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HPC2 MSU Member Center, the Center for Computational Sciences, Doctoral Student Receives Accolades

November 13, 2017

Nandadasa Chandani N. Nandadasa is a world traveler in search of knowledge.

After receiving a physics degree at the University of Peradeniya in her native Sri Lanka, she came to Starkville to begin work in 2011 on a terminal degree in applied physics through the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State. Along the ways, she also completed a master's degree with the College of Arts and Sciences in 2013, and she looks forward to earning her Ph.D. this semester.

"Studying in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at MSU is the most enjoyable experience in my life," she said. "The other most enjoyable thing is watching college football games at MSU with the unique tradition of the cowbell."

During her doctoral studies, she received a National Science Foundation fellowship in 2015 from the East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute that supported three months of study at Sungkyunkwan University, a private South Korean research institution. There, she worked with internationally renowned scientists in the field of 2-D nanoscale materials.

Last year, she was among some 50 students nationwide receiving a science graduate student research award from the U.S. Department of Energy on the basis of her academic accomplishments and merits of her proposed doctoral investigation. "First-principles theoretical study on the structural, electronic and magnetic properties of two-dimensional electrides" is the title.

The goal of the federal program is to prepare graduate students for science, technology, engineering or mathematics careers critically important to the D.O.E. Office of Science mission by providing graduate thesis research opportunities at D.O.E. laboratories.

During her year at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Nandadasa worked with research scientist Mina Yoon of the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, an internationally recognized authority in the field of condensed matter physics and computational materials science. While in the Volunteer State, she also had access to supercomputer resources of the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.

In addition to expressing appreciation to Yoon for helping her learn new theoretical analysis techniques and performing research to improve her dissertation work, Nandadasa thanked MSU Professor of Computational Physics Seong-Gon Kim, her faculty adviser and director of MSU's Center for Computational Sciences, as well as Mark Novotny, head of MSU's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

"Not only did my thesis adviser always encourage and direct me to achieve my goals, but also other faculty members supported me in numerous ways. I would like to continue in academia since I love both teaching and research," Nandadasa said.


Story by Heath Fisackerly | Photo by Russ Houston