Canfield receives American Physical Society David Adler Lectureship Award

Contacts:                                                                 For release: Oct. 22, 2013
Paul Canfield, Division of Materials Sciences and Engineering, 515-294-6270
Breehan Gerleman Lucchesi, Public Affairs, 515-294-9750


ImagePaul Canfield, scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University, has been selected by the American Physical Society for the 2014 David Adler Lectureship Award in the Field of Materials Physics.

The award recognizes outstanding materials physicists who have made noted contributions through their research, review articles and lecturing.

Canfield’s research interests include the design, discovery, growth and characterization of novel electronic and magnetic compounds -- often in single-crystal form -- and the study of their electrical, magnetic and thermal properties. Over the past three decades he has helped discover, understand, and optimize materials with ferromagnetic and superconducting states as well as more exotic systems that have fragile magnetism that can be manipulated so as to shed light on basic questions addressing the very existence of magnetic behavior.

“Paul is an exceptional physicist and a worldwide leader in materials growth and characterization,” said Thomas Lograsso, interim director of Ames Laboratory. “He’s also an enthusiastic communicator and teacher, who, no doubt, has inspired many in the next generation of scientists. Ames Lab is proud to claim Paul as one of our own.”

Canfield received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Virginia and a doctorate in physics from the University of California at Los Angeles. After postdoctoral work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he joined the Ames Laboratory in 1993 and the Iowa State University Department of Physics and Astronomy in 1994.

In 2011, Canfield received a DOE Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award, which recognizes contributions in research and development supporting DOE. He has also received a DOE Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment Award for Solid State Physics. Canfield is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. In recognition of his research and teaching accomplishments, Canfield has received several awards from Iowa State University, including the ISU Early Excellence in Research Award, Mid-career Achievement Award and Master Teacher Award. He currently holds the ISU Robert Allen Wright Professorship of Physics.

“Of course, it’s always extremely pleasing to see world-class research coming out of the Iowa State University Physics and Astronomy Department. Furthermore, Professor Paul Canfield is also being recognized for his ability to communicate his insights into material science research in review papers and in the classroom,” said Frank Krennrich, professor and chair of ISU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. “Paul did a faculty improvement leave two years ago, which enabled him to focus on developing a course on materials research that he taught at Karlsruhe, Madrid and Oxford. Such activities further Iowa State’s reputation in research and education worldwide.”

Canfield is an author of roughly 800 peer reviewed articles and has also written general science reviews of superconductivity in Physics Today, Physics World and Scientific American. He has written essays in Nature Physics about the basic esthetics that drive the research physicist and has compared experimental, new materials research to his other passion, cooking. Over the past decade Canfield has created and taught courses about the fundamentals of new materials discovery and characterization in a number of universities and summer schools. His hope is to inspire and educate as many researchers as possible to join the vital search for new materials that will alleviate humanity’s growing energy and environmental needs.

“When Paul was a visiting scientist and faculty member, he did what we’d never done before: immediately involved our students in real crystal growth experiments,” said Herman Suderow, professor of physics at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain, “Paul set up a growth lab from scratch and created and presented a course that taught the practical and theoretical aspects of new materials design, characterization and growth. When I saw the excitement on our students’ faces when they first opened an ampoule and saw the beautiful crystals inside, I knew they shared Paul’s excitement for crystal growth. The students had such a great time that when they did a group photo at the end of the year they titled it ‘Canfield’s Year.’ In my view, Paul will be an excellent holder of the Adler Award, and he will encourage others in the much needed combination of teaching and frontier research. I know I keep learning from him, both in teaching and in science.”

“Paul’s an extraordinary physicist and his lively personality is naturally inquisitive and engaging,” said Bruce Harmon, Ames Laboratory scientist and Canfield’s longtime colleague. “Paul uses his passion for science to motivate others, teaching and mentoring a number of students that have gone on to then spread a ‘Canfield love of science” in their roles in research and teaching.”

According to the APS award citation, Canfield was selected because of “his outstanding mentoring and enthusiastic communication of the excitement and importance of materials physics; and for his development and elucidation of superconductivity in magnesium-diboride and iron-pnictide” materials.

APS will present the award to Canfield at its meeting in March 2014, where Canfield will give an invited talk. The award consists of a certificate and honorarium.

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.