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In Memoriam: Jim Griffin

Jim Griffin

Retired Fermilab employee James "Jim" Griffin, a Fermilab pioneer who helped to design and commission more than 18 of the laboratory's key radio frequency systems, died July 17. He was 84.

Griffin joined the National Accelerator Laboratory, as Fermilab was then called, in 1969 just as the facility was under construction. During the next 19 years, Griffin was intimately involved in many of the laboratory's milestones.

John Peoples, former Fermilab director who shepherded the Antiproton Source to completion, said that Griffin was one of the Antiproton Source, or Pbar, heroes.

"In the late 1970s, we weren't sure of the right technology for the Pbar," Peoples said. "Jim's ideas for magically shaping the proton beams with the RF techniques he knew so well guided us to the two-ring Antiproton Source that we chose in 1982. His ideas are the core of today's Antiproton Source RF systems."

Peoples credits Griffin for coming up with imaginative ways of using bunch coalescing, bunching and debunching. Along the way he invented barrier buckets, which are used in many stages of antiproton cooling.

"Jim was very skilled at turning his ideas into systems that he could build," Peoples said. "These techniques made the Tevatron luminosity exceed our expectations."

Griffin applied the conscientiousness and patience he showed in his work to the rest of his life.

"There is no question that I greatly admired him," said colleague Jim Maclachlan. "He was one of the most decent people that I have ever met, and he was always generous with his time."

Griffin was a fellow in the American Physical Society Division of Particles and Fields and a member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. Griffin and his wife, Marilyn, also began the laboratory's International Folk Dancing club.

"Griffin was wonderful to work with," Peoples said. "He carried himself quietly, but his ideas spoke very clearly. I find it a joy to think back almost 30 years to when we were building the Pbar Source and the elation we all had when it worked."

Griffin is survived by Marilyn, their five children and eight grandchildren.