posted November 27, 2007

Physics Researchers Work with Australian Company

 A new connection between researchers at Hope College and a company in Australia is prized for the benefits that it can bring to both sides of the partnership.

Dr. Stephen Remillard, assistant professor of physics, has contracted with Microwave and Materials Design (M&MD) PTY LTD of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, to contribute Hope expertise as the company seeks to commercialize superconducting electronics. "We will support their R&D organization, which is already a top-notch group of people in Australia," Remillard said.

Remillard, who worked in industry for several years before going into teaching, sees great benefits to companies in such arrangements, since they present a chance to involve additional expertise and facilities in meeting their research needs.

The components being developed by M&MD process microwave signals at very low temperatures and perform far better than their non-superconducting counterparts. The research at Hope will be centered in the college's microwave laboratory in VanderWerf Hall, and will be conducted collaboratively by Remillard, whose research focuses on superconductivity, and Hope students.

As an educator Remillard considers the student involvement to be critical. Also based on his work in industry, especially given his experiences when he held responsibility for hiring young physicists, he values the educational opportunity offered to Hope's students by participating in research.

It's this perspective that drew him back to higher education more than a decade after he'd completed his Ph.D. and into teaching, so that he could help train future industrial physicists, and to Hope in particular, where collaborative faculty-student research has been emphasized for decades.

"Participation in faculty research is one of the most valuable rudiments of a physics education," he said. "Prospective industrial physicists will particularly benefit from doing their research in teams because that is how they will function in their careers."

Remillard joined the Hope faculty this fall. He had previously held visiting appointments in physics at Grand Valley State University from 2005 to 2007 and Calvin College during the 2004-05 school year. Prior to that he had worked as an industrial physicist, including for nine years at a company specialized in superconducting technology. Since 2002 he has also served as president of Agile Devices Inc., which he founded and is focused on microwave technology.

Remillard graduated from Calvin College in 1988 with a major in physics, and completed a master's and doctorate in experimental solid state physics from the College of William and Mary in 1990 and 1993 respectively