Drexel Professor of Physics Dr. Jerzy Bernholc is one of the largest users of supercomputing time in the U.S. He travels from Raleigh two or three days a month to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, as a “visiting distinguished scientist” within the ORNL Computational Science Directorate. He consults with ORNL management, helps write collaborative proposals, uses the supercomputer for his own research, and serves on the advisory committee for ORNL’s new Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences.

The new center—now on a construction fast-track—will be a user facility for ORNL’s universities partners and visiting distinguished scientists. When completed this year, the 80,000-square-foot facility will have nanofabrication systems for synthesis of materials in ways that previously were not available anywhere—let alone affordable for NC State.

Working at the Center, Bernholc will use ORNL’s new supercomputer for simulations investigating novel nanoscale materials for nano-electronics and sensors, magnetic memory, super strong materials, and nanoscale switches. He uses simulations to understand the properties of materials before they are built or to explain experimental results. Bernholc is world renowned for his 1999 publication in the journal Physics Today, in which he described how the properties of new and artificially structured materials could be predicted and explained entirely by computations, using atomic numbers at the only input.

Born in Poland, Bernholc has been on the faculty at NC State for 16 years, and is the founding director of NC State’s newly forming Center for High Performance Simulations.

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