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Public Talk – Shull – April 2018

April 17 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Speaker: Dr. Robert D. Shull (NIST Fellow, Material Measurement Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD)


Abstract: The magnetic properties of materials possessing some material dimension in the nanometer regime can be quite different from those commonly associated with conventional macro-scaled materials. As a consequence, over the past 20 years they have been steadily changing the world around us. They are responsible for computers now having multiple gigabyte hard disks, and thereby facilitated the spread of the internet and development of social media applications. They may comprise the next generation hard ferromagnets with vastly improved energy products needed for high efficiency power generation in addition to a whole new class of soft ferromagnets for low loss power transmission and efficient motors for electric automobiles. What is so different about these nano-materials and why has their impact been so large will be presented. Included will be descriptions of their unique domain kinetics, their “Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR)” effects, and their “Enhanced Magnetocaloric Effects (MCE).” And it will be obvious how our society has prospered because of this “Nanotechnology Revolution.”

Speaker Biography:

Robert D. Shull received a S.B. in Materials Science from MIT in 1968, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in the same field from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973 and 1976 respectively. His PhD thesis work, in which he discovered the “reversed Curie temperature” phenomenon in Fe70Al30, was instrumental in his recent discovery of “Spin Density Waves” (a phenomenon which had been predicted 40 years ago to exist, but never found) in the same alloy system. After being awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from CALTECH between 1976-1979, he joined the National Bureau of Standards where he initially set up the rapid solidification facility that led to the discovery of “quasicrystals” in 1980. Dr. Shull was also part of the collaboration that prepared the first thin films of a high TC superconductor by the laser ablation process (awarded “Best Paper of the Year” at the Applied Physics Laboratory of JHU), and his field ion microscopy observation of the high TC materials (first ever) was even featured on the cover of Science magazine (Jan. 8, 1988). He was the first to explain the novel “attractable levitation” found in some high TC materials, and he discovered the enhanced magnetocaloric effect in nanocomposites.

Dr. Shull has authored and co-authored over 200 publications and presented over 300 invited talks. He was the Chair of the International Committee on Nanostructured Materials (ICNM) from 1999-2001. He was also a founding member of the OSTP subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET), the group which drafted the original National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2001. Dr. Shull has been awarded several NIST Director’s Innovation and Competence Awards, two NIST EEO/Diversity Awards, and the Outstanding Service Award by the NIST Chapter of Sigma Xi. He is a Fellow of IEEE, a Fellow of TMS (The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society), and an Honorary Member of the Indian Institute of Metals. He has also helped lead a 6-month long pre-high school science program for 250 children each year, called 4H Adventure In Science, for the past 31 years. He is presently a NIST Fellow (previously the Group Leader of the Magnetic Materials Group) in the Material Measurement Laboratory (MML) at NIST. Dr. Shull is also the son of Dr. Clifford G. Shull, the 1994 recipient of the NOBEL PRIZE in Physics.



April 17
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Claudia Mewes