Brenda Rubenstein

Brenda Rubenstein

Associate Professor of Chemistry and Physics

Brown University

Dr. Brenda Rubenstein is currently an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Brown University. She is also a graduate trainer in the Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry (MCB) Department and Computational Biology Program. She was named to Popular Science magazine’s 2021 Brilliant 10 list of the top early career scientists and C&EN’s 2019 Talented 12 list of early career chemists, and has received a number of research and teaching honors including the Fulbright Scholarship, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Cottrell Teacher-Scholar Award, and Sloan Research Fellowship. While the focus of her work is on developing new electronic structure methods, she is also deeply engaged in rethinking computing architectures and computational biophysics. She is furthermore deeply committed to educational equity and is known for her research mentoring, teaching, equity, and outreach efforts.

Prior to arriving at Brown, Prof. Rubenstein was a Lawrence Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. She received her Sc.B.s in Chemical Physics and Applied Mathematics at Brown University, her M.Phil. in Computational Chemistry while a Churchill Scholar at the University of Cambridge, and her Ph.D. in Chemical Physics at Columbia University.

Prof. Rubenstein has been a lifelong advocate of educational equity and diversity. As a kid, she grew up in a working/lower middle class suburb of New York City with no emphasis on education and negligibly few with college degrees. She is here because of luck and the dedication of a few exceptional teachers who took a few moments to suggest some risky, but potentially life-transforming paths. She strongly believes in paying the confidence they put in her back to others.

In her spare time, Prof. Rubenstein is an avid outdoorswoman and athlete who is proud of her encyclopaedic knowledge of basketball and rap. But, usually, she is found reading some paper about something that hasn’t become a reality yet or singing Greatest Hits from the Cars at her son, Orion's, suggestion.

Background Lawrence Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow, LLNL, 2013-2016
Ph.D., Chemical Physics, Columbia University, 2008-2013
M.Phil., Theoretical Chemistry, University of Cambridge, 2007-2008
Sc.B., Chemical Physics; A.B., Applied Mathematics, Brown University, 2003-2007

Selected Honors
Fulbright Scholar, 2023
Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar, 2021
Cottrell Scholar, 2020
Air Force Young Investigator, 2019
Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 2019
Brown University Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Award, 2019
Lawrence Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2013
DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellow, 2008
NSF Graduate Research Fellow, 2008
Winston Churchill Scholar, 2007
Barry Goldwater Scholar, 2006\