Who We Are

Dr. Walter Kohn
Dr. Walter Kohn is the Executive Producer of the film Documentary, “The Power of the Sun”. The two anniversaries that Kohn seeks to commemorate with his film refers to two breakthroughs: the first was Einstein’s seminal 1905 paper introducing the concept of light acting as both discrete bundles of energy – photons – as well as waves; the second was the 1954 invention at the Bell Laboratories of the first practical silicon solar cell to convert photons from sunlight directly into electrical energy.

Dr. Kohn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his development of the density-functional theory. Press release from The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Walter Kohn is a condensed matter theorist who has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the electronic structure of materials. He played the leading role in the development of the density functional theory, which has revolutionized scientists' approach to the electronic structure of atoms, molecules and solid materials in physics, chemistry and materials science. With the advent of supercomputers, density functional theory has become an essential tool for electronic materials science. Professor Kohn has also made major contributions to the physics of semiconductors, superconductivity, surface physics and catalysis.

Professor Kohn was the founding director of the National Science Foundation's Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Institute brings together leading scientists from throughout the world to work on major problems in theoretical physics and related fields. Under Professor Kohn's leadership it quickly developed into one of the leading research centers in physics, and has been widely copied.

He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University, is the author of 200 scientific articles and reviews, and is presently a Professor of Physics, Emeritus and Research Professor at UCSB, Santa Barbara.

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