IACS Faculty is Finalist in SBU Discovery Prize Competition

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Assistant Professor Matt Reuter gears up to compete for the grand prize

Assistant Professor
Matthew Reuter

Stony Brook University’s Discovery Prize is a $200,000 award (free of overhead) that is given to an outstanding junior SBU faculty member whose research is regarded, by a panel of judges, to pioneer scientific breakthroughs. This year IACS core faculty member Matthew Reuter is one of four finalists who will be competing in early 2017 for the prestigious award. “It is a huge honor to be considered for this award. Stony Brook has a lot of fantastic talent, and to be recognized as outstanding from that group is a great privilege,” said Reuter.

The competition started with the submission of a letter of interest followed by an expanded proposal. Reuter was one of four out of 16 who were chosen to move on in the competition. The final stage consists of the four finalists giving 10-minute presentations followed by questions from a panel of judges. “It is almost like a reality show,” said Reuter. Finalists are encouraged to work with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science prior to making their presentations, which are open to the public and tailored for general lay audiences.

Reuter’s research is entitled Characterizing Non-Equilibrium Dynamics in Quantum Mechanical Systems. He is looking at quantum mechanics in non-equilibrium setups. “Tools for equilibrium cases exist and are well known, but they are not always transferable to the non-equilibrium cases. Our team wants to look specifically at photosynthetic chambers in plants and electric current in nanotechnology with an eye for modeling up to actual devices, like photovoltaics or batteries or thermoelectrics.

“I’ve always liked problem solving. I really regard a lot of my research as sitting at the intersection of physical chemistry, applied math, and computational science, where any one of the three can be used to ask a question, but a different one of the three is used to answer the question and inspire new questions.”

Reuter joined Stony Brook University in January 2015. Prior to coming to Stony Brook he was a Research Associate in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University, where he studied single-molecule behavior. He received BSc degrees in Chemistry and Mathematics from Michigan Technological University (2006) and a PhD degree in Theoretical/Computational Chemistry from Northwestern University in 2011. From 2011 to 2013, he was a Eugene P. Wigner Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he developed theories and algorithms for studying electron transport processes and materials chemistry.

If awarded, co-investigators Professor Dilip Gersappe from the Materials Science and Engineering department and Professor Jin Wang from the Chemistry and Physics departments will be collaborating with Reuter. Both are affiliate members of IACS.