Zurek named a Fellow of the American Physical Society – UBNow: News and Views for UB Faculty and Staff

UB theoretical and computational chemist Eva Zurek has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).

Zurek is a professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences and an adjunct faculty member in physics and chemical and biological engineering. His research uses supercomputers and first-principles calculations to study the electronic structure, properties, and reactivity of a wide variety of materials.

APS is a nonprofit organization that works to advance and disseminate knowledge in physics through research journals, scientific meetings, and educational, outreach, advocacy, and international activities.

According to the scholarship citation, Zurek is recognized “for applying state-of-the-art computational electronic structure methods to revealing microscopic processes occurring in large molecules and nanostructures, for designing hydride superconductors, and for related educational innovations in Computer Science”.

She was recommended for this honor by the APS Division of Computational Physics. She was elected vice president of the division in 2022, a four-year position that will later include terms as president-elect, president, and president-past.

The APS scholarship signifies recognition by professional peers. Each year, no more than half of 1% of the membership of the society (excluding student members) is recognized by election for APS membership.

Zurek’s work has had a broad impact on materials science and discovery. She is interested in high-pressure science; superhard, superconducting, quantum and planetary materials; catalysis; and solvated electrons and electrodes. His team has developed an open-source computer program called XtalOpt that allows scientists to predict the crystal structures of materials and has used the program to identify new superconducting candidates.

Author of over 160 publications, Zurek has received funding from the US National Science Foundation, US Department of Energy, US National Nuclear Security Administration and US Office of Naval Research.

She has sat on the thesis committee of more than 30 doctoral students. Eight mentees have earned doctorates from his lab, and all have obtained employment or scholarships in their field.

Additionally, Zurek has dedicated time and energy to communicating science to the public. She was interviewed by Scientific American; Science Friday, broadcast by public radio stations across the United States; CBC’s Quirks and Quarks; The New York Times; and many other outlets on advances in materials discovery.

Zurek has received numerous accolades, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Endeavors and the Sloan Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She obtained her doctorate at the University of Stuttgart in Germany.

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