Fermi National Laboratory

Volume 23  |  Friday, March 10, 2000  |  Number 5
In This Issue  |  FermiNews Main Page

Talk of the Lab

Hello Young Lovers. Welcome to Fermilab.

As a honeymoon destination, Fermilab may not be Niagara Falls, but for physicist and science writer Phil Schewe of the American Institute of Physics and his wife, it was close enough.

During the 1970s, as a Michigan State University graduate student, Schewe worked on Fermilab experiment E319, Deep Inelastic Muon Scattering. After he received his Ph.D. in 1978, the newly minted Dr. Schewe went to work for the AIP in New York. When Schewe and Californian Andrea Soder got engaged in 1981, they decided to hold their wedding at Scheweís grandparentsí house in Chicago, midway between Scheweís new home in New York and the brideís home on the coast.

"The day after the wedding, which was on, ah, May 23," Schewe said recently, checking the engraving inside his wedding ring to verify the date, "we were supposed to fly to New York for a big reception. We needed a place in Chicago, close to OíHare, to stay on our wedding night."

What could be better than Fermilab? The couple booked a room in Aspen East, where the atmosphere was quiet, the accommodations were historic, and the price was right. After the wedding, Schewe brought his new wife to Fermilab, where he showed her around his old experiment in the Muon Lab. Her reaction to this exciting interlude has not been recorded. Later, following their return from dinner at the Little Owl in nearby Geneva, Illinois, the couple watched the sun set over the A.E. Sea.

"It was beautiful," Schewe said.

When night fell, the lure of the Fermilab swimming pool, newly filled for the season, proved irresistible; and the two climbed over the fence for a memorable skinny dip.

"I got about thirty mosquito bites," Schewe recalled.

As the couple approach their twentieth anniversary in 2001, Schewe is considering the idea of returning to Fermilab to celebrate. Mr. and Mrs. Schewe could still stay in Aspen East, and the Little Owl is still serving dinner at the old stand. The sun still sets over the A. E. Sea. And who knows? This time Fermilab might even throw in a bottle of mosquito repellent.

by Judy Jackson

The recent issue of FERMINEWS dedicated to Robert Rathbun Wilson (Vol. 23, No. 2, January 28, 2000) drew responses from many readers who were impressed by Wilsonís achievements, and touched by his outlook on life and work. Here are a few samples:

Humility, confidence and creativity


I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Robert Wilson and interviewing him twice, in connection with a book on the development of the Proton Treatment Center at Loma Linda University (the book still hasnít been finished). I worked (and still do) for Dr. James M. Slater of Loma Linda University, who spearheaded the development of the proton facility and asked me to interview Dr. Wilson. Dr. Slater knew Dr. Wilson and told meóand I agreeóthat he was the single most impressive person he ever met.

I was deeply impressedóawed is not too strong a wordóby Dr. Wilson. His achievements, both scientific and artistic were impressive enough, but what struck me most was his combination of humility and confidence. Your quote from Dr. Lederman captures it: "the Whole Man."

Dr. Wilson lived in a home literally "far above Cayugaís waters" in Ithaca, New York. I visited him in autumn, when the colors of upstate New York are at their best. I remarked on this. Wilson, who was, I suspect, a westerner at heart, replied, "Yes, it is lovely. You know, most of the year youíd be crazy to live here, but at this time of year youíd be crazy to live anywhere else."

Later in the interview, I noted all that he had done, remarking particularly on his scientific and artistic creativity. He said, "I always thought if I wasnít being creative, I was just wasting my time."

We at Loma Linda will probably pay some sort of tribute to Dr. Wilson, perhaps in our Proton Treatment Center newsletter, perhaps with a more formal observance. His vision of what proton therapy could become has been largely achieved, we think, at Loma Linda, but Iím sure Dr. Slater would say, as Wilson undoubtedly would, that the search for a yet better way is never over.

by William Preston

Loma Linda University

More Wilsons needed


I barely know the difference between a particle accelerator and a hole in the ground, but I felt a profound sense of sadness at the loss of Robert Wilson.

Reading about his achievements, his passions and his viewpoints, I imagine him to be the rare individual that knows no boundaries. He displayed remarkable talents in many fieldsóscience, art, nature, politics. But from reading your descriptions I get the impression that he was really best at one thingóbeing human. We could use more Robert Wilsons in the world.

by Jeff Kauffman

A good neighbor


I live in Batavia and I enjoy the many benefits of having Fermilab as our neighbor. I regularly jog on the campus and genuinely appreciate having the open space for this exercise.

Iím writing to commend you for the issue of FERMINEWS that was a tribute to Robert Wilson. Although I am not a scientist, and often find the articles well beyond my knowledge level, I still find your publication of interest. The issue on Robert Wilson was exceptionally well done and Batavia is certainly fortunate to have the influence of such a great scientist serve to enhance our community.

Special commendations to photographer Reidar Hahn for capturing in a creative way some of the beauty of the campus.

One small issue: the caption under Broken Symmetry states the weight as a 212-ton (42,000-pound) structure. I think maybe that is 21-ton (slight typo). I think my math teacher said a ton was 2000 pounds. Maybe we could call this year 2000 the "Year Ton."

Anyway, thanks for the many benefits you provide to our community.

by Donald Moll

(Editor's Note: Thanks for pointing out the typo. The correct weight is indeed 21 tons, or 42,000 pounds. But we have no comment on "Year Ton.")

An enormous personality


I usually at least scan FERMINEWS, but had to stop and read all of the Wilson memorial issue. Itís a beautifully written, nicely varied, affectionate collection of stories about an enormous personality.

by Sylvia Wright

News Service,

University of California, Davis

Special breed of leader


Your magazine is always interesting reading, even for an utter nonphysicist. But the edition devoted to Robert Rathbun Wilson was unusual. Elizabeth Hollander, who was Chicago Commissioner of Planning under Mayor Harold Washington, commented when Washington died: "I worked for a man who always encouraged my best instincts." You make Wilson sound like the same special breed of leader. Thank you for letting me get to know him a little.

by Jim Ford

Assistant Director

Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission

last modified 3/10/2000   email Fermilab