Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The end of an era

Fermilab tore down the old CDF trailers.

I remember being grumpy about having to move from the 15'th floor of the high rise where I shared half a desk. True, there was more room in the trailers and one could be much closer to the experiment, but all the meeting rooms were in the high rise, and so was the cafeteria and the main computing center (ie where you could pick up your printouts). I was doing software instead of hardware, so it didn't matter how close I was to the scopes. After a short while it didn't matter at all since I was transferred back to Madison and no longer had a permanent desk at Fermilab anyway.

The floors gave underfoot, and one window in the Wisconsin trailer (we had 2 rooms of about 6 in the trailer) never did work right, and the heat wasn't great in the winter and a couple of the grad students were less than neat. But what the heck, it was home away from home--if I could land an open desk. A couple of the students adopted some stray kittens for a couple of months--until they grew big enough to climb over the barricades.

People would tack up some memento of a party, or a cartoon that struck their fancy, and those would fade on the bulletin board years after the student graduated or the postdoc was teaching far away. Phone numbers decades out of date and a fortune cookie strip--we never got around to cleaning things up. When I emptied out my stuff (what little there was) a few years ago I took down the pictures of the older kids holding our new baby that I'd put up. Said baby was now 15.

The trailers were expanded, and then expanded again, and then a second row of trailers was added, and in the end somebody built a permanent building (you can see it at the bottom) with cubicles and a large meeting room. The trailers saw dumb terminals (with terminal servers down the hall), and then some printers, and then a few workstations, and one day flat screen monitors (awful resolution, but you could actually fit around a desk again!). And then the experiment was over, and I changed to IceCube, and I haven't been back to the trailers since. (The last things I was doing in the trailers had to do with corralling a grad student who'd failed but couldn't contemplate leaving--and somehow had managed to squirrel away quite a lot of personal property in odd corners. Wisconsin was dropping out and everything must go--and that meant him and his stuff too.)

I'm not sure who took the pictures.

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