April 28, 2021
Staff Accomplishment

Xiaosong Li Honored with University of Washington’s Distinguished Teaching Award

Li selected based on ability to foster a rich, positive, and encouraging learning environment in chemistry

Xiaosong Li

Xiaosong Li

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Xiaosong Li was honored with the the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching honor from the University of Washington (UW). Li was selected based on his ability to foster a rich, positive, and encouraging learning environment in chemistry courses. Additionally, he provides students with cutting-edge “chemistry by computational design” that aims to bridge the critical educational gap between classroom education in computational chemistry and the scientific skills needed for industrial, technical, and research jobs.

For nearly five years, Li has held a leadership role in the Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) Energy Frontier Research Center. In addition to a new role as director of IDREAM’s Early Career Network, Li holds a dual appointment with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and was recently named a PNNL lab fellow.

“Teaching isn’t one person’s job, and this award is a testament to the staff and research partners I work with,” Li said. “This award is for the teaching assistants that support me, to the UW Chemistry Department and IDREAM, which inspires me with new ideas every day.” 

Li has worked with IDREAM since its inception. As a computational chemist, his work focuses on radiation chemistry and radiation of chemical processes in the solid-state phase and in the solution phase.

“Part of being a good teacher is being able to embed new knowledge and ideas into the classes I teach. I’ve learned a lot working with IDREAM and have been able to share that knowledge with students,” said Li.

Li began his career with UW in 2005, where he now is the Harry and Catherine Jaynne Boand Endowed Professor of Chemistry and Associate Chair of Chemistry. He received his PhD in theoretical chemistry from Wayne State University. His research interests include computational and theoretical studies of chemical processes, time-dependent electronic structure theory, molecular dynamics, and methods for excited-state calculations.

A multi-institutional research effort stewarded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Basic Energy Sciences program, IDREAM is led by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.