By Heather Rock Woods
Innovative x-ray scientist and Stanford Professor Joachim Stöhr became the new director of the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) on October 1.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to attract the best scientists to our outstanding facilities to produce basic and applied research with tremendous benefits for society,” said Stöhr.
Stöhr has been deputy director of SSRL since 2000, and will be the pioneering laboratory’s fourth director in its 32-year history.
“We’re fortunate to have such an outstanding scientist with excellent leadership experience become the new leader for SSRL,” said outgoing SSRL Director Keith Hodgson. “Jo has a world of experience in studying and understanding the behavior of magnetic materials, particularly with applications to the electronics industry.”
In May, Hodgson became a Deputy Director of SLAC as well as director of the new Photon Science Directorate. Photon science will have a dramatically expanding role at SLAC.
“Keith Hodgson is an outstanding scientist and one of the driving forces in world synchrotron radiation research.” said Raymond Orbach, Director of the DOE Office of Science. “On behalf of the Department of Energy, I would like to thank Keith for the outstanding job he did as director of SSRL for the past seven years and to wish him every success in his new position as Deputy Director of SLAC and director of the Photon Science Directorate.”
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.
“SSRL is a tremendous asset to our nation; it advances science in
materials, chemistry, the environment, geology and structural biology. I
am delighted that Jo Stöhr will be the new director. He is exceptionally
qualified to lead SSRL at a very exciting time in science,” said
Patricia Dehmer, DOE’s Associate Director of Science for Basic Energy
Stöhr attained his MS degree at Washington State University, where he
was a Fulbright Scholar from 1969-71. He completed his Ph. D. thesis in
his native country, at the Technical University in Munich, Germany in
1974. During his post-doctorate study at LBNL, he participated in the
early days of synchrotron radiation experiments at SSRL.
“This exciting time marked the beginning of my long love of
synchrotron radiation research,” Stöhr said.
Stöhr’s career at SSRL began in 1977. He has continuously developed
new techniques to do previously inaccessible science throughout his
career. , He later moved to EXXON, then the IBM Almaden Research Center,
and came back to SSRL as deputy director and professor. His work has
focused on exploring the use of soft x-ray synchrotron radiation which
has become particularly important in areas such as surface science and
magnetism. The early work at SSRL also helped stimulate planning for the
Advance Light Source synchrotron laboratory in Berkeley. Techniques
developed by Stöhr helped determine the geometric arrangement and
bonding of atoms, molecules and thin organic films on surfaces and,
among other things, solved a 90-year-old puzzle—the origin of liquid
crystal alignment on rubbed polymer films, used in flat panel displays.
More recently he has developed soft x-ray imaging techniques of magnetic
Stöhr has also been acting head of the new Stanford Ultrafast Center, a
joint SLAC and Stanford project to develop groundbreaking experiments
for the LCLS free electron laser. He is also still leading the X-Ray
Laboratory for Advanced Materials with close ties to the Geballe
Laboratory for Advanced Materials on Stanford campus.
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