The Penn State Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Lukas Muechler will be joining the department faculty starting July 1, 2021 as an assistant professor of chemistry.
Muechler earned his doctoral degree at Princeton University and completed his undergraduate work at Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz, Germany. He comes to Penn State from the Center for Computational Quantum Physics at the Simons Foundation in New York City, where he is a Flatiron Research Fellow.
Muechler notes that he was drawn to Penn State because of the University’s reputation for encouraging interdisciplinary research and because of Penn State’s long legacy of excellence in quantum materials research. “As an interdisciplinary researcher myself, I felt very supported and understood during the hiring process,” he notes. “My main appointment will be in chemistry, but I will also have a courtesy appointment in physics...There are excellent opportunities for long term collaboration and knowledge exchange at Penn State and a strong support network for young faculty.”
Muechler’s research focuses on the interface between chemistry and physics in the field of quantum materials. “Quantum materials have long promised to revolutionize technology—yet given their innate complexity, the revolution is not guaranteed,” he explains. “For example, energy storage, quantum information science and other quantum-based innovations are contingent upon a new generation of materials and devices that do not yet exist. I believe that discovering and characterizing such materials are challenges too complicated to be solved by physics or chemistry in isolation. Rather, quantum materials represent interconnected puzzles that can only be mastered through the combined efforts of these fields.”
Therefore, the Muechler lab will focus on developing a conceptual and computational framework to facilitate the engineering, design, and characterization of new materials with exotic electronic properties. The Muechler group will aim to develop and integrate methods into a versatile toolbox to study complex materials in a realistic setting. “As a group at the frontier of materials discovery, we will ground theory in experiments while driving experiments through theory,” he adds.
Aside from research, Muechler is also looking forward to working more closely with students. “Mentoring students and postdocs will give me the opportunity to build a unique group structure and culture from scratch,” says Muechler. “I would like my group to serve as a connecting hub between experimental and theoretical researchers at Penn State, as I am extremely passionate about collaboration and knowledge exchange across fields.”
Chemistry Department Head Phil Bevilacqua adds, “We couldn’t be happier to have Lukas joining the faculty. His work is a nexus of chemistry and physics and of theory and experiment and I think he will thrive in the Penn State environment. Lukas brings fresh ideas on training students and postdocs as well.”
In his free time, Muechler enjoys playing video games, hiking, and traveling with friends and family. During the pandemic, he had the opportunity to perfect his pizza making skills and is looking forward to hosting weekly homemade pizza and craft beer parties in his backyard.
Please join the Department of Chemistry in welcoming Lukas Muechler.