Press Release: Stöhr to Direct Synchrotron Radiation Lab
Stanford Professor Joachim Stöhr, an
innovative x-ray scientist, will become the new director of the Stanford
Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL) on Oct. 1.
Deputy director of SSRL since 2000, Stöhr will be the fourth director in
the pioneering laboratory's 32-year history.
"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.
A Division of the Department of Energy's Stanford Linear Accelerator
Center in Menlo Park, 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.
"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. SSRL, Linac Coherent Light Source,
which will be the world's first hard x-ray free electron laser, and the
new Stanford Ultrafast Science Center will give SLAC an unparalleled
range of experimental facilities.
"Keith Hodgson is an outstanding scientist and one of the driving forces
in world synchrotron radiation research," said Raymond L. 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."
Jo 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.
"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
the Office of Basic Energy Sciences. "SSRL is a tremendous asset to our
nation; it advances science in materials, chemistry, the environment,
geology, and structural biology."
Stöhr received his mater'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 Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory, 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 has continuously developed new techniques to do previously
inaccessible science throughout his career, which started at SSRL in
1977, moved to EXXON, then the IBM Almaden Research Center, and 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 Advanced
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.
That research led to new materials and processes for use in tomorrow's
flat panel displays. More recently he has developed soft x-ray imaging
techniques of magnetic nanostructures.
Stöhr has also been acting head of the new Ultrafast Science Center, a
joint SLAC and Stanford project to develop groundbreaking experiments
for the LCLS free electron laser. He still leads SSRL's X-Ray Laboratory
for Advanced Materials, which has close ties to the Geballe Laboratory
for Advanced Materials on Stanford campus.
by Heather Rock Woods