Irina Kubantseva retires
|Irina Kubantseva examines chemicals in Lab 6 in 2009.
As part of her job, Irina Kubantseva scrutinized silver-dollar-sized plastic wafers and reflective chemicals in an area resembling a forensic laboratory.
She looked for clues that the material wouldn't work as a scintillating detector, which emits light to signal when a particle crosses its path. It's a crucial part of R&D, catching problems before industry starts manufacturing PVC for what will be the world's largest plastic detector, NOvA. Kubansteva, who worked at Fermilab for almost 11 years, checked her last PVC piece April 16.
"She was a very resourceful person who provided continuous, reliable support to our projects," said Anna Pla-Dalmau, leader of PPD's scintillation detector development group. "She had great attention to detail."
Because of her background in biochemistry, Kubantseva's work in the chemistry lab, especially on NOvA, was her favorite.
"She was eager to learn," Pla-Dalmau said. "She was always interested in learning to use a new instrument."
Along with the other three technicians in the chemistry lab, Kubantseva was also part of the preparation and quality control of extruded plastic scintillator for the MINERvA experiment at Fermilab, as well as for experiments in Japan and Italy.
She's disappointed she won't get to see NOvA completed but plans to visit the detector's future home at the Minnesota-Canada border after moving to Minnesota to dote on a granddaughter.
Her co-workers, a tight-knit group, say they'll miss her conversations about music and her hometown, Moscow.
"We're a small group. We went out for lunches. We are friends," said Chuck Serritella, an operations specialist in the SDD group.
Serritella trained Kubantseva when she followed her husband, Mikhail, a retired DZero collaborator, to Fermilab. She started at SiDet, assembling detector parts under a microscope. It took a steady hand to align to within 2.5 microns small silicon wafers for DZero's silicon tracker and later to glue the wafers to the detector, prepare them for binding and help with quality inspections.
"She did some very precise work," Serritella said.
-- Tona Kunz