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Jacob W

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at Stanford University


Physics, math, engineering


I received my PhD from Stanford University in 2022 specializing in experimental condensed matter physics. My research thus far has focused on synthesizing new magnetic oxides for efficient spin current generation, studying the interfaces between ferromagnetic and superconducting oxides, and spin dynamics in antiferromagnetic materials. For my combined undergraduate/master's thesis at Penn State University, I studied topological insulator superlattices and their potential applications for themoelectric devices. Scientific research was my favorite part of the academic experience in college, and it really gave me a reason to be more excited about classes. I've also had quite a few research mentors that have helped me along the way, and so I'd love to give some of that mentorship back to the community. Outside of research, I love spending time outside. I've served as the president of both the Stanford Alpine Club and the Stanford Fly Fishing Club, and can enjoy doing pretty much anything outside (rock climbing, backpacking, and fishing are some of my favorites!). With travel restricted due to the pandemic, I've recently gotten back into wildlife and landscape photography that I can do on campus and around the area.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Is spintronics the future of computing?

Traditional computing using voltage based-transistors has reached the limits of exponential growth. One proposed solution is to use the spin of electrons (spin-up or spin-down) to replace voltage-on and voltage-off as the 1's and 0's of traditional computing. This field is known as spintronics. Possible research questions include: What types of materials could be used in a potential spintronic device? How efficient are spintronic devices for computation? What would a spintronic-based computer chip look like, and how would it be different from traditional chips based on transistors? This project could take many forms, such as a research paper, podcast, or scientific blog. Image credit: EURAMET

Interactions between ferromagnets and superconductivity

Superconductivity and ferromagnetism are antagonistic states of matter. Interactions between superconductors and magnets lead to many exotic phenomena that have fascinated scientists since the discovery of superconductivity, such as the Meissner effect and flux pinning that leads to so-called "quantum levitation." Some possible research questions include: What effects occur at the interface between a superconductor and a ferromagnet? How can these interactions be utilized in new technologies? Can superconductivity and ferromagnetism coexist in the same material? This project could be done as a research paper/podcast/blog, but could also have an experimental portion (provided a student has access to materials, liquid nitrogen, and appropriate safety equipment). Image credit: ScienceAlert

Computational simulation in physics

Experimental work is not complete without a theoretical explanation, and physicists heavily rely on simulations to provide these explanations. Simulations are used in ever physics specialty, from condensed matter experiment to string theory and quantum gravity. For this project, you can pick any coding project that you'd like within the realm of physics. Some potential examples include: determining the equilibrium bond length in a helium atom, simulating Ising critical points in two and three dimensions, and probing the properties of neutron stars. Image credit: BBC

Coding skills

Python, Matlab

Teaching experience

I tutored math at Penn State University through Penn State Learning for four years while I was an undergraduate. I tutored students at all levels ranging from algebra to multivariable calculus in one-on-one sessions as well as large review sessions with up to 200 students. I've also done some middle and high school tutoring in the Palo Alto area specializing in math and physics.


Work experience

Stanford University (2016 - 2022)
PhD candidate
Penn State University (2013 - 2016)
Research Assistant
Penn State Learning (2012 - 2016)
Math Tutor Coordinator
NRC Postdoctoral Fellow (2022 - Current)


Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)
BS Bachelor of Science (2016)
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)
MS Master of Science (2016)
Stanford University
MS Master of Science (2018)
Applied Physics
Stanford University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Applied Physics

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