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In Memoriam: Myron Strongin (1935 - 2013)
Senior Physicist Emeritus, Electron Spectroscopy
Fellow, American Physical Society
When Myron Strongin first came to the Lab, he helped establish the Cooperative Superconductivity Program, and his research focused on surface superconductivity and the study of ultra-thin films. This work led to the discovery at BNL of the insulator-superconductor transition in ultra-thin films -- the point at which a material changes from an insulator, which is a poor conductor of electricity, to a superconductor, which carries electric current with no resistance.
During the 1970s, Myron's work shifted to ultra-high vacuum techniques in a program to understand superconductivity at surfaces, as well as in ultra-thin films. This led to creating unique tools and equipment that were used to study surfaces of ultra-thin crystalline metal layers. Strongin was particularly interested in the surface properties of niobium. This research was relevant to understanding the performance of superconducting radio-frequency cavities, which was being studied in other parts of the Cooperative Superconductivity Program.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Myron Strongin and his collaborators started to investigate the absorption of hydrogen in metals. In the first experiments, they measured the hydrogen uptake rate through niobium surfaces. The uptake was surprisingly small, but adding a couple of palladium layers allowed the uptake of hydrogen into niobium. These were the first studies of tailored surfaces for hydrogen uptake, and a theoretical model was developed to explain how this happens.
Also in the early 1980s, Myron Strongin was one of the first researchers to perform experiments at the ultraviolet ring of the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS). Then, after the discovery of high-temperature superconductors in 1986, Strongin and other BNL researchers used the NSLS to make some of the first photoemission measurements of high-temperature superconductors. Such measurements revealed information about the superconductors' electronic structure, and photoemission is still one of the most important measurements for understanding these superconductors.
In the mid 1990s, Strongin and BNL colleagues developed a proposal that led to a new initiative at the Lab to study the optical properties of high-temperature superconductors, and along with photoemission, transport measurements, neutron scattering, and theory, the program has made BNL one of the major centers for high-temperature superconductivity research.
Recently, Myron also played a supporting role in establishing BNL chemist Weiqiang Han's synthesis laboratory, and he worked with Han on studies of gold clusters on nanotubes. He has also been involved in developing a new program to study graphene, the world's thinnest material. Understanding the properties of graphene may make it possible to produce smaller, more efficient transistors.
After earning a B.S. in physics from Rensselaer Polytecnic Institute, Myron Strongin earned an M.S. and Ph.D., both in physics, from Yale University. After two years as a researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory, Strongin joined BNL's Physics Department in 1963, becoming a physicist in 1967 and a senior physicist in 1974.
Myron Strongin was Associate Chair of the Physics Department from 1986 to 1993, and he was head of the Solid State Physics Group from 1986 to 1995. He also served as an Associate Editor for the Physical Review from 1986 to 2004. Myron Strongin is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
At the Lab, Strongin served for a decade on the Affirmative Action Committee in the 1990s, and he was a member of the Library Committee and Brookhaven Lecture Committee. Strongin retired from BNL in 2005, and served for two years as President of the Brookhaven Retired Employees Association.
Last modified: Thursday, December 27, 2018 12:40 PM.