So Hirata

 So Hirata

Contact Information

Department of Chemistry
University of Illinois
A520 CLSL, Box 14-6
600 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Marvin T. Schmidt Professor of Chemistry and Blue Waters Professor
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Professor So Hirata received his B.S (1994) and M.S. (1996) from The University of Tokyo and his Ph.D. (1998) from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (Institute for Molecular Science) in Japan. He then became a Visiting Scholar (1998-1999) at University of California, Berkeley and a postdoctoral research associate (1999-2001) at University of Florida. He was a Senior Research Scientist (2001-2004) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory prior to being appointed as an Assistant Professor at University of Florida, where he was promoted to an Associate Professor in 2009. Professor Hirata joined the University of Illinois faculty in August, 2010 as a Professor and an Alumni Research Scholar. Currently, he serves as the Marvin T. Schmidt Professor and a Blue Waters Professor as well as a Beckman Affiliate Faculty. 

Research Interests

  • Electronic and vibrational many-body theory for molecules, polymers, solids, and liquids; computer algebra for quantum chemistry

Research Description

Our research objective is to push the limits of quantitative theories and computing technology to interpret and sometimes predict the properties and transformations of molecules, polymers, solids, and liquids computationally. We develop new mathematical methods and computational algorithms to make the fundamental equations of motion of chemistry, which are high-dimensional partial differential equations with complex boundary conditions, tractable for numerical solutions. To this end, we study the mathematical structure of wave functions of molecules and solids in various states and asymptotic behavior of inter-particle interactions at short and long ranges. The resulting predictive computational methods and software that implements them have the potential of becoming an independent method of discovery in addition to being an essential interpreter of experimental results.

For more details and updates, please visit our group website.

Distinctions / Awards

  • SCS Teaching Award, 2017
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015
  • Member of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, 2014
  • AAAS Fellow, 2012
  • Scialog Fellow, 2011
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 2009
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2009
  • Medal of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences, 2008
  • Hewlett-Packard Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, 2008
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Fellowship for Young Scientists, 1996

In The News

  • Sharon Hammes-Schiffer, Swanlund Professor of Chemistry, and So Hirata, Blue Waters Professor and Alumni Research Scholar in Chemistry, have been elected Members of the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science (IAQMS). Typically, only 3 to 8 scientists are elected to this prestigious academy annually, and there are only about 130 members worldwide.

  • Professor So Hirata has been named one of this campus’s Blue Waters Professors. The position confers a significant commitment of Blue Waters computing resources, up to 240,000 node hours, with a value of over $200,000 per year.

  • Solid carbon dioxide is one of nature's most abundant crystals, found on the Earth, other planets, and even asteroids. Yet, our knowledge of its phase behavior apart from that of the familiar cubic phase (dry ice) is surprisingly limited. A collaborative team of theoretical chemists led by Dr.

  • A team of U of I researchers (Hirata, Chemistry; Abbamonte, Ceperley, Ryu, and Wagner, Physics) in collaboration with chemists and physicists from Princeton and the College of William and Mary was one of seven chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a center-type collaborative research program for computational chemistry & physics for materials.

  • So Hirata, Professor of Chemistry and Alumni Research Scholar, has been named a Scialog Fellow by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA). The RCSA is the nation's oldest foundation for science advancement.