Ice crystal research wins top science award


Hatherton Award winner Andreas Hermann
from the New Zealand Institute of Advanced
Study at Albany

An innovative method for calculating the properties of crystalline ice – a key to understanding astrophysics and potentially the effects of atmospheric conditions on global warming – has won a top award for Massey science doctoral student and researcher Andreas Hermann.

??Mr Hermann, based at the Institute for Advanced Study at Albany, won this year's Hatherton Award from the Royal Society for the best published paper from a PhD study in physical sciences, earth sciences or mathematical and information sciences at a New Zealand university.

??His paper, published in the American Physical Society’s journal Physical Review Letters, is from his doctoral thesis, Ab-initio Calculations of Water and Ice: Structural, Electronic, and Optical Properties, which he completed this year at Massey’s Albany campus.

??Mr Hermann says his work involves developing a new method of accurately calculating crystalline properties by using methods from quantum chemistry and applying them to solid-state physics. His work also encompassed the study of ice itself.?

?“This is more fundamental science, but applies to diverse fields such as astrophysics – a branch of astronomy dealing with the physics of the universe – and atmospheric chemistry, where clouds of ice crystallites play an important role.”

??His findings, developed with Massey’s Double-Helix and BestGRID supercomputers, could be useful in detecting changes in atmospheric chemistry as a result of climate change, he says.

??Mr Hermann has a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and a Master of Science in physics from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany. He came to Massey four years ago and is due to graduate next year with a PhD in physics.

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