March 08, 2013
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430
Editor’s note: Hubler is pronounced “HUGH-blur”
COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri Vice Chancellor for Research Rob Duncan has announced that Graham K. Hubler, a nuclear physicist who worked for the Naval Research Laboratory for 40 years, has been named director of the Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance (SKINR) at MU.
“We were remarkably fortunate to attract Dr. Hubler here to MU,” Duncan said. “He’s very well-versed in nuclear and solid state physics and has a long history in highly responsible positions. I know him as a brilliant and very open-minded scientist, making him well-suited to study yet unknown phenomena, which is the underlying charge of SKINR.
Hubler holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and a doctorate in nuclear physics from Rutgers University. After graduating from Rutgers, Hubler took a research position with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and never left the organization until he retired in 2012 as the head of the Materials & Sensors Branch.
At the NRL, 70 scientists reported to Hubler. Those scientists were involved in experiments on superconductors, bioelectronics, radar absorbing materials, remote surveillance, ion-solid interactions and low-energy anomalies. Hubler also has had a prolific scientific career himself, writing 100 journal articles, editing four books and procuring 6 patents (with 8 additional patents pending).
At SKINR, Hubler will be responsible for leading a team of scientists that are investigating alternative forms of energy, including “anomalous heat effects” generated by, as yet, unexplained phenomena. These unexplained heat effects have been called “cold fusion” in the past, but scientists that have witnessed the heat generation have had difficulty replicating the experiments and have many questions about the process.
“One goal of ours is to understand what this heat effect is and how it is created,” Hubler said. “We want to improve scientists’ abilities to reproduce these experiments and understand the mechanisms behind the successful generation of this energy. I believe that SKINR and MU are well-equiped to approach these scientific questions from many different directions. They have a lot of the tools, such as MU’s Research Reactor and the microelectronics fabrication facility, that are necessary to push this research forward and find the answers. Our primary directive is to perform sound materials science experiements with no preconceptions as to the mechanism(s) responsible for this fascinating effect.”
SKINR was created from a donation by the Sidney Kimmel Foundation. Kimmel is the founder and chairman of The Jones Group, a leading designer and marketer of branded apparel and footwear. SKINR was created to encourage collaboration from scientists in several disciplines, including physics, the MU Research Reactor, engineering, material science and chemistry. The scientists involved in the institute will study the fundamental physics of certain energy-producing reactions of an unknown origin in their quest for alternative forms of energy.
“Funding is the No. 1 problem in this area, and we’re very grateful to Sidney Kimmel for his help,” Hubler said. “I’m very interested in this field, and this is an opportunity to help move this along and have some impact in this area. I think we have some good ideas, but it will require a great deal of effort.”
Hubler is a member of the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society. Based on his work, he has been recognized with several awards, including the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, the NRL 75th Anniversary Technology Transfer Award, and the Veneto Research Consortium Award for career scientific contributions.