Marco Buongiorno Nardelli

Marco Buongiorno Nardelli


Ph.D., 1993, International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste, Italy
Major: Condensed Matter Theory
Laurea, 1989, Università degli Studi di Roma–La Sapienza, Rome, Italy
Major: Physics


Buongiorno Nardelli, M. (Co-Principal), "Topological decompositions and spectral sampling algorithms for element substitution in critical technologies," Sponsored by Office of Naval Research-DoD Multidisciplinary University Initiative, Federal, $8,572,268 Funded. (2013 – 2018).


Jagoda Slawinska, Frank T Cerasoli, Haihang Wang, Sara Postorino, Andrew Supka, Stefano Curtarolo, Marco Fornari, Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Giant Spin Hall Effect in Two-Dimensional Monochalcogenides, arXiv preprint arXiv:1810.02860

M Costa, M Buongiorno Nardelli, A Fazzio, AT Costa, Long range dynamical coupling between magnetic adatoms mediated by a 2D topological insulator, arXiv preprint arXiv:1808.00347

Pinku Nath, Demet Usanmaz, David Hicks, Corey Oses, Marco Fornari, Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Cormac Toher, Stefano Curtarolo, AFLOW-QHA3P: Robust and automated method to compute thermodynamic properties of solids, arXiv preprint arXiv:1807.04669

M Costa, AT Costa, Walter A Freitas, Tome M Schmidt, M Buongiorno Nardelli, A Fazzio, On the Emergence of Topologically Protected Boundary States in Topological/Normal Insulator Heterostructures, arXiv preprint arXiv:1803.08587

Kirstin Alberi, Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Andriy Zakutayev, Lubos Mitas, Stefano Curtarolo, Anubhav Jain, Marco Fornari, Nicola Marzari, Ichiro Takeuchi, Martin L Green, Mercouri G Kanatzidis, Michael F Toney, Sergey Butenko, Bryce Meredig, Stephan Lany, Ursula Kattner, Albert Davydov, Eric Toberer, Vladan Stevanovic, Aron Walsh, Nam-Gyu Park, Alan Aspuru-Guzik, Daniel Tabor, Jenny Nelson, James Murphy, Anant Setlur, John Gregoire, Hong Li, Ruijuan Xiao, Alfred Ludwig, Lane W Martin, Andrew Rappe, Su-Huai Wei, John Perkins, The 2018 Materials by Design Roadmap, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics (eds. Kirstin Alberi, Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Andriy Zakutayev)

Laura Giacopetti, Austin Nevin, Daniela Comelli, Gianluca Valentini, Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Alessandra Satta, First principles study of the optical emission of cadmium yellow: Role of cadmium vacancies, AIP Advances 8 (6), 065202

Demet Usanmaz, Pinku Nath, Cormac Toher, Jose Javier Plata, Rico Friedrich, Marco Fornari, Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Stefano Curtarolo, Spinodal superlattices of topological insulators, Chemistry of Materials 30 (7), 2331-2340

Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Beautiful Data: Reflections for a Sonification and Post-Sonification Aesthetics, Leonardo 51 (3), 228-228 (in Leonardo Gallery: Scientific Delirium Madness 4.0)

Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, Frank T. Cerasoli, Marcio Costa, Stefano Curtarolo, Riccardo De Gennaro, Marco Fornari, Laalitha Liyanage, Andrew R. Supka, Haihang Wang, PAOFLOW: A utility to construct and operate on ab initio Hamiltonians from the Projections of electronic wavefunctions on Atomic Orbital bases, including characterization of topological materials, Computational Materials Science, 143 462 (2018


Nov. 7, 2018, Trio, for flute, recorder and cello, Festivais de Outono 2018 – University of Aveiro - Trio Syrinxcello, Antonio Carrilho, recorder, Katherine Rawdon, flute, Catherine Strinckx, cello 

IMeRA-PRISM in Marseille (France), as guest researcher with the purpose of carrying out the research project: BEAUTIFUL DATA: FROM VIRTUAL NAVIGATION OF LARGE DATA SPACES TO A POST-SONIFICATION ESTHETICS 

IDEA, an Interactive Display of Electrons and Atoms, TRIESTE NEXT 2018 European Researchers' Night, 7a Edizione del Festival della Ricerca Scientifica, Trieste, September 28-30, 2018.

IDEA, an Interactive Display of Electrons and Atoms, “The Olympic games of neutrons and photons” Exhibition at the Science in the City Festival for the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF2018) in Toulouse (France) in July 8-14, 2018

Miniature Opera Project #1: UNKNOWN a journeyCURRENTS NEW MEDIA exhibition and festival in Santa Fe, NM, June 8-24, 2018

Marco Buongiorno Nardelli

Musician, Chemist, Physicist: A Renaissance Man

Seated second from left, Marco Buongiorno Nardelli, 1974, playing drumsHe probably became a musician first. Marco Buongiorno Nardelli says he started to study and make music when he was only six years old, but his interest in the sciences came early to him too. He played the drums in 1974, (black and white photo) in a Renaissance music masterclass. Now he is a flutist, composer and distinguished research professor in physics and chemistry—a man of many talents and areas of knowledge.

Marco, as he prefers to be called, keeps up his musical chops through performances and his membership in two music organizations. In his science-based work, as a computational materials physicist, he is researching how matter can be manipulated to design generations of new materials for yet unknown technologies and applications. His research activities are focused on the application of beginning electronic-structure techniques to the theoretical study of important aspects of the physics of materials. Marco's current research programs focus on various aspects of computational materials and high-performance simulations.

"Serendipity, opportunity, chance, ambition, determination, you name it"—these are what Marco says helped him get from Rome, Italy, to Denton, Texas. "I started a journey long ago and I am still traveling," he said. Working as a teacher for 11 years at North Carolina State University, Marco joint the UNT faculty in 2012.


Marco is a member of the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia, an interdisciplinary center focused on music and arts technologies that is housed within UNT's Division of Composition Studies. CEMI fosters integration of electroacoustic music, live performance, video/film, plastic arts and theater. CEMI is a unique creative environment, world-renowned for innovative works and musicians and provides an environment for research, education and public performance. Many of his compositions, such as Amargosa Triptych for piano, can be accessed through the Petrucci Music Library.

music graphMarco also belongs to iARTA, the Initiative for Advanced Research in Technology. His project, materialssoundmusic, is a new computer-aided data-driven composition environment based on the sonification and remix of of scientific data streams. Sonification of scientific data, i.e., the perceptualization of information through acoustic means, not only provides a useful alternative and complement to visual data representation, but provides also the raw data for potential artistic remixes and further musical interpretation. The materialssoundmusic project starts with the sonification of the materials property data from the online computational materials science repository Read more about this project.

Another musical outlet of Marco's is his miniature opera project about making space become an interactive score and allowing the audience to create unique musical sequences by acting directly on a physical art piece, depicted in the first photograph on this page. These installations are designed as a large, interactive electronic “game boards” made of numerous “electronic tiles” that can be connected to each other in a completely reconfigurable way. Each tile contains a light sensor that triggers a unique sound event when covered. Read more.

As a member of Ecco La Musica, Marco has released the critically acclaimed album "Morning Moon" (Big Round Records, 2012). In 2018, he premiered the installation “Miniature Opera Project #1: UNKNOWN, a journey”, presented, among other venues, at CURRENTS New Media, the international exhibition and festival of new media arts in Santa Fe, N.M.


Logo of La SapienzaIn his undergraduate work, Marco studied condensed matter theory: the field of physics that deals with the macroscopic and microscopic physical properties of matter. In particular this field is concerned with the "condensed" phases that appear whenever the number of constituents in a system is extremely large and the interactions between the constituents are strong. His undergraduate work was completed at a university that was founded in 1303. One of the most prestigious and largest universities in Italy, La Sapienza, formally known as Università degli Studi di Roma, is a research university in Rome and university of numerous notable professors and alumni, including Nicolaus Copernicus and Guglielmo Marconi, Nobel laureates, heads of nations, scientists and astronauts. Travel to a city in north-eastern Italy, the largest port on the Adriatic and capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, almost to Slovenia, and you reach the ancient city of Trieste, where Marco studied for his doctoral degree in physics at SISSA, Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati.

His research group at UNT, one of the representative members of the Quantum-ESPRESSO Foundation and member of the AFLOW consortium (mentioned above), is at the forefront of computational materials and high-performance simulations. Particular emphasis is on theoretical developments of ab initio DFT-based methods, high-throughput computational techniques and computational materials design with a strong vision for sustainable development of scientific software for high-performance materials simulations.

Art and Science

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Institute of Physics, and a Parma Recordings artist. His Art-Science practice orbits around the duality of data sonification: translation of complex events in sonic material, and object for musical poiesis. Data are raw elements for a compositional process that transcends the materiality of the original information in a post-sonification praxis: the data stream is open for elaboration as principal element of a data-driven compositional environment. He uses these data as a sculptor would use clay (the raw data) to mold any object or create any design (the music).

Port city of Trieste, Italy


"The most important soft skill that I require in my students at all levels is critical thinking," says Marco. "I look for passion, dedication and commitment. A successful PhD graduate must must achieve independence, creativity, originality of thought and courage to explore uncharted territories." Having moved away from the passive-lecture model, Marco says he tries actively to engage his students through hands-on projects and independent work.

The general skill or software apps/technology skill that Marco believes every graduate should master is coding—in any language. Mastery of a coding language is not an option in any advanced degree career—it is a necessity. In his research group, Python and Fortran are used mostly, but any computer language would do, Marco said.

Offering advice to students, Marco points to quantum computation, artificial intelligence and big data applications as the biggest opportunities facing the industry in his areas of expertise.

"Keep your eyes open; do not narrow yourself down to a hyper-specialized degree and, of course, have fun!" Marco also says "always have a mentor—dead or alive."

If you're wondering what book you might expect to see on Marco's bedside table, here goes. Of course, there is not only one.

Primo Levi, Il sistema periodico (The Periodic Table)
Albert Camus, Lettre a un Ami Allemande (Letter to a German Friend)
Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of New Music
Patrick O’Brien, The Mauritius Command
Luciano Berio, Intervista sulla Musica (Interview on Music)
Wendy Heller, Music in the Baroque
Frank Zappa, Zappa on Zappa

Contact Information

940-369-8596  |  |  Physics Building, Room 317  | Google Scholar Profile

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