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May 1, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Carter Reaches 45-Year Career Milestone at Edwards Accelerator Lab

Don Carter repairs a high voltage module for use in powering a particle detector at the Edwards Accelerator Lab.

Don Carter repairs a high voltage module for use in powering a particle detector at the Edwards Accelerator Lab.

Built into a hill on the Ohio University upper campus, the Edwards Accelerator Laboratory is Nuclear Instrumentation Engineer Don Carter’s dream career destination.

Carter has spent the past 45 years as one of two engineers who manage the electrical and mechanical systems on a daily basis. Whether it is replacing the helium source heater current meter or working to upgrade software used to acquire data, Carter brings his vast years of experience and long-term perspective to the job.

Carter began working at the lab in the summer of 1969, just after graduating high school. As a summer part-time employee in Physics & Astronomy, he started at a time when the accelerator building had just been built and was still a largely empty concrete building. His first job was to help run the many bundles of cables from the control room area to the accelerator vault, where the accelerator would eventually reside.

Faculty members working at the lab and supervising him in the early years included Raymond Lane, Jacobo Rapaport, Roger Finlay, Charles Brient, and in later years, Steven Grimes and David Ingram. During their tenures at OHIO, Lane, Rapaport, Finlay, and Grimes would become Distinguished Professors of Physics, an honor bestowed as the highest permanent recognition attainable by faculty.

“I was interested in electronics since early high school years,” Carter recalls. “During high school I worked part time as a radio, TV and electronic music equipment repairman for a local music store, so I had some knowledge of electronics when I graduated. I was hired part-time at the accelerator lab working for Mr. Robert Young while I attended Hocking College. Later, I worked at the lab while attending Ohio University and eventually earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University. Mr. Young was the electronics engineer for the laboratory. He had loaned me his Air Force electronics training manuals when I was in high school and mentored me in the theoretical and practical application of electronics. I owe Mr. Young many thanks for taking the time to help me learn.”

Working in the Accelerator Lab since its origin has been a rewarding career experience for Carter. He has designed, built and maintained specialized computer systems and electronic equipment that has been used for decades at the facility. He was asked recently what has kept him working at the same lab for 45 years.

“Talented students have worked on and learned from these developments. It is great to be part of the research efforts performed at our facility and to work with very accomplished professors, collaborators, students and other staff.  It is a rewarding experience to work with scientists from other universities, national laboratories and around the world that come to our facility to perform experiments.”

The instrumentation and equipment at Edwards Accelerator Lab remain in capable hands, as Carter has no immediate plans to retire.

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