Women in Quantum Science and Engineering Lecture Series: Anastassia Alexandrova

Who: Anastassia Alexandrova, University of California, Los Angeles
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Upcoming Talk: Tuesday, April 11 at 11:00 a.m.

Year of Diversity at PQI

The Year of Diversity at Pitt

Last April, Provost Patricia E. Beeson announced in her closing remarks at the Senate plenary session that the upcoming academic year will be the Year of Diversity at Pitt. “It’s going to be a year that we’re going to celebrate difference; a year when we’re going to engage in conversations about difference: about cultural difference, academic difference and political differences,” she said. The Office of the Provost has therefore offered opportunity and support to organize various events to celebrate diversity in academia. At the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute (PQI), we decided to celebrate Women in Quantum Science and Engineering: outstanding researchers dedicated to furthering different fields of physics, chemistry, and engineering, and who happen to be strong, brilliant, empowering women.

Women in Quantum Science and Engineering

Women you said? Yes, in the field of Quantum Science and Engineering—as in most STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, women are a resonating minority. Even at PQI, out of our seventy members, only ten faculty members are female, which accounts for a mere 14% of the membership. To overcome this gender imbalance, it is important to convince more women—as well as other underrepresented students—to pursue majors and careers in Quantum Science and Engineering. This may be achieved by giving the opportunity to established women scientists to share their experience with the local student community. The mission statement of the Pittsburgh Quantum Institute is to help unify and promote Quantum Science and Engineering in Pittsburgh. Within the framework of the Year of Diversity, we therefore propose that the efforts to fulfill this mission be directed by and for the community of Women in Quantum Science and Engineering.

A Lecture Series

PQI is therefore organizing a Lecture Series, with four local speakers and PQI members from the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Chemical Engineering at Pitt, as well as from the Department of Materials Science at CMU. Four additional speakers have been carefully chosen for both their scientific achievements and their involvement in bridging the diversity gap in STEM. They will all give colloquium-style talks throughout the Spring semester of 2017. Spread the word, and encourage your peers or students to attend. Although we are celebrating diversity in gender, we encourage the participation of all minorities in our events! These events not only ties in the Year of Diversity, but also fulfills PQI’s mission statement by providing the opportunity to personally meet strong female role models, which may broaden the perceived perspectives in Quantum Science and Engineering.

Biography: Anastassia Alexandrova

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Los Angeles
Born in USSR, she obtained her B.S./M.S. degree with highest honors from Saratov University, in 2000. She obtained her Ph.D. in Theoretical Physical Chemistry from Utah State University, in 2005. After that, she was a Postdoctoral Associate, and then an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University. Anastassia joined the Faculty of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA, and CNSI in 2010.


Boron in Functional Materials: from Clusters and Catalytic Surfaces to 2D Materials

Interactions of metals with boron can be covalent and ionic, and can flux from one to another even upon vibrational motion. Many interesting new materials with special properties result from this feature of metal-boron interactions. I will show how boration can promote selectivity of catalysis on extended metal surfaces and on surface-mounted small clusters. Theoretical predictions in this domain were confirmed experimentally. Metal-boron bonding also explains the hardness and its aniosotropy of recently discovered ultra-hard borides, giving us guidance for the design of future even harder materials. We additionally explain the mechanism of mixed valency in the topological Kondo insulator, SmB6, (which has been an enigma since the 60s). Finally, our pursuits led us to finding a new classes of 2D materials, which are metallic, in some cases magnetic, or exhibit anisotropic electric conductivity. This is a theory talk, but the parallel experimental effort will be presented too.

Women in Quantum Science and Engineering Lecture Series

All talks are held at 11:00 a.m. and are open to the public.
Susan Fullerton (University of Pittsburgh)
Tuesday, February 7, O'Hara Student Center

Jeanie Lau (Ohio State University)
Tuesday, February 28, Allen Hall 321

Laura Greene (Florida State University)
Tuesday, March 7, Allen Hall 321

Noa Marom (Carnegie Mellon University)
Tuesday, March 21, Allen Hall 321

Nicole Benedek (Cornell University)
Wednesday, April 5, Benedum Hall 102

Anastassia Alexandrova (University of California Los Angeles)
Tuesday, April 11, Eberly Hall 307

Jill Millstone (University of Pittsburgh)
Tuesday, April 18, Eberly Hall 307