Kevin Roche is an research engineer/scientist at IBM Research Almaden, specializing in materials for magnetoelectronics, spintronics, and other related fields. An expert in ultra-high-vacuum systems and thin-film deposition, data acquisition and laboratory automation. Roche is a key member of the team that designs and builds the automated deposition and experimental apparatus that has made his groups so productive. The IBM Research Division has recognized his contributions with an Outstanding Contribution Award (1992) and an Outstanding Technical Achievement Award (1999). In 2003, Roche received an IBM Bravo Award for leadership, involvement and for serving as a role model for diversity and diversity events.
A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Roche earned his Bachelor's degree in Physics (with honors and distinction in general scholarship) at the University of California, Berkeley in 1983. He first joined IBM Research in 1982 as an American Physical Society intern, doing frequency modulated laser spectroscopy of ionic species in flames. After completing his degree, he returned to IBM Research, where his work included research in tribology, laser interactions with phase-change media, and high-temperature superconductivity before finding its current focus in magnetoelectronics in thin-film multilayers.
Since 2002, Kevin has been introducing and explicating his work in physics and materials science publicly, making it accessible to audiences with a wide range of technical education, including the general public. In 2017 he added quantum computing concepts to that role and is now both an official IBM Quantum Ambassador and a Qiskit Advocate.
Kevin has been a dedicated science fiction fan since he learned to read, and his hobbies include building bartending robots, designing and making costumes, and running science fiction conventions -- he chaired the 76th World Science Fiction Convention in August 2018.