Mark E. Eberhart

Professor, Department of Chemistry


106 B Coolbaugh Hall
(303) 273 3726
Fax: (303) 273 3629

Labs and Research Centers


  • BS – University of Colorado
  • MS – University of Colorado
  • PhD – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Postdoctoral Study – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Full CV

Research Areas

Our ability to meet the challenges of the 21st century–the sustainable extraction of resources from the earth and environment–can often be met through the discovery of new and improved materials. For thousands of years new materials have been “stumbled upon” and materials were improved with trial and error experimentation–unreliable, slow, and costly processes all. If we are to meet the challenges of this century, we must find ways to design materials, much like we design buildings, bridges or circuits. In these examples the engineer starts with a set of performance criteria and work backwards to a structure that optimally satisfies these criteria. When it comes to designing materials, it will be necessary to create atomic, molecular and condensed phase structures with optimal properties. This is a very hard problem to solve. For though it is conceptually straightforward to use theoretical methods to calculate the properties of a given structure, how one determines which of an infinite number of possible structures will be, for example, the hardest, strongest, and lightest, is unknown. In the computational materials world this challenge is called the “inverse problem.”

Those working in my research group are using quantum mechanical methods in an attempt to understand the atomic origins of material properties, particularly mechanical properties (hardness, strength, ductility). It is my belief that with such an understanding it will be possible to solve the inverse problem.