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Livia Bartok-Partay

As well as being part of the HetSys Management Committee, Livia Bartók-Pártay is a theoretical chemist, using a range of computer simulation tools to model atomistic and molecular system, studying their structural and thermodynamic behaviour on the atomistic level.

She is interested in developing novel computational techniques for studying phase transitions and predicting stable crystalline structures, both in clusters and in condensed phases, using classical interatomic potential models. She also works on modelling systems of nanochemical interest: surfaces and interfaces, adsorption phenomena and aggregation behaviour, focusing on characterising surface particles at the liquid/vapour interface in molecular dynamics simulations.

How did your journey into the Physical Sciences begin?

I did my undergraduate and PhD studies in Budapest, then worked as a research fellow in Cambridge and in Reading, before joining the Department of Chemistry in Warwick in 2019, as an Assistant Professor. I work in the area of computational chemistry, and I am interested in understanding the behaviour and structure of materials on the atomistic scale, through the use of computer simulation techniques. I teach thermodynamics for first year students and I am involved in running various computational labs for our undergraduates.

What is your favourite thing about working in the Physical Sciences?

I’ve always been fascinated by nature (I dreamed of becoming an ornithologist before deciding to study chemistry instead), and thought that nothing could be more interesting than trying to understand how nature works, and not just finding answers, but finding the right questions too!

Why do you think it is important to highlight women working in science? What does it mean to you?

When I was finishing my PhD, I had practically no female role models around me - the proportion of female researchers in computational chemistry is even lower than in other areas of chemistry - and I remember thinking this must mean that navigating both a family and a career in research is impossible. Highlighting women working in science has an important message, to encourage young people to pursue their dreams and that choosing science does not mean one has to give up on other things in life!