College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Ament part of the next generation of rare-earth researchers

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Ames Laboratory has a long history of conducting materials research, particularly in the rare earths. The Lab’s first director, Frank Spedding has been called the father of rare earths and mentored a graduate student named Karl Gschneidner back in 1952. Fast forward to the present, and Ames Lab senior metallurgist Gschneidner, an international rare-earth expert in his own right and widely known as “Mr. Rare Earth,” is mentoring the next generation of rare-earth researchers.

One of those researchers is Katherine Ament, a PhD student in Gschneidner’s research group, who has spent the last year studying the magnetic properties of neodymium-iron-boron compounds in an effort to improve their strength. Upon graduation, she plans to use her rare-earth knowledge to find a job in industry. As a materials science undergraduate, her introduction to rare earths was more of a chance happening. “I was looking for a ‘different’ type of project, and this one came up. It kind of fit, and I enjoy it,” says Ament.

Read more in the DOE Pulse.