Schiffer joins SEAS faculty in January

Applied physicist recently named among Forbes’ 30 Under 30

image of Zachary Schiffer

Zachary Schiffer will join the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) as Assistant Professor in Applied Physics in January 2024. Schiffer joins SEAS from the California Institute of Technology, where he is currently a Resnick Sustainability Postdoctoral Scholar.

Schiffer’s work sits at the intersection of chemistry, applied physics, materials science, and engineering. His lab will focus on using electrochemistry to decarbonize and electrify chemical processes that traditionally rely on fossil fuels as energy sources and feedstocks. His research seeks to develop sustainable routes for chemical processes, such as nitrogen cycle reactions and plastic recycling, and will use renewable electricity to drive chemistry by combining electrochemical, photochemical, and thermochemical systems.

Schiffer was recently named to the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list, which recognizes the best and the brightest minds in everything from science and technology to arts and entertainment.

Schiffer was recognized for his work “decarbonizing the chemical industry, addressing pressing issues like plastic recycling, green fuel production, and sustainable chemical synthesis.”

Schiffer is the first faculty hired at SEAS as part of a cross-disciplinary “cluster search” that aims to recruit as many as six new faculty members to bolster the school’s focus on teaching and research to tackle the biggest challenges in climate, energy and sustainability.

As a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, Schiffer worked on developing electrochemical carbon capture from seawater and photocatalytic nitrogen reduction. 

Schiffer completed his bachelor’s degree in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at MIT.

Topics: Applied Physics, Climate

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