Physics and Astronomy
Marivi Fernández-Serra is an associate professor of physics and has been at Stony
Brook University since 2008. She received her PhD in 2005 from the University of Cambridge.
After this she worked as a postdoc at CECAM (Center for Atomic and Molecular Simulations) in
Her research is in the field of computational condensed matter physics. She develops
and applies methods to study the atomic and electronic dynamics of complex materials.
One of her main research areas is the study of fundamental properties of liquid water
using quantum mechanical simulations. In her group they are trying to understand
the origin of the anomalies of the phase diagram of water. They also apply their methods to study the interface between water and functional
elements such as electrodes, photocatalytic semiconductors and graphene. She was awarded
DOE Early Career award in 2010 to study all these phenomena and to develop methods to that will allow her group
to simulate liquids under non equilibrium conditions. She also works in close collaboration
with experimental teams. Due to the very complex nature of the materials and systems
they design, experimentalists and engineers are often guided by the microscopic details
obtained from computer simulations. A very challenging problem is to predict the interfacial
properties of complex systems from first principles, or in other words, without using
experimentalists at the
physics department, her group is working on the design of new functional materials. They study how new
electronic and functional properties emerge at the interface of two or more very different
materials, due to new interactions that do not exist in the parent compounds.