ERC Consolidator Grant for Paola Gori Giorgi
Paola Gori Giorgi received an ERC Consolidator Grant of 2 million euro, which will fund her research efforts towards a truly predictive computational chemistry.
Chemistry with computers
In principle, quantum theory should enable prediction of the properties of new materials and chemical compounds using only computers. The Schrödinger equation provides a complete description of electronic structure, key determinant of matter behavior, but finding accurate solution is computationally prohibitive. In practice, for many systems, Kohn-Sham (KS) density functional theory (DFT) is the only feasible route of action. However, practical approximations of the KS method become inaccurate when the electron-electron repulsion plays a dominant role (for example in transition metals, key agents in catalysis, and in the breaking of chemical bonds), which limits its effective usefulness.
A new interdisciplinary approach
Paola Gori Giorgi takes a radically different point of view and has pioneered a very original research line to address the problems of KS DFT. She considers the case in which the electrons are infinitely (or perfectly) correlated. She showed that this limit maps into an optimal transport problem, an important field of mathematics and economics. Using this new mathematical framework, she has already extended the applicability of KS DFT to low-dimensional nanostructures, a project that was funded by NWO with a Vidi grant. The ERC will allow her to address the challenging problem of extending this approach to complex chemical systems. This exciting new approach strengthens the Amsterdam Center for Multiscale Modeling (ACMM www.acmm.nl) ambition to tackle challenging chemical problems by computational methods.
ERC Consolidator Grant
The ERC Consolidator Grant is a highly competitive European grant, with a success rate around 8-10%. It funds top European researchers, with new ideas having a huge high risk/high gain component.
Paola Gori Giorgi
Paola Gori Giorgi is Associate Professor at the VU Theoretical Chemistry Section. She studied Physics in Rome and obtained her PhD in Perugia (Italy). After being a postdoctoral research associate at Tulane University (New Orleans, USA), she moved to Paris (France), where she was appointed tenured researcher at the French National Research Council (CNRS). In 2009 she was awarded the NWO Vidi grant and the Aspasia prize for excellent women academics and she moved to the VU. The ERC panel recognized the high innovative and original character of her research line, as well as the top quality of her past research achievements.