Anubhav Jain, 2011 Alvarez Fellow
As a 2011 Luis W. Alvarez Fellow, Anubhav Jain will be working on the Materials Genome project, a large collaboration that uses quantum calculations to compute and catalog the properties of all inorganic compounds. Initially, the team will compute the properties of about 50,000 known compounds. Eventually, they hope to predict yet-unknown compounds.
"I used this strategy to find new materials for Li ion battery cathodes for my PhD work," says Jain. "The idea of the Materials Genome is to be a public resource for the worldwide materials community, and to span multiple research topics like solar-photovoltaics, carbon dioxide capture, etc."
Although the team just started building this database, Jain notes that researchers can get a flavor of what’s to come at www.materialsgenome.org. In addition to the Materials Genome collaboration, Jain hopes to work on projects that will allow him to find new materials for solar fuels. He will also be submitting proposals with other CRD staff members to screen materials for carbon dioxide capture and studying material defects.
Born in India, Jain immigrated to the Long Island, NY at the age of five when his father accepted a post at Stony Brook University. A few years later, his father accepted a post in the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Physics Department and Jain's family has been living on the East Coast ever since. Jain earned his undergraduate degree in Applied & Engineering Physics from Cornell University and a Doctorate in Material Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
"My father started teaching me programming in QBasic when I was in the third grade, the ability to make custom video games was pretty cool back then," said Jain.
He credits these early experiences with helping him write software as an undergrad for automating crystallography experiments at synchrotrons, as well as automating the rapid data collection on materials synthesized through a combinatorial technique. From there, he began writing software to automate density functional theory calculations to study materials for his doctorate research.
Last summer, Jain worked as an intern in the Molecular Foundry at Berkeley Lab where he looked into strategies for using density functional theory calculations to predict new solar photovoltaic materials. He enjoyed his experience at Berkeley Lab so much that he began looking into postdoctoral research opportunities at the Lab.
"The Alvarez Fellowship was a great fit because it emphasized how cutting-edge computing can lead to breakthroughs in science, and that's really the area I want to continue working on because it has so much promise," says Jain, who enjoys photographing landscapes and city life and taking weekend trips with his wife, in his spare time.