Tons of nanomaterials: Big science and little details
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire
Please explain your research in simple words
I investigate the mechanical electrical properties of superconducting wires, with the goal of making them more suitable for integration into large-scale superconducting magnet systems such as for fusion energy devices and particle accelerators.
Monday - Who is this guy?
Tuesday - From nano to massive: how properties at the atomic scale impact the performance of some of the largest science devices on the planet
Wednesday - Research dive: what we do in my lab and why it matters
Thursday - Education dive: choosing a materials-related career focused on teaching
Friday - Chef's choice
What can the followers expect in your curation week?
How did you end up in your current research field?
I joined a superconducting materials research group as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin in 1999. I never looked back! I stayed on there for graduate school, spent two years in Tallahassee, FL at the National High Magnetic Field Lab, then did a postdoc in France at the ITER fusion project, and then took my current faculty post at UW-Eau Claire.
My research is aimed at engineering composite superconducting materials at the micro- and nano-scale to make them more robust electical conductors
How and where does your research fall in the domain of materials/nano science?
Which research project are you most proud of and could you explain it in simple words in the section we call #InOtherwords?
I was part of a team at ITER that helped optimize the large, 68,000 amp conductor for the superconducting magnet system for that device.
I work now to support manufacturers and help them optimize their superconducting wire designs to enable the next generation of big-science projects in particle physics, fusion, and medicine.
I teach a phase transformations (physical metallurgy) course each fall. I also oversee our department's senior capstone course, and further teach the macroprocessing lecture/lab course.
If you teach, which are the courses would you like to mention?
If you had 3 wishes to improve your research experience, what would you ask for (not promising anything here!)?
(1) Easier access to R1 research facilities.
(2) More dedicated PUI funding streams from federal agencies.
(3) More hours in the day.
Diging into a new project on manufacturing opportunities in advanced energy production.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 3 months?
Which challenges/questions is the nano/materials science field facing at the moment?
Fracturing due to over-specialization. Managing/integrating interdisciplinary approaches with biology, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, etc.