Pavle Nikačević, PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Núria López (ICIQ), has defended his PhD thesis entitled “Atomistic Insights into Photocatalytic Mechanisms: Modeling Selected Processes with Density Functional Theory” publicly on September 26th.
The members of the evaluation committee were Prof. Samira Siahrostami (University of Calgary, Canada), Prof. Sixto Jiménez Juliá (Institute of Advanced Material (INAM), Spain) and Prof. Prof. Stephan Steinmann (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), France)
Dr. Pavle Nikačević was born in Gornji Milanovac, Serbia. He got his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Belgrade (2015-2019). He came to ICIQ in 2018 as a Summer Fellow in Prof. Galán-Mascarós’ group and then joined Prof. López’ group to do his M. Sc. in Synthesis, Catalysis and Molecular Design (URV/ICIQ).
He is working on the systematic use of computational chemistry methods to elucidate the mechanisms behind photocatalytic processes in the Prof. López’ group, and his PhD was funded by the Marie Curie ITN Solar2Chem. Pavle has many hobbies, but playing the piano has been his main interest for the last 20 years.
Why did you become a scientist?
I became a scientist because of my inquisitive nature and passion for problem solving.
What triggered your interest for the subject of your thesis?
The subject of my thesis allowed me to combine my knowledge of chemistry with my interest in theoretical studies.
What applications can your thesis have in the future?
My thesis will contribute to the integration of theoretical and experimental studies in the field of photocatalysis, which will further facilitate the design of sustainable chemical processes.
From the lessons learnt (or skills developed) at ICIQ, which one do you value the most?
I learned how to approach complex problems systematically and how to cope when things do not go as planned. I also developed an understanding of how the scientific community works.
What will you miss the most from ICIQ?
The friends I made.
What advice do you have for someone who’s starting their PhD now?
Don’t let your career take up most of your time. It is only a part of who you are, not your defining characteristic.
Have you ever been emotional over an experiment/simulation? Why?
I had a series of make-or-break simulations whose results would either confirm or disprove all my previous work. Fortunately, even if it was the latter, I would still find a way to come up with a bigger picture where everything was consistent.
Who has been your biggest influence/motivation?
Ludwig van Beethoven.
Science is fun because…
…it allows you to be the first person ever to learn something new about the universe.
Tell us something about you that people might not know…
I am an administrator of one of the largest mycology Facebook groups in the Balkans and a certified Yu-Gi-Oh! judge.