Fermilab has lost one of its giants. Award-winning engineer and physicist Alvin Tollestrup, who played an instrumental role in developing the Tevatron as the world’s leading high-energy physics accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and founding member of the Collider Detector at Fermilab collaboration, died on Feb. 9 of cancer. He was 95.
What began as an experiment in a nine-ounce cup of water has been developed into a full-scale technology that recently became a finalist for a 2019 R&D 100 Award. Achieving the honor was E-MOP™ — electromagnetic oil spill remediation technology — developed from patents owned by Fermilab. The technology uses materials that are environmentally safe, reusable and natural.
The new technology is a miniaturized version of a sensor developed for the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. But instead of being used for discovery science, the sensors are developed to screen cargo by detecting muons, particles that penetrate materials such as concrete and lead. Scientists at Fermilab, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Nevada National Security Site designed, assembled and tested the small, slim sensors, which could replace bulkier screening technologies.