Colloquium from physicist Robert Streubal acts as part of interview process

Dr. Robert Streubel lectures about 3D Nano Magnetism during the Department of Physics & Astronomy Colloquium in Jorgensen Hall on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Robert Streubel, researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, presented his research during a colloquium on Thursday, which also served as his job interview.

Streubel gave his presentation, “3D Nano Magnetism: A Modern Perspective on Magnetism” at 4 p.m. in Jorgensen Hall. His presentation was part of the 2019-20 Department of Physics and Astronomy Colloquium, and he hopes he can become an assistant professor in UNL’s Department of Physics and Astronomy after this presentation.  

Timothy Gay, professor of physics and astronomy, said the colloquia are often used to evaluate candidates for open positions in the department. 

“This was his job interview, as far as I understand,” Gay said. “One of the standard things we have applicants do is give a colloquium.”

Gay said not all presenters in the colloquia are applicants, and some years the department might not have an open position at all, but a colloquium is part of every application process. 

According to Gay, UNL’s Physics and Astronomy Department holds a series of colloquia annually, with presentations every Thursday for a set period of weeks. He said the speakers cover different topics, but the majority of speakers are physicists. 

“It is about a variety of topics, having to do mostly with physics, but sometimes we get an astronomer in there because we are the Department of Physics and Astronomy,” he said. 

Gay said some of the ideas presented at a colloquia can be hard to understand, whether they are in a different field or just presenting new ideas. He said after going to colloquia for 40 years, he has learned more about physics in general, but there’s a wide amount of different fields. 

“When you’re an undergraduate, you go into these presentations knowing about 6% of what’s being said,” he said. “After you’ve been going to these events for as long as me, I’m only up to 15%.”

Gay said the colloquium is an important part of the department. 

“It’s really important for the physics and astronomy department,” Gay said. “It lets people know more about what ideas are out there.”

Streubel discussed exploring structural and chemical disorder in matter, and methods of stabilizing this with magnetic order. He said his research has applications in electronics and targeted drug delivery. 

Streubel said he is less concerned with the application of his research and more driven by helping understand the way in which matter acts the way it does and how magnetism can be used to achieve stabilization.

His presentation discussed how his findings and research disprove the commonly held theory in his field that stabilization requires a well defined symmetry. He said in terms of material application, his findings could be applied in other fields, including electronic systems.

Streubel said he would be a good fit for the physics department because he believes the faculty and him can work together to share and improve ideas. 

“I am always working on research aspects which are not yet established,” Streubal said. “I think I would be a good fit for the physics department at UNL because it would allow me to pursue that with the awesome faculty already here by hearing their ideas, sharing my own and providing connections to other national labs.” 

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This article was modified at 12:56 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22, to correct the spelling of a name in the headline from Streubal to Streubel.