He's one of the world's foremost authorities in the field of materials science, and his work underpins the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which has transformed diagnosis of disease.
Over a 35-year career, Florida State University Professor David C. Larbalestier has profoundly influenced the development of high-field magnets for high-energy physics and other applications, such as MRI, that have evolved from them.
Larbalestier's contributions to the basic research of practical superconducting materials for magnets and power applications have won him the admiration of his peers as well as numerous prestigious honors.
In 2003, Larbalestier was one of just 77 engineers elected by his peers to the hallowed National Academy of Engineering, whose exclusive membership totals fewer than 2,500. In 2007, he was awarded the Cryogenic Materials Award for Lifetime Achievements from the International Cryogenic Materials Conference (ICMC). He has received two prizes from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and he is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics (UK).
Larbalestier is FSU's Francis Eppes Professor of Superconducting Materials in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, director of the Applied Superconductivity Center, and chief materials scientist in the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Already a distinguished researcher in the development of high-field magnets for high-energy physics and other applications, such as MRI, Larbalestier came to Tallahassee in 2006. With his team of superconductivity experts, he relocated from Wisconsin to establish the venerable Applied Superconductivity Center at Florida State. As part of a package that attracted Larbalestier and his colleagues to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and FSU, the Frank Shaw Building has been renovated.
Larbalestier's journey to the upper echelon of materials science began with bachelor of science and doctoral degrees in physical metallurgy from Imperial College of the University of London in 1965 and 1970, respectively. After a two-year stint in Switzerland at the Battelle Memorial Institute, he returned to the U.K. to the Rutherford Laboratory, the British High Energy Physics Laboratory. Next, he moved to the United States in 1976 to join the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at UW-Madison, Larbalestier served as Director of the Applied Superconductivity Center, L.V. Shubnikov Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and David Grainger Professor of Superconducting Materials.