18 February 2014

MagLab scientist honored for superconductivity research

Oxford Instruments has named MagLab physicist Chiara Tarantini the 2014 winner of its Lee Osheroff Richardson North American Science Prize.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The latest of a string of MagLab-affiliated scientists has won a highly respected award from a leading manufacturer of superconducting magnets.

Chiara TarantiniMagLab physicist Chiara Tarantini.Oxford Instruments has named MagLab physicist Chiara Tarantini the 2014 winner of its Lee Osheroff Richardson North American Science Prize.

Tarantini has been studying a wide range of high-field superconductors at the MagLab’s Applied Superconductivity Center, focusing on finding ways to make superconducting materials useful for high field magnets. Her research interest lies between the understanding of mechanisms involved in the superconductivity of new materials and the study of properties essential for applications in both low and high temperature superconductors.

Superconductivity is a special physical state of matter (much like ice and steam are different physical states of water) that can only be achieved in some materials at very low temperatures. While the “normal” electricity that moves through a typical copper wire encounters resistance (which generates heat), the electricity moving through a superconductor encounters no resistance, creates no heat, and as a result is far more efficient. Physicists have been studying the phenomenon for decades, and today many research and hospital magnets (used in MRI machines) use superconductivity. Tarantini’s research involves efforts to create superconducting magnets that can operate at warmer temperatures.

Tarantini will be presented with the prize at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in March in Denver.

Previous winners of the prize include several MagLab-affiliated scientists, including staff scientist Vivien Zapf and three physicists who regularly rely on MagLab facilities for their research: Lu Li of the University of Michigan, Ken Burch of Boston College and Suchitra Sebastian of the University of Cambridge.

Located in the United Kingdom, Oxford Instruments is a leading provider of superconducting magnets and other high technology tools and systems for research and industry. For more information on Tarantini’s award, please visit the Oxford Instruments website. 


The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory is the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet facility. Located at Florida State University, the University of Florida and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the interdisciplinary National MagLab hosts scientists from around the world to perform basic research in high magnetic fields, advancing our understanding of materials, energy and life. The lab is funded by the National Science Foundation (DMR-1157490) and the state of Florida. For more information, visit us online at nationalmaglab.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at NationalMagLab.