University of Winnipeg chemistry professor and Canada Research Chair in Quantum Materials Discovery, Dr. Chris Wiebe, has been promoted to the Instrument Advisory Board at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Knoxville, Tennessee. This prestigious and international group of scientists oversees future development of instruments at the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) and High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Dr. Wiebe, along with many other Canadian researchers, investigates new materials using neutron beams at Oak Ridge.
Until very recently, he conducted his research at Chalk River National Laboratories in Ontario, Canada. With the impending closure of Chalk River this year, Canadians are looking elsewhere to use neutrons as probes of matter.
Neutron scattering has played a key role in solving many current technological problems, from determining the chemical structure of pharmaceuticals, to finding faults in oil and gas lines, to discovering why the space shuttle Challenger failed. For magnetic materials, neutron scattering has led us to a deeper understanding of so-called quantum materials such as superconductors that are used in MRI imaging technology. Bert Brockhouse, a Canadian Nobel Laureate, once said that if neutrons were not discovered then “they would have to be invented” since they are such a crucial tool for understanding matter.
Dr. Wiebe’s appointment on the committee as Canada’s representative is an important step for the future of Canadian neutron science.