NCCR MARVEL Team Presents “Supercomputers for Science” at PSI’s Open Doors Day

This was published on November 3, 2022

A team of NCCR MARVEL members participated in Paul Scherrer Institute’s “Tag der offenen Tür,” or Open Doors Day, on October 23rd, explaining magnons and phonons and the use of supercomputers to study them to children and adults alike. The event, hosted every five years, drew some 15,000 people.

by Carey Sargent, EPFL, NCCR MARVEL

The stand, “Supercomputers for Science,” was one of about 40 giving the general public a chance to learn more about the research being done at PSI. It was sponsored by PSI’s Laboratory for Materials Simulations, led by Professor Nicola Marzari, and its Materials Software and Data group, led by Dr. Giovanni Pizzi. MARVEL colleagues Dr. Flaviano Dos Santos, Dr. Xing Wang, Miriam Pougin and Dr. Leopold Talirz were also on hand to help out, leaning on the organizational support of Dr. Lidia Favre-Quattropani. 

The scientists focused on modelling and simulation, explaining how computers are helping us discover and develop materials of the future in applications ranging from the creation of clean energy to protecting the environment. Using 3D films, real time simulations, and entertaining experiments, they explained both the basic science behind the work as well as how they can invent new materials on the computer and then synthesize and test them at PSI. 

“Our stand was very popular and we had visitors non-stop from the beginning to the end,” Dos Santos said. “It was great to have such a close contact with people of all ages and backgrounds. It felt like we helped to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

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