Alvin Tollestrup received his undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Utah in 1944, after which he joined the U.S. Navy during World War II. He received his PhD in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1950. His doctoral adviser was William A. Fowler. After completing his PhD, Tollestrup remained at Caltech to build an electron synchrotron, which at the time was the highest-energy synchrotron in the world. He became an assistant professor at Caltech in 1953. During a sabbatical at CERN from 1957 to 1958, Tollestrup helped plan and execute the first experiments on the lab’s 600-MeV cyclotron. He became an associate professor at Caltech in 1958 and a full professor in 1962.
Tollestrup came to Fermilab in July 1975 on another sabbatical, intending to stay only six months. Instead, he expanded his sabbatical to two years while he worked on superconducting accelerator technology at the lab. At the end of his sabbatical, he became part of Fermilab's staff, and in 1978 he became head of the Collider Detector Facility. He became a founding member of the CDF collaboration and served as its co-spokesperson from 1983 to 1992. He died in 2020.
Alvin Tollestrup Content
- Alvin Tollestrup Joins Fermilab — August 4, 1977
- Alvin Tollestrup, National Medal of Technology winner, dies at age 95 — February 11, 2020