Sunday, September 2, 2012 - 5:00pm
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Pierce 209, 29 Oxford Street, Cambridge

Energy Materials Lecture

Featuring Dr. Alex Zunger, Chancellor Professor, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, "The Inverse Problem in Materials Theory: Given a Target Property, Find the Structure"

This talk is co-sponsored by the Applied Physics Dept -- it is an Applied Physics Colloquium. 

Biographical sketch:
Alex Zunger’s research field is Condensed Matter Theory of Real Materials. His main interest is electronic structure of solids, nanostructures, and renewable energy materials, as well as in the development of fundamental theoretical methods for describing the above, including the “Inverse Band Structure”.

He has received the 2010 Tomassoni Physics Prize and the Science Medal of Scola Physica Romana (University of Rome), commemorating the contribution of E. Fermi to physics; the 2009 Johannes Guttenberg award of the University of Mainz; the 2001 John Bardeen award of The Material Society for his "seminal contributions to the theoretical understanding and prediction of spontaneous ordering in alloys"; the 2001 Rahman Award of the American Physical Society "for his pioneering work on the computational basis for first-principles electronic structure theory of solids."

Raised and educated in Israel, he received his Ph.D. from Tel-Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel, and did his postdoctoral research at Northwestern University, Physics Department. He then received an IBM Fellowship at the University of California–Berkeley, Physics Department. Dr. Zunger established the Solid State Theory group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, Colorado, where he has trained more than 70 post-doctoral fellows over the years. He is currently a Chancellor Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The impact of Dr. Zunger’s work is partially reflected by the number of citations that his papers received via the Institute of Scientific Information [ISI] Web of Science and by his high “h-number” (exceeding 90). His papers were cited more than 35,000 times, according to ISI. He is the author of the fifth-most-cited paper in the 110-year history of Physical Review (out of more than 350,000 articles published in that journal; see He has authored more than 600 articles in refereed journals, which includes over 150 articles in Physical Review Letters and Rapid Communications and three citation classics. ISI has declared him as the 39th most-cited physicist out of more than 500,000 physicists examined, based on publications in 1981–1997 in all branches of physics.

He is an NREL Institute Research Fellow, a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and the Director of the newly-established U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Basic Energy Sciences (BES) “Center for Inverse Design” (see

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