Pablo Debenedetti delivers Gubbins Lectures on the profound oddities of water

Friday, Mar 22, 2019
by Scott Lyon

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Pablo Debenedetti delivered the 2019 Keith E. Gubbins Lectures at North Carolina State University. The lectures, a two-part series that connects deep inquiry to its profound implications for technology, focused on the strange behavior of water in extreme states.

The first lecture considered water molecules confined to tiny spaces, where evaporation rates shift dramatically with small changes in the environment. Debenedetti, Dean for Research and the Class of 1950 Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, showed the link between his numerical approaches and the real-world behavior of proteins.

The second lecture looked at the special case of "supercooled" water — water that remains liquid at temperatures far below its freezing point — and the ongoing attempt to reconcile the limits of experimental observation with computer simulations. He also touched on the recent resolution of a long-standing debate over this subject and make the case for greater transparency in research.

The Gubbins Lecture Series, created in 2015, aims to bring distinguished lecturers to the NC State campus for a three-day period so that students can engage meaningfully with the visiting researcher. Debenedetti delivered his lectures on March 18 and 19, 2019.