Curtarolo Wins Humboldt Foundation’s Bessel Research Prize

Stefano Curtarolo, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and director of the Center for Materials Genomics at Duke, has been named one of this year’s recipients of the Bessel Prize given by the Humboldt Foundation.

The Bessel Prize is given to roughly 20 researchers each year who are internationally renowned in their field and have completed their doctorates less than 15 years. These award winners are expected to continue producing cutting-edge achievements which will have a seminal influence on their discipline beyond their immediate field of work. The award was given for the pioneering role of Curtarolo in the Materials Genome Initiative.

Bessel Prize winners are invited to spend up to a year exploring long-term research projects with colleagues at a research institution in Germany, which may be divided up into blocks.

Curtarolo’s research centers on accelerated materials development, by creating intelligent algorithms to characterize structure/properties relationships. This is performed through big-data-mining of large databases containing the thermochemical and electrical properties. His work provides detailed “recipes” for creating the most efficient combinations of elements and atoms for a specific purpose, sort of like a materials’ cookbook. The repository, organized as a multi-university consortium sponsored by the Department of Defense, is free and open to all www.aflowlib.org.