Western Washington University Assistant Professor of Chemistry Robert Berger received the Cottrell Scholar Award, a $100,000 grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA), to conduct computational research on how to make chemical materials perform better in energy applications.
In particular, his research focuses on perovskites, a class of materials of widespread interest in solar energy conversion.
“In this research we’ll be looking at how you can take these materials and tune them by substituting in different elements or applying strain,” Berger said. “We will do calculations on how you might make changes to these materials to make them perform better for whatever application you are interested in.”
The award also entails a teaching portion in which he will develop computer-based interactive homework activities for his quantum chemistry class.
Berger is the eighth professor from Western’s Chemistry Department to win this award.
“The reason why our department has been so successful at getting this award is because it requires a balance of research and teaching, which really is our mission,” Berger said.
Berger and his chemistry students will begin their research this summer and it will be funded through the grant for three years.
“This award allows me to fund several undergraduate students and give them some really beneficial research experience,” Berger said. “And the fact that it does include an educational component gives me time to develop some more innovative activities in my teaching that are often difficult to make time for.”
For more information on the award, contact Robert Berger at Robert.firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 650-4327.