His research has biomedical importance, as dynamically similar wave structures can cause dangerous cardiac arrhythmia.
Developing Scholar 2005-2006
Oliver Steinbock, associate professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been identified as one of Florida State’s future academic leaders. Recently, he was honored with one of five Developing Scholar Awards for 2005-2006.
Steinbock researches nonlinear chemical dynamics and chemical self-organization far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Such self-organization is a crucial hallmark of living systems where groups of numerous units are capable of developing surprising, emergent phenomena that one would not find for each individual unit. A classic example is neuronal tissue in which a myriad of coupled cells gives rise to higher levels of synergetic performance, such as a thought, a migraine attack, or the U.S. tax code.
His research team investigates such emerging phenomena for comparably simple reaction systems—for instance, thin layers of certain autocatalytic reactions self-organize traveling waves and rotating concentration patterns. These patterns are interesting from a fundamental point of view and have biomedical importance, as dynamically similar wave structures can cause dangerous cardiac arrhythmia, including ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation.
His scientific results have been published in peer-reviewed journals—Physical Review Letters and the Journal of the American Chemical Society—and have been featured in magazines—Chemistry in Britain and Chemistry World. He is a frequent speaker at workshops and conferences, both national—Pacifichem in Hawaii—and international— Oxford, England and Berlin, Germany. Steinbock also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Unconventional Computing and is currently a guest editor of Chaos, a journal of the American Institute of Physics.
Steinbock’s research has been supported by grants from the Petroleum Research Fund and the National Science Foundation (NSF). His most recent NSF grant secured funding for the 2005-2009 period. Since his arrival at FSU, he has helped secure nearly $1.5 million in external funding.
In addition to his research, Steinbock is a dedicated teacher of students at all levels in both Physical Chemistry and General Chemistry. He has also served as the major professor of Honors, graduate, and postdoctoral students, who are now scientists at medical schools, state agencies, and private corporations. His love of teaching evident, Steinbock was recognized in 2003 with the University Teaching Award.