Mariana Rossi receives Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize 2024

Dr. Mariana Rossi, a Brazilian physicist who specializes in computational physical chemistry and leads a Lise Meitner research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg, has been awarded the prestigious Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize 2024 by the German Bunsen Society. In its citation, the Society highlighted “her outstanding scientific achievements in the modelling of complex nanostructures and materials at a quantum-mechanical level.”

Mariana Rossi established the group Simulations from Ab Initio Approaches: Structure and Dynamics from Quantum Mechanics (SabIA) at the MPSD four years ago. Her team investigates how temperature and quantum nuclear motion affect the structural and electronic properties of complex weakly bonded systems.

A particular focus lies on the chemistry and physics that govern the properties of interfaces between different materials. The SabIA group is also involved in developing the FHI-aims and i-PI atomistic software.

Receiving the Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize feels like an immense privilege, Rossi says: “This award makes me extremely happy for the recognition of my work. I am very grateful for all the opportunities that the German research landscape has provided for me throughout my career, and in particular for the current recognition by the German Bunsen Society. I hope that younger scientists who belong to underrepresented groups in physical chemistry can also be motivated to see that this area is welcoming!”

In his laudatio at the award ceremony in Aachen, the Society’s vice president Dr. Robert Franke emphasized Rossi’s significant contributions to the development and application of theoretical methods at the interface of statistical mechanics, electronic structure theory and machine learning, applied to the area of surface science and weakly-bound molecular systems.

“She has advanced the capability of generating in silico predictions of chemical and physical properties,” he said, “including nuclear and electronic quantum effects at different thermodynamic conditions in complex organic-inorganic systems.”

Mariana Rossi studied Physics at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, before moving to Berlin to complete her doctorate at the Fritz Haber Institute and the Technische Universität Berlin. After postdoctoral stays in Oxford and Lausanne, she started a small group at the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin with funding from the Otto Hahn award of the Max Planck Society.

In 2020 she moved to Hamburg to lead an independent research group at MPSD, with funding from the Lise Meitner Excellence Program, set up to recruit and promote exceptionally qualified female scientists.

Every year since 1953, the German Bunsen Society has awarded the Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize to one younger researcher for their achievements in the area of physical chemistry. It commemorates the three German scientists Max Bodenstein, Fritz Haber and Walther Nernst.

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