A. Lincoln Read was one of the first physicists hired to help launch the U.S. government’s Fermilab Particle Physics and Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia, and held senior positions within the laboratory for 38 years.
Read was tapped by Fermilab’s first director, Robert R. Wilson, to expand the research effort at Fermilab, and he later served as Fermilab’s first security officer.
“While safety was important to the lab, it wasn’t really high on management’s visibility list, and Linc tried to make sure it received the visibility and importance needed to get a good safety record,” said Fermilab’s retired chief operating officer. Bruce Chrisman.
Read, 86, died of complications from tongue cancer Dec. 27 at his home, said his wife, Patricia. He was a long-time resident of Wheaton.
Born Anthony Lincoln Read in Newton Abbot, a town in southwest England, Read earned a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from University College London in 1960.
Read was a research associate and then assistant scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, from 1960 to 1965. He then taught physics from 1965 to 1968 at Cornell University, where he worked with Wilson.
In 1967, Wilson took a leave of absence from his teaching position at Cornell to become director of what would become Fermilab. Wilson recruited his colleague Read to join him, and Read signed on as a scientist at Fermilab, where he was the fifth employee hired.
Wilson was tasked with completing the laboratory’s particle accelerator, which would be four miles in circumference, and building the laboratory’s infrastructure, including its office building. Wilson gave Read responsibility for overseeing the research function.
“Bob Wilson gave (Read) really a lot of high-visibility jobs,” Chrisman said. “At first, Bob didn’t want people to stay in the same job for long, because he didn’t want fiefdoms to be built. So people moved around quite regularly. Linc was initially responsible for building the research areas, while Bob was more responsible for designing the accelerator and operating it. So he gave Linc the task of running the other part of the lab.
In the early 1970s, Read worked in the laboratory’s proton area, on its E-70 experiment, later renamed E-288 and led by future laboratory director and future Nobel laureate Leon M. Lederman. This project made it possible to discover an elementary particle called the bottom quark.
Retired Fermilab physicist Roy Rubinstein recalled that Read would “work like crazy.”
In 1978, Read was named Fermilab’s first chief safety officer, overseeing its environmental, health and safety activities. He held this position until 1982.
In 1981, Read was active in local Boy Scouts, park district and church activities, but he was new to politics when he successfully ran for a seat on the Wheaton City Council. He defeated Donald Maxwell, a future mayor and future city councilman who was aligned and running with others who were part of the council’s majority political bloc at the time. In an interview after the election, Read told the Wheaton Daily Journal that the fact that Maxwell ran with a political ally reinforced his “belief that people in Wheaton feel like there is an innate political machine that control who is appointed and who gets.” elected.”
Read built a reputation as an independent-minded legislator. He resigned his board seat in 1983 to take a position with Fermilab’s owner, the U.S. Department of Energy, on the East Coast. Three years later, he returned to Fermilab, where he continued his research.
“He cared about the laboratory and its history. He wanted the laboratory to be remembered and recognized for its important contributions to international high-energy physics, as did all of the employees of that generation who helped Robert R. Wilson found and build Fermilab. make the highest energy accelerator in the world. world from 1972 to 2011,” said Adrienne Kolb, retired Fermilab archivist. “Linc excelled at sharing his enthusiasm for physics and Fermilab with young and old alike.”
A first marriage ended in divorce. In addition to his wife, Read is survived by three sons, Alexander, Andrew and Gordon; two daughters, Janet and Alison; two stepsons, Stephen and Jason Kettlestrings; two brothers, Gordon and Graham; a sister, Joy Carpenter; 12 grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren;
A memorial service is planned for noon to 3 p.m. April 27 at Williams-Kampp Funeral Home, 430 E. Roosevelt Road, Wheaton.
Goldsborough is a freelance journalist.
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