12 September 2012

Eric Palm tapped as MagLab Deputy Director

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — After a national search, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) has chosen one of its own as Deputy Lab Director — physicist and DC User Program Director Dr. Eric Palm.

Eric Palm.Eric Palm.The Deputy position is a new one for the lab. Palm, who began his professional life as a high school physics teacher and then became a physicist, will oversee all the lab’s administrative functions while assisting lab director Gregory Boebinger on scientific and funding priorities.

“Eric’s been with the lab since 1993 — before we were even prepared to welcome users. He has enjoyed progressively greater responsibility during that time — and delivered at every level,” said Boebinger this week. “Eric’s trustworthiness, intelligence and commitment to our scientific community are remarkable, and I’m looking forward to a partnership I feel will be hugely beneficial to our staff and users alike.”

Palm has served in his current position since 2007. The DC User Program schedules time for the lab’s visiting scientists (called “users”) to take advantage of the facility’s sophisticated suite of DC magnet systems (superconducting, resistive and hybrid). Palm’s is the largest of the lab’s local user groups. Under Palm’s leadership, the facility has debuted several new resources for users, including a web portal for scheduling magnet time, the 25 T Split Magnet — which opens new possibilities for optics and other research, and “FlexTime” — which provides users with 35 percent more time with the magnets and gives them more control over managing the power consumption of their experiments.

Palm’s research interest is focused on highly correlated electron systems that exhibit complex magnetic and superconducting behavior, an area he’s explored with collaborators from the MagLab, Los Alamos National Lab, Argonne National Lab and smaller universities such as Occidental College. Palm contributed to the discovery of a new physical state that mixes magnetism and superconductivity called the FFLO state in CeCoIn5, and the first observation of quantum oscillations in ambient pressure Uranium.

In addition to his user program duties, during the past year Palm has accepted oversight of the lab’s Center for Integrating Research and Learning (the lab’s education/outreach group) as well as other senior-level administrative responsibilities beyond the scope of his job description.

“Running the DC Field program with Scott Hannahs and connecting so broadly with our user community has been the highlight of my career,” noted Palm. “I look forward to widening my scope to the goals of the entire lab.”

The lab will be providing uninterrupted user support during the upcoming national search for the next DC User Program Director, and Research Associate Tim Murphy will oversee the User Program in the interim.