Efthimios Kaxiras was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he received a BS in Physics and a PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics. He joined the faculty of Harvard University in 1991 where he is currently the John Hasbrouck Van Vleck Professor of Pure and Applied Physics. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Physics and in Applied Physics at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and is an Affiliate of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. He is the Founding Director of the Institute for Applied Computational Science.
During leaves from Harvard, he has held faculty appointments and administrative positions in Switzerland (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne - Institute of Materials) and in Greece (University of Crete - Department of Physics, University of Ioannina - Department of Materials Science and Technology, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas - Biomedical Research Insritute). He holds several distinctions, including Fellow of the American Physical Society and Chartered Physicist and Fellow of the Institute of Physics.
His research interests span a range of topics in the physics of solids and fluids and the use of multiscale simulations to address problems such as: the electronic and optical properties of crystalline and amorphous solids and their dependence on the atomic structure and chemical composition; the nature of electronic states and optical properties of biomolecules like DNA, melanin, flavonoids and organic dyes; the microscopic origin of brittle or ductile response of solids and the effects of chemical impurities on mechanical behavior; the physics of blood flow in heart arteries and their connection to heart disease. Recent applications of the computational models that his group has developed focus on discovering new materials and processes for solar energy conversion and energy storage.
He serves on the Editorial Board of several scientific journals, has published over 330 papers in refereed journals and several review articles and chapters in books, as well as a graduate textbook on the structure of solids.