Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Computational Chemistry with Professor Chris Cramer

New podcast episode!

In this episode Sam and I are joined by Professor Chris Cramer from the University of Minnesota. Show notes after the embedded player.

Remember, you can also find us on iTunes or just subscribe using the RSS.





All times are approximate (± 2 minutes):

1:45 - What is computational chemistry? Also, my phone goes off right next to the microphone during a question I can't reasonably edit around.

4:00 - Chemistry (or at least computational chemistry) seems to have its own definition of "theory".

5:30 - What types of questions does Chris work on? Chris talks about different scales of calculations: Length, time, and energy. Each of which bring their own insight and problems to the table (computer?).

8:30 - What system have you worked on in the past that you're glad to be done with?

9:15 - Odd projects that are "finished" often launch new research.

9:45 - Collaboration with experimentalists.

13:30 - Computational chemistry as a guide to experiment.

15:00 - Nobel prize in Chemistry.

19:00 - Paul from ChemBark gives his prediction for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. See the full Google Hangout here.

21:00 - The H-Index

22:00 - Where does computational chemistry go from here?

23:00 - What are the limitations in computational chemistry? Chris talks about messy systems. Do we need more computing power or do we need a new theory?

28:00 - Accuracy in computational chemistry. Chad gives a bad analogy. No really, it's bad (it works perfectly in his head, though).

29:00 - More thoughts about collaboration with experimentalists. The take home: If you go to Prof Cramer and he says "We should write a proposal" it may just be because you haven't thought about it enough yourself.

31:00 - Chris explains what a wavefunction is (with a much better analogy than the one Chad gave).

33:00 - What is the life of a computational chemist like? What should a student do to prepare?

39:00 - Chris brings up the impostor syndrome. Two episodes in a row now. Chad loves nothing more than listing the things he's not good at.

41:00 - Computational chemistry in Sci-Fi boks and movies.

45:00 - The Fortnightly Scientist. Chris talks about grandfather to his children Paul Dowd and his work with Non-Kekulé biradicals. Chemists will love this section. Non-chemists may need the wikipedia article to understand (but it will be worth your time. These molecules are pretty cool).