John Beamish began studying solid helium and dislocations as a graduate student at the University of Alberta, where he received his Ph.D. in 1982. His interest in quantum solids continued while he was a post-doctoral fellow at Brown University, a faculty member at the University of Delaware, and after he returned to the University of Alberta in 1991, where he is now a professor of physics. He also spent time as a visiting professor at the Pennsylvania State University and at Cornell University. In addition to supersolidity and quantum solids, his research interests include acoustics, freezing, and other phase transitions in confined liquids, superfluidity, and the low-temperature properties of aerogels and other porous glasses.
New torsional oscillator experiments with plastically deformed helium show that what was thought to be defect-controlled supersolidity at low temperature may in fact be high-temperature softening from nonsuperfluid defect motion in the crystalline structure.