COLUMBIA, Mo.– The recent addition to the faculty at the University of Missouri is an internationally renowned theoretical physicist who says his love of gadgets paved the way for his study in thermoelectric materials. His recent work discusses converting waste heat from cars into electricity using thermoelectric materials.

Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Elizabeth Orosco speak with Singh.


David Singh is internationally recognized for his contributions to the methodology for electronic structure calculations and in applications to diverse classes of materials. His work in condensed matter and materials physics, superconductivity, radiation detection, and thermoelectric materials has resulted in growing programs that span the interface between basic and applied research.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with excellent people in different institutions and I’ve learned a lot from them,” said Singh. “Now I’m here at MU and have the pleasure of interacting with the students which I really enjoy a lot.”

Singh says his introduction to thermoelectrics began when he was invited to a meeting during his time at the Naval Research Lab.

“I was studying materials of various kinds, and there was interest in the navy about thermoelectric materials related to cooling inside submarines,” said Singh. “I was not working in thermoelectric materials at the time, but  asked to come to meeting, discuss materials and learn what I could about those materials. I have always loved gadgets. When I heard about thermoelectrics and what they can do and how they worked and what the challenges are, I found the topic fascinating.  I’ve stuck with it for about 15 years.”

The Dean of the College of Arts and Science says Singh has much to contribute to the College and will produce several benefits for the institution.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Singh to our college,” said Michael J. O’Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science, in a recent press release. “His ground-breaking research will contribute greatly to boosting Mizzou’s standing in the Association of American Universities (AAU) and our efforts to attract other world-class scientists to Mizzou.”

Singh’s research interests include: electronic structure calculations, superconductivity and spin fluctuation models, thermoelectric materials, magnetism and functional oxides. The primary focus is developing understanding of the macroscopic properties of matter at the level of electrons and ions and using this understanding to guide the search for new materials.

Singh is a graduate of the University of Ottawa, with a Ph.D. in Physics in 1985. He did postdoctoral work at the College of William and Mary and the Naval Research Laboratory. He became a staff scientist at the Naval Research Laboratory and served as head of the Theory of Functional Materials Section. He joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2004.

With more than 300 scientific papers to his credit, Singh is a sought-after speaker at leading technical conferences. His honors include the 2008 UT-Battelle Director’s Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology and the Naval Research Laboratory E.O. Hulburt Award. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and serves on the editorial boards of Phase Transitions and Functional Materials Letters. Singh is a member of the Publication Oversight Committee of the American Physical Society and was recently elected to the American Physical Society Division of Computational Physics Executive Committee.

He was named a corporate fellow in 2009.

To read more on his recent work, click here.