26. June 2023 | Press releases:

Inaugural lectures by Prof. Dr Stefanie Tschierlei and Prof. Dr Jonny Proppe The (R)evolution of Molecule Design

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Tschierlei and Prof. Dr. Jonny Proppe, Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at Technische Universität Braunschweig, will give their inaugural lectures on

Wednesday, 28 June 2023, at 16:00,
Aula, Pockelsstr. 11, Haus der Wissenschaft, 38106 Braunschweig.

Inaugural Lecture “Die (R)evolution des Moleküldesigns: Photochemie und künstliche Photosynthese“ (The (R)evolution of Molecule Design: Photochemistry and Artificial Photosynthesis)
by Prof. Dr. Stefanie Tschierlei

The worldwide increase in energy consumption, combined with the intensive use of fossil fuels, is considered one of the main causes of environmental pollution and global warming. The increased use of solar energy is a promising option that can contribute to solving the current energy problem. Therefore, the working group is engaged in the design, spectroscopic characterisation and mechanistic investigation of different systems for the efficient conversion and storage of (solar) energy. On the one hand, the focus is on molecular or immobilised photosensitizers and photocatalysts for activating small molecules such as carbon dioxide or water. On the other hand, a main focus is on frequency- and time-resolved spectroscopy. These diverse spectroscopic methods are further combined with electrochemistry and theoretical considerations to systematically investigate different processes of energy conversion. The strongly interdisciplinary research thus makes a significant contribution to a better understanding of photo- and electrocatalytic processes.

About the person

Stefanie Tschierlei studied Chemistry (Diploma 2006) at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. After her doctorate in 2010, she did research for two years as a DAAD scholarship holder at the Department of Photochemistry and Molecular Science at Uppsala University in Sweden. She then worked as a research associate at the Institute of Physics at the University of Rostock from 2012 to 2015. After a shorter research stay at the University of Stuttgart, she led her own junior research group at the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry I at Ulm University. On 15 September 2020, Stefanie Tschierlei was then appointed Professor of Physical Chemistry at TU Braunschweig. Since 2022, she is chair of the GDCh Specialist Group Photochemistry and since April 2023, she is the designated chair of the Association of German University Professors of Chemistry (ADUC). Furthermore, she is the current managing director of the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry and is involved as Deputy Dean of Studies.

Inaugural Lecture “Die (R)evolution des Moleküldesigns: Datengestützte Ansätze für eine grünere Chemie“ (The (R)evolution of Molecule Design: Data-driven Approaches to Greener Chemistry)
by Prof. Dr. Jonny Proppe

The structure of a molecule determines its properties. These can either be measured in the laboratory or calculated on the computer using quantum chemical methods. Prof. Dr. Jonny Proppe’s working group is interested in the reverse path – from the desired property to molecules with the same property. This path is called molecule design. Data-driven methods (for example machine learning) are the means of choice here. However, they require a large amount of data, which in the molecular sciences can only be obtained with great effort. How to minimise the amount of data needed to achieve a certain goal will be one aspect of the inaugural lecture. The reactivity of a molecule – its tendency to react with other molecules – will serve as a leitmotif. This property, which is essential for chemistry, enables a more targeted planning of the synthesis of more complex molecules such as active substances or catalysts. Using the example of the use of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as a building block for synthesis, the possibilities of data-based approaches for chemistry will be demonstrated.

About the person

Jonny Proppe studied Chemistry at Universität Hamburg and completed his PhD in Theoretical Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Markus Reiher at ETH Zurich in 2017. He received the IBM Research Prize for his dissertation “Computational Systems Chemistry with Rigorous Uncertainty Quantification”. After postdoctoral stays at Harvard University and the Universities of Toronto and Göttingen, he accepted an appointment to the tenure-track assistant professorship “Computational Materials Design for Chemical Energy Conversion” at TU Braunschweig, where he teaches and conducts research since October 2021. His research group develops methods at the interface between quantum chemistry and artificial intelligence to devise strategies for the chemical use of inert molecules such as carbon dioxide under mild conditions.