Researcher Profile: Alice Dufresne

MIT CSHub Researcher Alice Durfresne
March 9, 2016

Alice Dufresne she said she feels at home in Cambridge even though her real roots are in France, shared, she said, “between the Geneva region, the Alps (Savoie) and the Atlantic Ocean (Bretagne).”

While earning a Bachelor’s degree in physics at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, Alice spent a year in Germany at Technische Universität München in Münich, Germany, before going on to earn an MSc in Nuclear Engineering through EPFL and ETH Zürich, and a PhD in Material Science at Aix-Marseille University.

“Early in my BSc I realized that solid-state physics was my favorite topic,” she said. “My engineering MSc gave me the chance to better understand the applied side of the field. Since then, I had the chance to reconcile quite fundamental research with real industrial issues, as I did during my PhD studying Zirconium hydrides – of crucial concern for the nuclear safety – from an atomic-scale modeling view point.”

Alice arrived at MIT in May 2015 to conduct postdoctoral research with the CSHub. “My research here aims at developing a bottom-up modeling approach to better understand the Alkali-Silica reaction (ASR) in concrete,” she said.  

She explained, “The lifetime of infrastructures subjected to this degrading reaction is reduced and often accompanied by higher maintenance cost. However, to date, there are no real ways to predict the appearance of this reaction. Clarifying the fundamental mechanisms from the smaller scales – the atomic- and the meso- ones—is thus needed. To achieve this, I benefit from the deep knowledge of the group on these both scales. My work is to extend the models made for pure C-S-H, to C-S-H subjected to ASR.”

Alice’s first research brief, on modeling ASR, is expected to be published later this month.