Department welcomes Yang Yang, Assistant Professor

Yang Yang
Yang Yang

Assistant Professor Yang Yang arrived at UW-Madison August 19, 2019, to conduct research in theoretical and computational chemistry with the Department of Chemistry. He encourages students and postdocs, interested in quantum chemistry, to contact him about joining the lab.

Yang received his bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and physics at Peking University (2011) and his Ph.D. in chemistry at Duke University (2016). He most recently worked on method development in multicomponent density functional theory, as a postdoctoral associate in theoretical chemistry at Yale University, under the direction of Sharon Hammes-Schiffer.

Why did you choose the University of Wisconsin-Madison?

UW-Madison has one of the best chemistry departments in the world. It has great resources for doing research and also attracts a lot of great people, including both faculty and students. During my interview, I learned about the exciting research people are doing here, and felt people’s interest in my research. Therefore, the opportunity of doing science with smart and friendly people is the main reason that I chose Madison. In addition, I also heard of a lot of good things about Madison. For example, it has beautiful scenery, it is also a very safe city, and it is very bike-friendly.

Tell us about your background. What made you pursue science and research? How has your experience shaped your research goals?

I had a bachelor’s degree in both chemistry and physics. Then I pursued my Ph.D. in theoretical chemistry, which is a combination of chemistry and physics. Understanding the chemistry world with basic physical principles fascinates me and has always been my research goal.

What can students expect from you in class or in the lab?

I am going to teach Physical Chemistry for the first semester, with the main focus on quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is not an intuitive subject, so my goal will be to build a clear physical picture in students’ minds. In addition to the qualitative picture, I also hope my students can get good mathematical training in my class, which includes both derivations of equations and practical computations.

What most excites you about coming to UW–Madison?

Smart and friendly people I can work with!