Briefly introduced: Prof. Dr. Luca Ghiringhelli

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Prof. Dr. Luca Ghiringhelli, Lehrstuhl für Werkstoffsimulation an der FAU (Bild: FAU/Georg Pöhlein)FAU/Georg Pöhlein

Prof. Dr. Luca Ghiringhelli is W2 Professor for Data-Based Material Modeling at the Chair of Material Simulation since 01.10.2023.

What is your research focus?

“Data-based material modeling. It combines traditional and modern physical and chemical knowledge of materials (quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, etc.) with artificial intelligence based tools for materials data analysis to develop better materials for the current and future needs of our increasingly materials based society.

Why this topic specifically?

The scientific method, which has been very successful so far, based on observations that lead to hypotheses, which in turn lead to experiments that eventually lead to scientific theories, might need a step forward. It could benefit from being complemented, if not enhanced, by AI tools. Such tools could help human researchers improve their observational skills to find unexpected patterns and anomalies in (material) data, leading to potentially revolutionary hypotheses. Designing experiments (Where to look? How?) could also be helped enormously by AI tools. I dream of a (near) future where AI tools help scientists improve their understanding of materials (and beyond).

What was your last position before you came to FAU?

I was a group leader at the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin for many years. In particular, I was able to benefit from the incomparably stimulating environment of the theory group led by Matthias Scheffler.

What is your most useful professor’s tool?

The blackboard, the necessary tool for all discussions with students and staff.
The frequent and lively discussions are what make this job so valuable.

What did you want to become when you were a child?

I must be boring here: As long as I can think, I wanted to understand the secrets of nature, i.e. I wanted to become a physicist.

When I’m not on the road as a professor, I …

… I play bass tuba in all kinds of groups, from brass quintets to large symphony orchestras. Playing alone is enriching and helps to understand oneself, but playing in groups is the raison d’être of music.

What have you always wanted to do?

I guess at some point I would like to leave the Blue Marble and walk on the surface of Mars.

Professor Ghiringhelli will give his inaugural lecture on 11/21-23 at the WW Colloquium.


Prof. Dr. Luca Ghiringhelli
Chair of Materials Simulation