Memorial Sessions


1LOr2A – Harry Jones Memorial: High Field Magnets
Monday, Sept. 5 2:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
HarryJones Professor Harry (Henry) Jones CSci, CEng, CPhys, FInstP, MIET who has died aged 70, was a Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford University. He worked there for 44 years until his retirement in 2012. He led the High Magnetic Fields and Superconductivity group for nearly 30 years which was de facto the UK National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and during that time supervised 14 PhD students and 10 post-doctoral researchers. He was an inspirational colleague and researcher.

At Oxford University, his main research interests were in High Magnetic Fields, Superconductivity and Cryogenics. As a research supervisor and leader, he brought with him an intense curiosity and drive to discover new and useful science, as well as a strong personal warmth and good humour.

Harry grew up in Lincolnshire and attended The Havelock Grammar School in Grimsby. He was recruited by the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell and after his training. posted to the Electronics and Applied Physics Division. In 1968, he joined the Magnet Group at Oxford University under Professor Kurti FRS. Harry helped to equip the laboratory with superconducting magnets that including the celebrated multi-user mobile 16.5 T magnet system that was the world’s first superconducting magnet above 15 T as well as the world’s first operational hybrid magnet. Harry was one of Europe’s leading scientists producing pulsed magnetic fields. In 1987, he pioneered the development of a unique high strength composite copper and steel conductor that broke the 50 Tesla barrier for pulsed fields and eventually lead to the world’s first non-destructive measurements in magnetic fields above 75 Tesla. His many invited seminars and fellowships enabled international colleagues to invite him to help develop the strategy for higher pulsed fields in Europe, Japan and the USA. He was always interested in developing novel difficult measurements and was recognised as one of the world’s experts for accurate measurements of the critical current density (Jc(B,T)) and induced resistive transition (IRT) of both low temperature and high temperature superconductors.

Harry served on numerous technical committees and produced over 150, refereed scientific publications. From 2005, he served for a decade as Chairman of the British Cryogenics Council and served on the committee of the UK Magnetics Society from 2010. These interests echoed the strong collaborations with industry he pursued throughout his career. He was also Chairman of The Scientific and Advisory Committee HMFL at Dresden and the Europe-US 100 T council.

Harry is remembered with affection by his friends and colleagues and will be greatly missed. He is survived by Linda, his wife and life-time love and companion.

1LOr3A – Charles “Chuck” Oberly Memorial: HTS Motors and Generators I
Monday, Sept. 5 5:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.
C_Oberly Dr. Charles “Chuck” Oberly (1939-2016)

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Oberly had an amazing long and productive career officially affiliated with the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for 50+ years. He first joined the USAF in 1960 immediately after earning an undergraduate degree in Physics at Ohio State University (OSU), and his AF career continued right until his unexpected death in 2016. Details of his personal life and obituary can be found at

His AF career was only interrupted to obtain a Ph.D. degree in Physics from OSU from 1967 to 1973. In the 1960’s he was working on low temperature physics in the era when NbTi high-field wire was discovered. Dr. Oberly stated many times that his career covered the full development cycles of superconductor/hyperconductor wires from materials science to high power applications, for every major material class of wires including NbTi, Nb3Sn, RE-Ba-Cu-O family, MgB2, and also > 99.999% pure Al-hyperconductor. In 2008 he retired from the Air Force with 42+ years of official service, and from 2008 to 2016 worked as a contract consultant in the same division he spent his government career, working on virtually the same tasks.

Dr. Oberly’s research teams worked to some degree on nearly every superconductor and cryogenic technology that exists, related to high electric power systems. Highlights of his team’s efforts after 1985 include:

  • Al-hyperconductor wire development including non-reactive Fe-Ce-Al alloy sheathing, and full electrical-physical-mechanical-lifecycle characterization.
  • In the 1990’s, BSCCO wire development including coils, MW-class motors/generators, power electronics, cryocooler development, magnetohydrodynamic propulsion, gyrotrons for directed energy, YBCO melt-processing to make high current wires and current leads.
  • From 2000 to 2010, advisor to the AFRL/PR superconductivity research team developing Y-Ba-Cu-O coated conductor wire, and advancing flux pinning research, co-author of leading AC loss papers on YBCO, led a workshop on quench detection and protection for YBCO coated conductors, and was a key member of the AFRL team from 2004 to 2009 to develop a 1-5 MW-class generator with a superconducting rotor made of BSCCO or YBCO, by General Electric.
  • After around 2000, Chuck focused increasingly on power system integration issues for MW-class systems, and issues of directed energy weapons.

Dr. Oberly was proud of the many contributions of his teams for many years, and was particularly proud of the development of hyperconducting Al wire, and key patents for that wire. He was the team lead that developed Al-hyperconductor wire from basic discovery to certification for full implementation in MW-class motors/generators, within several years. Dr. Oberly stated that the achievements in hyperconducting Al wire were the key to his becoming a Fellow of the Wright Research Development Center (WRDC), which was one of many large ‘superlab’s combined to form present the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in 1997. He became the first official Fellow of AFRL from the Propulsion Directorate, in the 2000-2005 timeframe, based on his Fellow award at WRDC. As of 2015, there are only about 160 AFRL Fellows, and selection represents the top 0.2% of professional technical personnel. He also became a Directed Energy Professional Society (DEPS) Fellow in 2005.

A continuous theme in his work over 50+ years was always actively working on MW-class motor/generator development, for every generation of superconducting/cryogenic wire. Even in 1977, he wrote a review paper on AF development of superconducting machines from 1963 to 1977; Ref. C. Oberly, IEEE Trans. Magn. Mag-13, Vol. 1, p. 260 (1977). He was active at the Applied Superconductivity Conference (ASC), from the 1970’s up until 2008, and was still participating at superconductivity workshops and consulting from 2008 to 2016.

Nearly all of his professional colleagues knew Dr. Oberly warmly as “Chuck”, which indicates his friendliness, and openness and interest to connect with everyone regardless of their education and status. He was friendly to mix his professional life with his personal life, and invited many colleagues – especially international – to his country house/farm in St. Paris, Ohio. He also invited many professional associates to his 50-year wedding anniversary celebration in 2011. He was always available at work for interesting and cutting-edge discussions of work topics, commentaries on current issues, politics, and sometimes personal issues. Very typically laughter and dry humor were involved with many of those discussions. He was a true friend to many, and will be missed by many of his colleagues.

Additional Notes.

  1. A website for Dr. Oberly’s personal obituary is at The website also provides a guess book where condolences, memories and photographs can be posted and saved.
  2. Some of the information in this professional obituary is provided from oral memories by Chuck’s family and professional colleagues. It is provided with the best recollection and intentions, but may not 100% accurate because of those limitations.
4LOr3A – Bill Fowler Memorial: Accelerator Magnets XI
Tuesday, Sept. 6 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Fowler William Brownfield Fowler Remembered

October 13, 2015 (PO40). Dr. William Brownfield Fowler passed away peacefully in St. Charles, Illinois, on May 3, 2015, age 91. He was an internationally recognized expert in the fields of high-energy particle physics, superconducting magnets, cryogenic bubble chambers, and diffusion cloud chambers.

Born on March 22, 1924 in Owensboro, KY, he graduated from Lafayette High School in Lexington, Kentucky, after which he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps during WW-II and was trained as a radio operator. He obtained a B.A. in physics from University of Kentucky in Lexington in 1947. In 1951, he received a Ph.D. in physics from the Washington University, St. Louis, MO, after researching cosmic rays at the Climax Mine in Colorado. Next, he went to the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, Long Island, NY, to perform post-doctoral research that used diffusion cloud chambers to discover “strange” particles at BNLs Cosmotron. He then went to the University of California, Berkeley, as an assistant professor, 1955 – 1959. At Berkeley he and others used newly developed bubble chamber technology to discover and study new “strange” particles, such as Cascade- baryons. After that academic stint he took a staff position at BNL where he remained until 1969. While at BNL, he and others constructed the 80 inch, cryogenic-hydrogen bubble chamber, which was eventually used to discover the Omega- particle in 1963. In 1969 he took a position at the newly opened National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), in Batavia, Illinois, where he remained until he retired in 2002 at the age of 78. He further maintained scientific connection with the Lab until February 2015.

Bill Fowler is perhaps best known at Fermilab for his work leading the construction of the National Accelerator Laboratory 15-foot bubble chamber, the largest in the world. He was also a leader in the effort to build the Tevatron and in the development of its superconducting magnets.

He was an enthusiastic photographer who loved the outdoors. His wildflower photographs were beautiful reminders of hikes in the Sierra Nevada, the Rockies, or the Appalachian mountains. He also enjoyed traveling, backpacking, bicycling, canoeing, birdwatching, and skiing. He was a skilled woodworker, an avid bridge player, loved the arts, and regularly attended performances by the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera. He also enjoyed watching plays, and regularly went to thespian festivals around the country and in Canada. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Fowler, daughters and grandchildren.

(Remembrance after New York Times obituary, May 21-22, 2015, and Cryogenic Society of America “Cold Facts”, courtesy Laurie Huget, Exec. Director.)