Computational Methods in Physics, Chemistry & Materials Science

  • Professors Pulickel Ajayan, Robert Vajtai, Ming Tang, and Hanyu Zhu lead research on Energy Generation & Storage. New and better-understood nanomaterials are at the forefront of making more affordable, higher-performing, and environmentally sound systems for energy production and storage.
  • Professors Boris Yakobson and Ming Tang work on Theory, Modeling & Computation, exploring the material world at the naco, micro, and macro scales utilizing sophisticated theories and state of the art computational tools.  
  • Professors Boris Yakobson and Hanyu Zhu lead research on Quantum Materials, taking some of the most recent advances in physics and use them to explore the nature of materials in extreme conditions. The practical application of these discoveries may end up advancing the fields of electronics and sensing — to name just two important areas.  
  • Professor Rob Griffin’s field of expertise is Atmospheric Chemistry, with a focus specifically on field campaigns, laboratory experiments, and computational simulations that elucidate the processes that lead to particulate matter formation in the troposphere.  
  • Professor Haotian Wang is working on an NSF funded project aiming to convert CO2 into pure liquid fuel, developing an electrochemical modular system that will provide, “a sustainable, negative-carbon, low-waste, and point-source manufacturing path preferable to traditional large-scale chemical process plants.”  
  • Professors Sibani Lisa Biswal, Walter Chapman, Matteo Pasquali, Thomas Senftle, Haotian Wang, Michael Wong, and Kyriacos Zygourakis champion research on Nanomaterials & Soft Matter, focusing on the design and systhesis of these materials via experiment and simulation, as well as the development for commercial applications in areas such as energy, sustainability, and biomedical, to name a few.  
  • Professor James Tour champions the field of Synthetic Organic Chemistry, among several other fields. His recent works include the development of versatile laser-induced graphene, flash graphene from waste material, light-activated nanodrills that destroy cancer cells and “superbug” bacteria, silicon-oxide memory circuits that have flown on the International Space Station, the development of graphene quantum dots from coal, asphalt-based materials to capture carbon dioxide from gas wells, and the use of nanoparticles to quench damaging superoxides after an injury or stroke.  
  • Professors David Alexander, Stephen Bradshaw, Stanislav Sazykin, and Frank Toffoletto research on the area of Space Plasma Physics, which examines near-Earth and planetary plasmas and solar plasma phenomena through a combination of computational and theoretical tools as well as via leading roles in several space-based and ground-based observatories.  
  • Professors Mustafa Amin, Karl Ecklund, Frank Geurts, Wei Li, Paul Padley, Chris Tunnell, and Pablo Yepes research on Nuclear and Particle Physics, which focuses on the fundamental constituents of the universe, how they interact, and their cosmic history.  Efforts in the Tom W. Bonner Nuclear Laboratory include theory at the boundary of particle physics and cosmology; experiments investigating dark matter, high energy nuclear physics, and energy frontier particle physics; and applications for cancer treatment.  
  • Professor Eugene Levy leads the area of Astrophysics of Star and Planet Formation, concentrating on observations and physical modeling of star formation, newborn stars, protoplanetary disks, and exoplanets.  
  • Professors Mustafa Amin and Edison Liang lead research in Relativistic Astrophysics and Cosmology, which focuses on the theoretical and computational modeling, and experimental studies of some of the most extreme environments in the universe, ranging from the Big Bang to compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes.  
  • Professors Andriy Nevidomskyy and Peter Nordlander research in the field of Condensed Matter Physics (CMP). CMP at Rice has particular strengths in quantum materials (in which quantum degrees of freedom, often strongly interacting, lead to emergent superconducting, magnetic, and topological states) and nanophotonics/optical probes of condensed matter systems.  
  • Professors Anatoly Kolomeisky, Jose Onuchic, and Peter Wolynes lead research in Biophysics, studying the physics of life’s processes all the way from the molecular level to organism. Rice hosts the Center for Theoretical Biophysics, an NSF Physics Frontier Center, examining areas such as the physics of the genome and the physics of cellular processes.  
  • Professor Han Pu’s research interest lies in the field of theoretical ultracold atomic physics, which covers different aspects of Bose-Einstein condensates, degenerate Fermi gases, and quantum optics. The study of ultracold atoms sheds new light into the quantum properties of matter, and has intimate connections to many other fields of physics, such as condensed matter physics, quantum information, and quantum field theory.  
  • Professors Pulickel Ajayan, Hua Guo, Yimo Han, and Boris Yakobson research on Catalysis, essential to modern chemical and biological processing such as manufacturing, food production, environmental remediation, and more.