Fermilab Today Monday, February 18, 2008

In Memoriam: Tom Droege

Tom Droege looks at the "high-voltage" power supply that bears his name.

Former Fermilab engineer Tom Droege died, Monday, Feb. 4, at his home after a long battle with cancer.

Droege spent 25 years as a Fermilab engineer and was a Fermilab engineer emeritus for seven years after he retired.

"He was an outstanding electrical engineer, and made many significant contributions in instrumentation for the high energy physics field," said former colleague and Argonne scientist Gary Drake.

Droege is best known for "Droege Supplies," orange NIM high-voltage power supplies in use all over the world. He also contributed to many experiments, including CDF, E272, E629, Auger and DES.

TD's David Harding became friends with Droege when Harding first came to Fermilab in 1978. Harding said Droege was known for his sense of humor and for his insistence on maintaining a light-hearted atmosphere.

"Beyond his technical competence, Droege was known for treating colleagues well, supporting them strongly, and helping them to develop their talents," Harding said.

In his spare time, Droege built and operated several CCD-based telescopes from an observatory that he built onto his house. He founded The Amateur Sky Survey, an international collaboration. The group's mission was to record and analyze images of the night sky using a technique he invented and incorporated into his telescopes. He recently received an honorary lifetime membership in the American Association of Variable Star Observers for his work on TASS.

"Droege was a gifted innovator and inventor, and has several patents to his credit," Drake said.

A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 1 at the Salvation Army at 1710 S. Seventh Street in St. Charles. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund will be established.

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