Prof. Giulia Galli honored for innovative use of supercomputers to predict how materials behave
There are few scientists who would describe condensed matter physics—a branch that studies the behavior of solid matter—as “simple.” But to Prof. Giulia Galli, it’s less complex than the problems she works on at the University of Chicago.
“Problems like water and energy are much more complicated than what I was trained for in condensed matter physics,” she said. “All of my work is driven by problems.”
It’s complex problems like these that the Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering—the first of its kind to focus on this emerging field—was set up to solve. And it’s the kind of innovative research that Galli, a theorist who uses computational models to figure out the behavior of molecules and materials, is helping tackle through her pioneering work.
The focus of Galli’s studies is to understand and predict how to harness molecular behavior to improve technology, particularly in the areas of purifying water, speeding up computation and sensing with quantum technology, and perfecting renewable energy technology.
“Essentially, we predict how atoms arrange themselves,” explained Galli, the Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at UChicago. “We do this by developing theoretical algorithms and powerful codes and simulations in order to understand the quantum mechanics at play in a given material.”
Photo by Jean Lachat.