance in helping me accomplish the projects and day-to-day tasks that came up over the years,” Barger said. “I believe the real efficiency of the lab comes from people helping each other across departmental lines and disciplines.”

During retirement, Barger will do the usual catch-up work on household work that has been put off. He’d also like to get back into competitive shooting again and may travel a bit, also. His interest in history draws him to visit some of the battlefields of the two World Wars in Europe.

Say farewell to Barger at PAB on Thursday, Oct. 17, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. RSVP to Aria Soha at to help with the head count..

“I owe a great deal to the tolerance of my supervisors and co-workers for my eccentric personality….there a lot of gray hairs out there, for which I am responsible,” he said. “Sorry, and thank you!”