The History of InfoAge Science & History Museums

Oral Histories -Oral History of EDWARD GROEBER

Interviewee: EDWARD GROEBER

Interviewer: Michael Ruane
Date: 1998?
Place: Camp Evans – 9039
Media: NTSC Video
Summary: Mr. Irv Bauman

TAPE 16

EDWARD GROEBER

He joined Evans Lab in July 1972, assigned to the CS/TA Lab until 1980 in Bldg. 51. In 1980-1994, he moved to Bldg. 2705 working on Nuclear Radiation Detecting Equipment in development and into production. He presently works as a Project Manager in Edgewood, Md. with CECOM furnishing support with workers and matrix. Ed started as a Project Engr. working on Radiation Equipment in the Radiac R&D Group. Then he became a Branch Chief in 1985. In 1994, he transferred from CECOM to PMNBC, Radiac Product Management for Army.

Ed’s work involved the development of handheld items to detect Nuclear Radiation on the Battlefield. One of two devices senses the onset of approaching radiation; the other, a dosimeter, to indicate radiation levels. The industry has used several related devices, and much of the Army’s items are based on these commercially available items.

Ed was then asked to share a story about work experiences. He spoke of a Lab Director who visited Stan Kronenberg’s lab one day. Though Stan himself was his guide, this Director wanted a guarantee from Stan that he wouldn’t become irradiated. Stan reassured him that he would monitor radiation levels, during a walk-thru, but, upon activating his dosimeter, it began screeching a warning. Stanley couldn’t understand, at first, why this occurred since all sources of radiation were well protected. Upon questioning, the Director revealed that he had just had a stress test, during which he may have exposed himself in a radioactive environment and thus himself becoming radioactive.

Another anecdote about VanDerGraf Juice. VanDerGraf was a static electric generator which required pure grain alcohol (180 proof) in conjunction with its use. This was purchased in 55-gallon drums. One Xmas during an afternoon party, orange juice, ginger ale, club soda, and the alcohol were mixed to provide a punch for celebrants. Ed, who does not drink, left the party early. The next working day, one of his coworkers showed up late with a bad hangover. Ed learned that the man had entered the john, sat down on the seat, and couldn’t get up until 7:30 PM, that evening. Finding the building deserted, he came to the Evans gate to leave. The guard took one look at that man and let him pass, aware of his inebriated condition. Still another story about Bldg. 52. It seems a young technician chased a large rat found within the building, but which turned out to be a ground squirrel. A colleague advised him to arrange for Dispensary Shots for Bubonic Plague, for all employees. When the technician started towards the Dispensary, he was advised of the joke leveled at him.

Again, another anecdote. Ed needed an Ultra Violet light source and searched for a supplier, finally contacting a California company’s marketeer who referred Ed to an Army UV Light Source expert working in Bldg. 49, Evans, next door to Ed’s Lab.
Ed said that many patents were obtained by Evan’s Engineers. He went on to say that he spent 4 yrs in US AF at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, NM as a 2nd Lt. assigned to their Radiation Detection Program. At Joint Service meetings, he learned that Army had a similar program, and because his parents and in-laws lived in NYC, he chose to work close to his family, selecting Army employment as a civilian engineer.

When he arrived at Evans, he found its numbers had dwindled from several thousand to 1000. Amongst those in the CS/TA Lab, he found an interesting diversity in a related group activity. In 1981, Dr. Stanley Kronenberg, after being turned down by FEMA, decided to return to Evans for 3/4 time, working with Ed on his projects in Bldg. 9010A. Ed truly enjoyed working with Stanley, who could not take off his “thinking cap” on Friday afternoon, looking forward to resuming his work on Monday AM. Ed worked with Stan for 30 yrs. and remarked that he, Ed, would be eligible for retirement in 2 yrs, 7 months, and 14 days, but that he really wasn’t counting time, since he really enjoys his work.

Though Ed like Chemistry in High School, he found Chemical Engineering more to his satisfaction, choosing Nuclear Engineering in college. He remarked students should keep their minds open when faced with choices for a major subject to study. One cannot plan too early, in one’s quest for educational choices; rather one should follow his innate instincts.

Another joke followed: Dr. Kronenberg was driving with his wife & daughter and suddenly laughed out loud. His wife asked him why. He responded that he had reached an understanding of a punch line in one of Ed’s jokes. Ed concluded his interview by stating that Dr. Kronenberg’s wife, who has a Ph.D., helps her husband solve Math problems which “bug him”.

33 min.

Page updated January 2, 2004  page created August 2, 2002

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