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Thursday, October 20, 2005

‘The Magic of Magnetism: From Physical Attraction to Spin Doctors’
Thurday, October 20, 7:15 p.m. in the Building 50 Auditorium. Free.
Dr. Joachim Stöhr, Director, Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL)

Most people have intuitive associations with the word "magnetism"  based on everyday life: refrigerator magnets, the compass, north and south poles, or someone's "magnetic personality." Few people, however, realize how complicated the phenomenon really is, how much research still deals with the topic today, and how much it penetrates our modern industrialized world -- from electricity, to wireless communication at the speed of light, to magnetic data storage in computers.

Stöhr's lecture will provide a glimpse at the magic and science behind magnetism: its long history, scientific breakthroughs in its understanding, and its use in our modern society. It will also address forefront issues in magnetism research and technology today, based on the manipulation of the electron spin, the fundamental magnetic building block. Such spin "doctoring" can be directly visualized by brilliant x-ray beams at the Advanced Light Source.

Stöhr is the fourth director in the pioneering Stanford synchrotron laboratory’s 32-year history. SSRL provides experimental facilities to approximately 2,000 scientists from universities, industries and other laboratories. Using synchrotron radiation—light at x-ray to ultraviolet wavelengths—the scientists carry out breakthrough research related to drug design, environmental cleanup, electronics, and many other fields.

Stöhr is well known for his leading studies in magnetic materials. His recent work has set a "speed limit" on the speed at which magnetized bits can change direction, which has a direct impact on information storage in computers. Stöhr received his master’s degree at Washington State University, where he was a Fulbright Scholar from 1969 to 1971. He completed his doctoral thesis in his native country, Germany, at the Technical University in Munich in 1974. During his postdoctorate study at Berkeley Lab, he participated in the early days of synchrotron radiation experiments at SSRL.

Read more about the speaker and the talk here.



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