Professor Volker Deringer
Winner: 2022 Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize
University of Oxford
For innovative contributions to the modelling and understanding of amorphous materials.
Celebrate Professor Volker Deringer
Amorphous (non-crystalline) materials are important for many modern technologies: for example, encoding ‘ones’ and ’zeros’ in digital memories, or storing ions in rechargeable batteries. Professor Deringer's research uses computer simulations to explore the structure of such amorphous materials: where the atoms are, what forces hold them together, and how that atomic structure is connected to properties. His team is particularly interested in leveraging machine-learning methods to enable new insights in materials chemistry.Read winner biography
Volker Deringer is associate professor of theoretical and computational inorganic chemistry at the University of Oxford and a fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. He studied chemistry at RWTH Aachen University (Germany), where he obtained his diploma (2010) and doctorate (2014) under the guidance of Richard Dronskowski. In 2015, he moved to the University of Cambridge as a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation; in 2017, he was awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the same institution. In September 2019, he took up his post at Oxford. His research has been recognised by an EPSRC New Investigator Award and, very recently, by the award of an ERC Starting Grant.
What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in chemistry?
What an exciting choice! There are many directions in which you can develop your career, and chemistry gives you outstanding opportunities and equips you for many different career paths.
Can you tell us about a scientific development on the horizon that you are excited about?
Computer simulations of materials have made enormous strides over the last years, and I am excited to see what impact they will have on chemistry in the years ahead. I am also intrigued by new experimental developments that can inform and complement our simulations – advances in electron microscopy or spectroscopic techniques, for example.
What has been a highlight for you (either personally or in your career)?
What has been (and continues to be!) a major highlight is being able to build up my team here at Oxford. I am very fortunate to work with brilliant chemists and materials scientists, and I look forward to developing our research programme together.
What is your favourite element?
Since my time as a doctoral student, I very much like tellurium and its compounds. There are beautiful crystal structures, intriguing amorphous phases, and important practical applications.