AUSTIN, Texas—The first of four new endowed chair holders of the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at The University of Texas at Austin joins the institute this semester.
Dr. James Chelikowsky joins ICES as director of the Center for Computational Materials. He also has appointments in the Department of Physics and the Department of Chemical Engineering and a courtesy appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The chair is endowed with $2 million.
Dr. J. Tinsley Oden, the director of ICES and associate vice president for research, said Chelikowsky exemplifies the institute’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies.
Chelikowsky joins The University of Texas at Austin from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, where he has directed the Institute for the Theory of Advanced Materials in Information Technology. He will continue his association with the institute at Texas.
He is an expert in materials science, quantum mechanics, density functional theory and its application to semiconducting materials. His work helped establish the fundamental understanding of these technologically important materials.
“Materials science is one of the most important disciplines because of its utility in understanding of the behavior of nanodevices, semiconductors, and its growing use in medical research, and in developing new material structures such as nanotubes and submicron devices,” Oden said. “The complexity of solving important problems at the quantum level is so great their solution is generally well outside the reach of any computer known to mankind.”
Chelikowsky has been a leader in devising innovative ways to address those problems.
“He’s developed computational methods based on density functional theory and related theories about quantum mechanics to look at fundamental problems of material behavior,” Oden said. “It’s a particularly good fit for the high-tech industry in Texas in that it focuses on basic science issues important to the semiconductor industry, microelectronics and telecommunications.”
The mission of the Center for Computational Materials is to promote research on the electronic and structural properties of materials using computational approaches and to aid in coordinating related educational activities.
Chelikowsky went to the University of Minnesota in 1987 as a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He was named an Institute of Technology Distinguished Professor at Minnesota in 2001. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and in 2001 received the David Turnbull Award from the Materials Research Society.
From 1980-1987, he was group head in theoretical physics and chemistry at Exxon Research and Engineering Corporate Research Science Laboratories.
Chelikowsky obtained a bachelor of science degree, summa cum laude, in physics from Kansas State University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in physics in 1975 from the University of California, Berkeley, where he held a National Science Foundation Fellowship. He performed postdoctoral work at Bell Laboratories from 1976-1978 and was an assistant professor at the University of Oregon from 1978-1980.
ICES was created in 2003 to provide intellectual leadership and infrastructure for conducting world-class interdisciplinary research in computational science, engineering and technology at the university. A $38 million investment, comprising money from an anonymous donor, industry sources and the university, funded the center.
Other endowed chairs are to be in distributed and grid computing, computational biology or biomedical science and engineering, and computational geosciences.
For more information contact: Tim Green, 512-475-6596.