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FSU grad named new director of National MagLab in Tallahassee

The FSU-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Kathleen Amm, a Florida State University alumna, has been named the new director of Tallahassee’s National High Magnetic Field Laboratory — a facility billed as the largest and highest-powered magnet lab in the world.

The distinguished researcher, who graduated from FSU in 1998 with a doctoral degree in condensed matter physics, will start her new role May 6. She is now director of the Magnet Division at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York.

Kathleen Amm has been named the new director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory headquartered at Florida State University.
Kathleen Amm has been named the new director of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory headquartered at Florida State University.

“I am elated to be returning to my alma mater to run the world’s largest and highest-powered magnet lab,” Amm said in a prepared statement.

“I believe the National MagLab’s people represent the lab’s greatest opportunity, and I am excited to work with the brilliant scientists and staff to develop a compelling vision for the future of high-field magnet science and technology.”

As FSU and local economic leaders try to position Tallahassee as the “Magnetic Capital of the World,” the baton is being passed to Amm to continue those efforts as the capital city works on diversifying its economy beyond state government.

Amm’s selection is the result of an international search to replace MagLab Director Greg Boebinger, who announced last year he would step down to return to the faculty. He led the the national laboratory for nearly two decades.

While Amm currently leads a team of scientists, engineers and technicians at Brookhaven National Laboratory, she will oversee more than 500 scientists at FSU’s MagLab along with over 2,000 people from across the country who visit the laboratory every year.

Amm will also spearhead the MagLab’s satellite locations at the University of Florida in Gainesville and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Prior to Brookhaven, she spent nearly 20 years at GE Global Research — a division of the multinational and multi-industry company General Electric — as a physicist in the organization’s electromagnetics and superconductivity lab and in several leadership positions.

In addition, Amm’s track record includes holding 22 patents while being the co-author of over 75 peer-reviewed publications. She is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, among her other memberships in professional societies.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Amm back to Florida State University to lead the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory,” FSU President Richard McCullough said in a release.

FSU President Richard McCullough.FSU President Richard McCullough.

FSU President Richard McCullough.

“She has a proven record of success, and we are confident that her leadership, expertise and vision will usher in a new era of scientific excellence at the National MagLab.”

Headquartered at FSU since 1994, the MagLab is primarily funded by the state and the National Science Foundation — which gave the laboratory a five-year fund of $195.5 million in 2022 — as it hosts researchers from around the world who use high-field magnets to address issues related to health, energy and other fields.

Over 25,000 researchers have conducted experiments at the laboratory, according to the university.

More: A major leadership change in the works for FSU-headquartered National MagLab

Contact Tarah Jean at or follow her on X: @tarahjean_.

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Kathleen Amm is new director of Tallahassee’s National MagLab

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