FSU hires eminent scientist to join Applied Superconductivity Center

Lance Cooley, an accomplished expert in the field of applied superconductivity, will join the Florida State University faculty in August.
Lance Cooley, an accomplished expert in the field of applied superconductivity, will join the Florida State University faculty in August.

Florida State University is adding another eminent scientist to its ranks by hiring an accomplished expert in the field of applied superconductivity.

Lance Cooley, a scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), will join the Applied Superconductivity Center (ASC) at the FSU-based National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. He will also have a faculty appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering.

“We are very excited to have Lance join the faculty here and add to the already stellar lineup of scientists who are working at the Applied Superconductivity Center at the MagLab,” said Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander. “He will be an asset to our students who will no doubt benefit from his expertise and scientific ingenuity in the area of superconducting magnets.”

Cooley began working in superconducting materials as a graduate student at University of Wisconsin under the direction of David Larbalestier, who is now director of the MagLab’s Applied Superconductivity Center. He received his doctoral degree from UW in 1993 and has held positions at National Institute of Standards and Technology, University of Wisconsin and Brookhaven National Lab.

“In some ways, this appointment is a longtime coming,” Cooley said. “I’ve been working with David and many other researchers at the MagLab for much of my career, and I am looking forward to joining them at Florida State.”

Cooley joined Fermilab in 2007 and served as head of the Superconducting Materials Department between 2011 and 2014. During that time, he coordinated multiuniversity research to understand the effects of metalworking and chemical polishing on the superconducting properties of high-purity niobium used in linear accelerators. Florida State was a participant in that program.

He also worked on superconductors for advanced high-field magnets, which led to his current role in the High-Luminosity Upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research — more commonly known as CERN — in Switzerland and France. He will continue with that work at Florida State. 

At FSU, he will work primarily in the ASC to help expand research opportunities in areas where scientists have not commonly used superconducting magnets or materials. For example, he will explore how superconducting coils could be used at lower fields and warmer temperatures than MagLab’s systems to power offshore wind turbines and how to enable the use of high-power electron beams for industry by making the accelerator part compact and superconducting.

“We are delighted to have recruited Lance — he will continue in the footsteps of his mentor David Larbalestier, who built the Applied Superconductivity Center into an internationally leading program in developing high power superconducting magnets that has fueled the MagLab and the College of Engineering,” said FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Dean Murray Gibson. “We expect Lance to build on David’s accomplishments with the center and bring some exciting new directions.”

Cooley will join FSU in August and will begin his teaching duties in the spring 2018 semester.