Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Rossky, Peter J.
Location Rice University
Primary Field Chemistry
Secondary Field Applied Physical Sciences
 Election Citation
Rossky has been a pioneer in the modern development of quantum and classical statistical mechanics as a tool to reveal atomistic processes in molecular liquids and solutions. His incisive studies have broadly influenced our understanding of the molecular-level basis for biomolecular structure, reaction dynamics, and condensed phase electronic processes.
 Research Interests
I am a theoretical chemist who finds nothing more engaging then to try to understand the molecular-level processes that underlie an important experimental observation whose origin is controversial or puzzling. My work lies almost entirely within amorphous condensed phase materials (liquids, polymers, molecular clusters). I have two very long-standing themes in my work. The first is in the role of liquids as an environment for chemistry, with a particular emphasis on water, and its active role in modulating the interaction free energy among solutes, both biological and synthetic. The second is understanding the quantum world within the same dense material domain, including the direct evaluation of the spectroscopic signatures of molecular species and tracking the evolution of energy in molecular excited states. Most recently, I have emphasized understanding the time evolution of electronic photo-excited states, particularly in candidate photovoltaic organic materials. Having grown up along with the explosion in computational capacity, I depend on computational methods as a route to study molecular processes. We are constantly involved in method development to open up access to increasingly complex dynamical features of chemical systems, such as quantized motion of low mass nuclei (especially protons), electronic energy dissipation, and energy or charge transfer.

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