Prof Gemma Solomon
The chemist Gemma Solomon has won Denmark’s most prestigious research prize, the EliteForsk Prize, for her work on molecular electronic and thermal transport. She receives one million Danish Kroner for research in addition to 200,000 Danish Kroner (€27,000) personal honorary gift. Prof Solomon is one of two AcademiaNet members to win the prize this year, along with Prof Eva Boxenbaum.
Prof Solomon uses primarily theoretical computational methods, such as density functional theory, to simulate different molecules in order to understand how their electrical and thermal conductivity—i.e. how well heat and charge travel through the molecule—can be manipulated. One particular research focus is quantum interference, through which these properties are increased or decreased based on chemical structure.
For example in 2018, Prof Solomon and her colleagues discovered the most current-insulating molecule found to date, breaking the barriers for what we thought was physically possible. This type of work could be used to solve problems of inefficient heat and electricity transport in the future.
Prof Solomon is based at the University of Copenhagen, where she has been since 2010. She did her scientific training in her native Australia, specifically at the University of Western Australia and the University of Sydney. The EliteForsk award is far from her first research prize in Denmark. In 2019, she received the Silver Medal from the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters and in 2014, she won the Torkil Holm Prize, awarded by the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences. (© AcademiaNet)