The University of Winnipeg



UWinnipeg chemist is touring like a rock star

Dr. Chris Wiebe, ©UWinnipeg

Dr. Chris Wiebe, ©UWinnipeg

UWinnipeg’s Dr. Christopher Wiebe is a chemist-in-demand this spring. As a Canada Research Chair in Quantum Materials Discovery, he strengthens UWinnipeg’s position as a centre for scientific research and innovation — and now he is taking his knowledge on tour.

Wiebe is a solid-state chemist who has been invited to give five lectures over the coming months to share the new magnetic materials discoveries made in his lab. His tour includes the Western Canadian Undergraduate Chemistry Conference; the Manitoba Chemistry Symposium; the Manitoba Institute for Materials Meeting; the Canadian Association of Physicists Congress (Halifax, NS); and the American Crystallographic Association meeting (Toronto, ON).

“Dr. Wiebe is one of the most productive researchers of our department,” shared Dr. Athar Ata, Chair of Chemistry. “His presence at these meetings represents the world-class  research being carried out at The University of Winnipeg in the area of quantum materials.  Dr. Wiebe also trains students in all aspects of his research areas that helps them to be very competitive at national and international levels.”

Wiebe understands the importance of communicating scientific discoveries and takes this responsibility very seriously.  In addition to sharing the cool new materials discovered in his lab, he will present a paper co-written by his former student and Vanier Scholar, Alannah Hallas. The paper is about understanding quantum magnetism — or why materials are magnetic at all — in a new material called Er2Pt2O7. These finding were recently published in the prestigious Physical Review Letters, the world’s premier physics letter journal and the American Physical Society’s flagship publication.  

Alannah Hallas, photo supplied

Alannah Hallas, photo supplied

“Dr. Hallas’ discovery is important since magnetism lies at the heart of all of our technology — from how we store information in computers and cell phones, to how we can see inside people’s bodies with MRIs at the hospital,” explained Wiebe. “Although her work is very fundamental in scope, it was a breakthrough in trying to understand magnetism at the atomic level — all magnetism is governed by quantum theory that we are still struggling to understand.”  

Hallas incidentally is also a ‘solid’ rock star in her own right. She has recently obtained her PhD from McMaster University and is currently the Smalley-Curl Fellow at Rice University.