Fred Goulding, Distinguished Staff Senior Scientist
1925 – 2013
Fred, a native of England, began his electronics career as a young graduate working on radar during World War II. He later moved to Canada where he was involved in the development of nuclear instrumentation for the Chalk River Laboratories, a Canadian nuclear research facility. While at Chalk River, he eventually became head of the electronics group; Fred developed the expertise in nuclear particle detection, which was to become a unifying theme of his long and distinguished career. In 1960, Fred was recruited to the Laboratory and joined what was then known as the Nuclear Chemistry Division as a group leader for electronics instrumentation.
This was a particularly dynamic period in Laboratory history. The 88-inch cyclotron had recently been commissioned, the search for transuranic elements was actively being pursued at the HILAC, and the Bevatron was at the peak of its productivity as a premier facility for elementary particle physics. Fred’s familiarity with electronics for experimental physics was a particularly welcome addition to the Laboratory.
This was also a time when semiconductor devices were first being introduced into the world of experimental physics. Fred’s demonstrated experience in electronic circuit design using discrete transistors was rapidly exploited with his development of state-of-the-art pulse processing systems for nuclear measurements. Semiconductor diodes for nuclear particle detection were also under active investigation at a number of institutions. Fred was quick to contribute his talents to emerging detector research projects within the Lab. Success in the design and fabrication of silicon diodes was quickly achieved. These became critically important tools for the study of nuclear reactions at Laboratory accelerators. Subsequent developments in the fabrication of lithium drifted germanium detectors revolutionized gamma-ray spectroscopy. Also significant was the design of low-noise preamps and pulse shaping networks needed to exploit the unique features of semiconductor diode detectors. As a consequence of the contributions by Fred and his colleagues, the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory quickly became recognized as one of the world leaders in the exploitation of these new technologies and Fred’s international reputation emerged.
Fred’s importance to the Lab was also highlighted by the contributions he made through direct support of nuclear physics research staff. Custom radiation detection and pulse processing systems designed by Fred and his colleagues enabled sophisticated experiments unique to the Lab. Goulding-designed electronic modules were a common sight in the experimental counting areas throughout the Lab. Fred was frequently cited by Laboratory research staff as a major contributor to the success of a variety of research projects.
Over the next several decades, Fred continued in his leadership role in the area of nuclear instrumentation and measurement science. He was quick to recognize emerging areas of science and technology likely to be important to experimental science. Under his guidance, the Laboratory developed a strong program in Ge materials and detector technology culminating in the development of large-volume high-purity Ge gamma-ray detectors. These have become the standard in the industry with application in fields as diverse as medical imaging, gamma-ray astronomy and homeland security. Silicon X-ray detectors, whose development was likewise facilitated through Fred’s efforts, are also widely used in analytical x-ray spectroscopy for environmental monitoring and other applications.
As Fred’s career success continued, in 1977 his role expanded to that of Department Head for Measurement Science within the Engineering Division. The title was chosen by Fred to reflect his conviction that much of the science involved in experimental physics lay in the development of sophisticated tools with which to perform the measurements. In addition to his continuing interest in detector technology, Fred’s responsibilities included oversight of larger groups involved in instrumentation for initiatives such as the early Time Projection Chamber and Keck Telescope among others. Given his depth of knowledge of physics and engineering concepts, Fred was able to understand the fundament issues involved at a depth exceeding that of typical managers. He was also instrumental in supporting the introduction of modern computer technology and integrated circuit design into the portfolio of techniques available to Lab researchers.
In spite of Fred’s long and productive research career, his most enduring legacy might well be the generations of young scientists, engineers and technical staff whom he mentored and inspired. Fred was a leader who was quick to share his ideas with others and was committed to the success of those who worked with him. As most good scientists, he was able to communicate his insights to a diverse audience. His creative approach to problem solving served as a model for others to emulate. Many of his protégés remained in the Laboratory for the duration of their careers, others moved on to success in academia, industry and other national Labs. All carry with them a strong sense of respect and gratitude for Fred’s contribution to their careers.
In a Lab where the expectation for excellence remains high, Fred still stands out among most of his peers as a unique individual who contributed to the success of the Lab in ways too numerous to chronicle. He contributed technically to a diverse range of programs that covered most aspects of the Lab’s mission. He won the respect of a diverse group of collaborators with whom he worked and the gratitude of the dozens of colleagues whose careers he enhanced. His achievements were recognized across the international scientific community. He was one of a handful of researchers who has been honored by the Lab with the classification of Distinguished Staff Senior Scientist.
Fred retired from the Lab in 1991. However, he remained active in research for many years afterward enjoying his new freedom from responsibility to pursue his own research interests. He passed away on July 2, 2013 at the age of 88 and is survived by his wife, Eve and son, Derek.