Contact: Kristin Roberts
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (National MagLab) scientists have received highly competitive CAREER awards from the National Science Foundation for their significant early career accomplishments in research and education.
Physicist Christianne Beekman, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Florida State University (FSU), and chemist Yan-Yan Hu, an assistant professor in FSU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, both received the award, which supports scholars in the early stages of their careers as they develop their long-term research programs.
The grants, said MagLab Director Greg Boebinger, put Beekman and Hu in a rarefied group.
"It's a mark that they are contributing on a national level," Boebinger said. "This is a substantial award, and it really changes the landscape for two researchers who are very deserving."
The awards also showcase the institution's interdisciplinary strength, he added. "Their work shows that materials science spans many of the traditional academic disciplines here at the lab."
Both scientists will receive about half a million dollars over five years from the NSF to pursue their research projects.
Beekman and her team will investigate electron spin — or rotational momentum — in frustrated magnets and its potential as an information carrying system in next-generation technologies like quantum computers. After receiving her doctorate from Leiden University in the Netherlands in 2010, Beekman worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She joined FSU and the MagLab in 2014. Read more about Beekman's research.
Hu will explore the fundamental chemistry of structural defects in materials in order to advance understanding of why defects occur and how they might be more effectively harnessed. She and her team will work toward both the creation of functional defects in technologically important materials and the minimization of harmful defects that could compromise material performance. Her research could help improve technologies crucial to energy conversion and storage, data manipulation, sensors and actuators. Hu received her doctorate from Iowa State University and worked as a Newton Fellow and Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge before arriving at FSU and the MagLab in 2014. Read more about Hu's research.