Calendar Details

For more information about item submission and attendance, see About the Technical Calendar.

Thursday, November 15

A Memoir of Clifford G. Shull:
A Pioneer in Neutron Scattering

Robert D. Shull, National Institute of Standards and Technology,
Gaithersburg, Maryland
ASM International, Oak Ridge Chapter, Presentation
5:30 PM — 8:00 PM, Rothchild's Conference Center,
8807 Kingston Pike, Knoxville
Contact: Jennifer Ni (, 865.574.6538



It is the practice of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to have a memoir written for each of its members after their death. In 2002, the speaker, a NIST scientist, was approached by the NAS to write such a memoir on Clifford G. Shull, an NAS member who had died the previous year. It is suspected that the fact that the speaker's last name is the same as Cliff Shull's, as would befit his son, did not escape the attention of the NAS prior to their making this request. Here, parts of that memoir, which appeared on the NAS website in 2010, will be presented, providing insight into what type of person Cliff Shull was. You will note that the memoir is not simply a scientific biography, but is instead a history story of a new branch in science that started in Oak Ridge that has become immensely important. It is a love story, and it is an allegory on how to practice science. Interspersed amongst the many milestones of Cliff's in his development of neutron scattering as an important measurement tool, information will be provided on how Cliff Shull approached problems, and how that selection of problems was influenced by what was going on in the physics community at the time. You will note, Cliff was not the only actor in this history, but that he was central to it.

About the Speaker
Dr. Robert D. Shull is presently one of 38 Fellows of NIST and the Group Leader of the NIST Magnetic Materials Group. He received a B.S. degree in Metallurgy and Materials Science from MIT in 1968, and both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Metallurgical Engineering in 1973 and 1976 respectively from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship at CALTECH from 1976-1979, and then joined the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), now known as NIST, in 1979. Since joining NIST, he has pioneered the area of magnetic nanocomposite refrigerants, rapidly solidified the AlMn alloy in which the first "quasicrystals" were discovered, prepared the first laser-ablated High Tc superconductor, first explained the novel “attractable levitation” found in some high TC materials, proved exchange-biased bilayers reverse their magnetic state asymmetrically, and helped discover the first spin density wave in a ferromagnet. Dr. Shull has co-authored over 180 publications, edited 5 books, holds 4 patents, and presented over 280 invited talks. Dr. Robert D. Shull was a founding member of the OSTP subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET), the group, which drafted the original National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2001, and was the 2007 President of TMS (The Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society of AIME). He is a Fellow of IEEE and a 2012 Fellow of TMS, the 2009 recipient of the SPIE Nanoengineering Pioneer Award, and an Honorary Member of the Indian Institute of Metals (an honor only bestowed to 50 people around the world). Dr. Shull is also the son of Dr. Clifford G. Shull, the recipient of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics. In his spare time, for the past 26 years Dr. Shull has also led a weekly science program for pre-high school children called Adventure In Science.