Chelikowsky Wins Highest Award in Computational Physics

Headshot of Professor ChelikowskyProfessor Jim Chelikowsky has won the American Physical Society’s (APS) highest award in the field of computational physics, the Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics.

As the director of the Center of Computational Materials, Chelikowsky develops software to design and discover materials for low-cost energy applications.  Potential uses include economical battery materials to capture solar energy and materials that convert water to hydrogen using sunlight for creating fuel or chemical feedstocks.  His research team recently received a $6.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to further their research.

“Jim is one of the leading computational material physicists in the world,” said University of California Berkeley Professor Steven Louie, Chelikowsky’s nominator. “His work is outstanding and has contributed greatly to our field, so I feel his work is deserving of the prize.”

The team’s software aims to help eliminate the expensive trial and error of laboratory experiments trying to predict and understand the properties of materials. “Our new code will incorporate, and thus shortcut for other researchers, the enormously complex equations that predict properties of materials solely from knowledge of their chemical composition, which is a key element for energy materials,” Chelikowsky said.

Chelikowsky is a professor in the Departments of Physics, Chemical Engineering, and Chemistry and Biochemistry at UT Austin. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Materials Research Society. He is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, has received the David Turnbull Lectureship Award from the Materials Research Society and won the David Adler Lectureship Award from APS.

He received his B.S. in physics summa cum laude from Kansas State University in 1970 and his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975. Prior to his current position, he was a group leader in theoretical physics and chemistry at Exxon Corporate Research Science Labs and an Institute of Technology Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota.

The Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics was established in 1992 as a means of recognizing outstanding work and disseminating information in computational physics. The prize consists of $5,000, a certificate, and a travel allowance to where the prize is awarded.  The recipient also delivers the Rahman Lecture.


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