The Walter Kohn Prize

For outstanding contributions in the field of quantum-mechanical materials and molecular modeling

The Walter Kohn Prize for quantum-mechanical materials modeling, jointly instituted and co-funded by ICTP and the Quantum ESPRESSO Foundation will be awarded biennially to a young scientist for outstanding contributions in the field of quantum-mechanical materials and molecular modeling, performed in a developing country or emerging economy, with emphasis on first-principles techniques.

The Prize will be usually awarded to one person, but may be shared equally among recipients who have contributed to the same body of work.  

The Prize consists of:       

  • a cash award of €2000      
  • a citation     
  • an invitation attend the award ceremony and deliver an award lecture at ICTP  

Eligible candidates should be under the age of 45 on 31 May 2016 and must be working in countries that are NOT included in the list of “High-income economies” compiled by the World Bank (see

Nominations and self nominations, including a CV of the candidate, a list of the three best publications arising out of work performed in a developing country or emerging economy, and no less than two letters of support, should be sent to the Prize Committee at, before 31 May 2016, 6 pm GMT.  

Members of the prize panel are:

  • Shobhana Narasimhan (JNCASR, Bangalore, India) — Chair
  • Nithaya Chetty (University of Pretoria and NRF, South Africa)
  • Belita Koiller (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Sandro Scandolo (ICTP, Trieste, Italy)
  • Jaejun Yu (Seoul National University, South Korea)

The first award ceremony will be held on 13 January 2017, at ICTP, Trieste, Italy, during the International Workshop on Computational Physics and Materials Science: Total Energy and Force Methods.        

Walter Kohn, 1998 Nobel Laureate for Chemistry, was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1923, and became a naturalised US citizen in 1957 after escaping Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and earning university degrees in Canada and the United States in the 1940s. Renowned for his work as a condensed matter theorist, Kohn made seminal contributions to our understanding of the electronic function of materials. He played a leading role in the development of density functional theory, which has proved an invaluable concept for physicists, chemists and material scientists. Kohn was also founding director of the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. Kohn passed away on 19 April 2016.