July 7, 2023
University of Chicago chemist and professor Laura Gagliardi has been selected as the recipient of the 2023 Linus Pauling Medal Award for outstanding achievements in Chemistry. Gagliardi is honored for the development of groundbreaking electronic structure theories and combined classical/quantum methodologies that have accelerated the design of new materials, including reticular frameworks.
“I am deeply honored by this incredible recognition,” said Gagliardi.
“The distinguished scientists who have previously received this honor—including our esteemed [University of Chicago] President, Paul Alivisatos—are truly remarkable individuals.”
Originally from Bologna, Italy, Professor Gagliardi is a theoretical and computational chemist who utilizes advanced chemical computation to predict and model chemical phenomena. Her multidisciplinary background, spanning physical, inorganic, and materials chemistry, enables her to develop and employ computational chemistry tools to solve complex problems.
Among various accomplishments, she has recently worked in collaboration with the Yaghi Group at UC Berkeley on the characterization of the structure of a metal-organic framework—MOF-303—that is ideal for water harvesting from air. Gagliardi combined computer simulations and data science with Yaghi’s structural characterization, demonstrating for the first time how water uptake occurs in MOF-303 at the individual water molecule level. Recently, Gagliardi says, they’ve predicted a new MOF that has a water uptake capacity about 30% superior to the initial MOF-303.
Collaboration continues to be important to Gagliardi’s work. In addition to managing her team of investigators in the Gagliardi Group, whose work “addresses the most compelling challenges of our planet related to clean energy,” she also directs the Chicago Center for Theoretical Chemistry and holds joint appointments in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and James Franck Institute.
“I must express my gratitude to the wonderful collaborators I have had the privilege of working with throughout my career,” said Gagliardi.
“Among them are the outstanding students and postdocs who have dedicated their time and efforts to our shared research goals. It is their incredible contributions that have played a major role in my receiving this recognition.”
In addition to the gold medal that accompanies the award, a special symposium will be held in the fall at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, in Gagliardi’s honor, where she will present on her research.
“I feel immensely humbled to be counted among such an exceptional group. I must express my gratitude to the wonderful collaborators I have had the privilege of working with throughout my career. Among them are the outstanding students and postdocs who have dedicated their time and efforts to our shared research goals. It is their incredible contributions that have played a major role in my receiving this recognition.”