Meet the REUs

Aaron Breidenbach

Home Institution: University of Minnesota
Research Project: Determine the phase diagram of broken symmetry phases in layered materials
UW Mentor(s): Jiun-Haw Chu

Q: What are your physics/science interests?
My main interest is in solid state physics, specifically in spintronics. My research at the University of Minnesota centers around measuring the Anomalous Nernst Effect in epitaxially grown Heusler compounds in order to optimize their half metallic properties and gain other valuable information about the compounds.

Q: What are your other interests?
In the rare moments I'm not working on physics, I have several hobbies I enjoy. I like to play complex board games, run, rock climb, play/watch soccer and frisbee golf, among other activities.

Q: What would you like to do after college?
I am confidently set on going to physics grad school after my undergraduate education as a really enjoy doing good research.

Q: Tell us one strange but interesting fact about yourself.
I am deaf in my left ear, and therefore physically cannot tell where sound is coming from.

Q: What first sparked your interest in Physics?
Heading in to my first year at the University of Minnesota, I was originally set on being a math major. However, spring that year I took both honors E&M and a proof writing class, in which I learned I despised writing rigorous proofs, but greatly enjoyed solving difficult and more applied physics problem. I also met my research adviser in the E&M course, which only furthered my newfound interest in physics.

Q: If you could have any pet what would it be?
If I could have any pet, it would be a flying bison, such as Appa from the last airbender series. They are just far too cute and cuddly to resist, plus they'd carry the added benefit of being able to fly you anywhere, without worrying about traffic/parking.

Q: If you had a free month and unlimited funds, how would you spend your time?
I'd probably fly around the world and visit as many places as I could (preferably on a flying bison).

Q: If you could get a grant to study anything what would it be?
I actually really enjoy the research I'm doing right now so I'd probably just continue with that, just hiring some post docs and grad students to do the grunt work for me :-).