Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Prof. Andrew M. Rappe graduated with his B.A. in Chemistry and Physics, from Harvard University in 1986, earned his Ph.D. in Physics and Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992, was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley from 1992-1994, and has been faculty at Penn since 1994. Andrew is the founding co-Director of Pennergy. He teaches courses in Quantum Chemistry, Statistical Mechanics, General Chemistry, and Physical Chemistry, as well as the VIPER seminar.
Andrew’s research revolves around ferroelectric phase transitions in oxides, surface chemistry and catalysis of complex oxides, and the interplay between the two. Andrew and his students look for new phenomena that occur when different components are brought together. For example, they examine molecules adsorbing on metal surfaces, in order to understand the effect of surface composition and structure on preferred adsorption sites, dissociation pathways, and vibrational dynamics. They also study how the compositions of oxide solid solutions lead to Angstrom-scale chemical structure, nanometer scale structural disorder, and long-range ferroelectric and piezoelectric properties. These studies find real-world applications in catalysis, corrosion, SONAR, fuel cells and other important technologies. Whenever possible, the Rappe group models systems analytically, in order to extract general principles and simple pictures from complex systems.