The director of the lab's Center for Integrating Research and Learning is among a group of experts creating the future research agenda on women’s underrepresentation in engineering and computing.
Although many are looking forward to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday, that televised extravaganza is not the only procession headed our way. Tallahassee area residents who prefer more pointy-headed pageants can attend a parade that eschews hot air balloons and marching bands in favor of cutting-edge engineering, science and creativity.
Dubbed Discovery on Parade, the Dec. 1 event celebrates crystals, superconducting devices, nanocellulose and more. This week at the lab, several MagLab staffers are preparing demonstrations for the brainy showcase.
MagLab researcher Thierry Dubroca (pictured in MagLab t-shirt above with colleagues) and will be on hand to talk about a novel nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technique he is developing called Overhauser dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP). Potentially far more sensitive than other NMR techniques, Overhauser DNP is showing promise as a possible tool in drug development and diagnostics.
“If it works the way we imagine it could work, then it could have huge impact on specific applications, and therefore there’s a potential for industry to buy the technology,” said Dubroca, who will be presenting at the parade with graduate research assistant Adewale Akinfaderin. “It could be a big revolution for NMR.”
Other MagLabbers at the event will be physicists Jeffrey Whalen and Theo Siegrist representing their MagLab spinoff company, Specialized Crystal Processing; physicist Luis Balicas presenting on optoelectronic properties of field effect transistors; and Public Affairs Director Kristin Roberts talking about all things MagLab.
The event runs from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Florida State Conference Center.
Photo by Dave Barfield / Text by Kristen Coyne
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This week at the lab started for Safety Director Kyle Orth the same way it does every Monday: a powwow with the engineers and technicians building the lab's 36-tesla series connected hybrid magnet.
"Every Monday morning we go through the work that's going be done during the week, so we can identify the hazards that would be associated with that work and what needs to be done to mitigate those hazards."
This week that work includes removing some of the 5,000-lb. iron scaffolding used during the construction of the system that is no longer needed. Because this work involves clambering 20 feet above a concrete floor, workers must wear fall protection, hard hats and safety glasses. In addition, workers who will be inside the bore of the magnet will take precautions associated with being in a confined space, including carrying a multi-gas meter that sounds an alarm if the oxygen level dips too low.
The process is called integrated safety management, or ISM. Prior to any work that is potentially hazardous, MagLab employees review the situation and make plans for ensuring the job is done safely. Regular lab-wide meetings and posters hung throughout the facility also contribute to building a culture of safety at the lab.
Orth and other members of the safety department guide MagLab staff through ISM reviews about a dozen times a week, and groups like the SCH team start every day with a safety meeting. The team will continue those daily reviews until the new magnet, expected to break the record for field homogeneity for a high-field magnet, is completed early next year.
"It's the ISM process at the grassroots level, where it's actually being implemented," Orth said.
Video by Stephen Bilenky / Text by Kristen Coyne
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This week at the lab, theoretical physicist Nicola Lanata is settling into his office at the MagLab, his home for the next two years as the lab’s new Dirac Fellow.
As the newest addition to the lab’s Condensed Matter Group, Lanata will collaborate with both experimental and theoretical physicists to study a class of materials called strongly correlated electron systems. In these materials, electrons behave differently than in semiconductors and most metals. They interact strongly with each other, giving rise to intriguing phases and properties, such as high-temperature superconductivity, that are both challenging and tantalizing to physicists.
A native of Pisa, Italy, Lanata earned his Ph.D. from the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, and, before coming to the MagLab, completed a postdoc at Rutgers University.
Theoretical and experimental physicists at the MagLab both work to shed light on strongly correlated electron systems and other mysteries, but approach them from different angles. When they collaborate, it is like an ongoing dialogue, Lanata said. Experimentalists test the theorists’ ideas, and the theorists work to explain the experimentalists’ discoveries. Lanata has developed theoretical techniques that have resulted in faster, more accurate computer simulations.
"It is quite exciting to be here," said Lanata. "I look forward to start new collaborations and hope that the techniques that I have helped develop will be useful to the CMS group."
Photo by Stephen Bilenky / Text by Kristen Coyne
A trio of recent awards reflects the interdisciplinary strength of the lab.