25 January 2013

Thomasville Science Café: Cutting-edge science at the MagLab


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — If you’re curious about high-tech research — what’s going on, where it could lead — don’t miss the next Thomasville Science Café on Jan. 29.

Greg BoebingerGreg BoebingerSpeaking at Thomas University’s Campus Center will be MagLab Director Greg Boebinger, a scientist who has mastered the rare art of explaining high-magnetic field research to nonscientists. The café begins at 6:30 p.m. and lasts until 8 p.m.

“This is going to be an easily accessible talk about the science that’s done at the Magnet Lab, with particular focus on areas such as energy, health and materials research,” says Boebinger, who is also a Florida State University physics professor.

He’ll touch on how exploring new materials and re-examining the ones we already use has radically changed the way we live.

“People probably don’t know that the cellphone they’re carrying around has dozens of materials that didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago,” Boebinger says. “Often, with the research that’s done today, we don’t know what its applications will eventually become. So I’ll talk about the nature of basic research and speculate on the revolutionary future it may help enable.”

The MagLab has the world’s best MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine — and one of the strongest — which makes it a hot spot of cutting-edge biomedical research. But the lab is also home to the most powerful magnet of its kind on the planet: the mammoth 45 tesla hybrid magnet, where high-tech materials research goes on. Some of the energy research underway at the lab could result in incredible advances.

“You might be able to just fold up a solar cell one day, put it in your pocket, and then when you get to wherever you’re going, you just unfold it and put it in the sun and power your electronics,” says Boebinger. “The world of the future is going to be a very cool place.”

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.