Michele Parrinello, 2017 Dreyfus Prize Winner

Meet Michele Parrinello, Professor of Computational Sciences at the Universit√† della Svizzera italiana and ETH Zurich, and winner of the 2017 Dreyfus Prize in the Chemical Sciences. The 72-year old, soft-spoken Sicilian-born professor is unsurpassed in his contributions to the field of computational chemistry, continuously improving methodologies for simulating the behavior of atoms and molecules. His research has paved the way for a better understanding of biological and chemical reactions, critical to the development of new materials, renewable energy sources and drug therapies, and to a better understanding of the natural world. The Car-Parrinello method, published in 1985, vaulted the field of computational chemistry by innovatively combining molecular dynamics (the simulation of how atoms and molecules move) with a quantum theoretical approach to electron structure. Together with fellow researcher Roberto Car, Parrinello developed first principles equations for modeling chemical reactions and structural phase transitions that occur when interatomic bonds break …