1.I recorded 12 lectures covering electronic structure theory that can be viewed as MP4 streaming videos. These lectures total about 12 hours of material.
2. I have an online source for material on molecular anions. I also have a web site at which one can view lectures by many of the leading scientists who study anions who took part in a workshop on molecular anions in June, 2007.
3. I have a web site at which one can view lectures by myself, Ken Jordan, Martin Head-Gordon, John Tully, Rick Heller, Tamar Seideman, Jim Doll, Emily Carter, Joan Shea, and Tom Cheatham covering many aspects of theoretical chemistry. These lectures were presented in an ACS PRF funded summer school on theory in 2005.
4. We have begun a biennial series of Telluride Schools on Theoretical Chemistry beginning with one held in 2009 in Telluride, Colorado and administered by the Telluride Science Research Center. Go to either of hese links to gain information or to apply.
This web site is intended to provide college science majors with a brief introduction to the field of theoretical chemistry, both in a historical context and as it is practiced today. It is also designed to offer practicing chemists and other scientists perspective about how this field can impact their own.
Because theoretical chemistry lies at the interfaces among chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computational science, and because it has been greatly affected by the explosive growth in computer technology, it is an exciting and ever-more-important area of modern chemistry education and research. It is likely to have major impacts over the next ten to twenty years within the disciplines of materials chemistry and biological chemistry which currently are two of the "hottest" research areas in chemical science.
The primary goals of the present work are to give an overview of the roles that theory plays within chemistry education and research, to illustrate the wide impact that theory has within the science of chemistry, to introduce the reader to the modern day components of theoretical chemistry, and to offer guidance to students who may be interested in pursuing a career in chemistry.
The level of presentation used here ranges from what motivated high school students can follow through that appropriate to a chemistry faculty member active in research. As such, it is not anticipated that high school and entering-level college students can follow many of the details. However, I believe all readers can gain an accurate perspective of what theoretical chemistry is by reading this work and connecting to its many web links even if the level of presentation is beyond some readers' grasp. It is my hope that by speaking at the research level when appropriate and necessary, even though the less knowledgeable reader may have a difficult time following details, she or he will be able to appreciate the range of applicability of which modern theory is capable and will see that the underpinnings of this field are still under active development.
This work is not designed to offer enough details on the subjects discussed to make it an acceptable text book for gaining a working knowledge of these subjects. Instead, it is designed to give the reader a perspective of what theory is and how it contributes to chemical science and education. For these reasons, throughout the text, references are provided to allow the reader to acquire deeper knowledge on numerous topics; these references include widely used graduate level text books (including a link that offer full access to the author's text on the subject) as well as literature articles and world wide web contact information for many practicing theoretical chemists several of whom have provided considerable help to me in this effort. Many of the web links provide wonderful information from which students can gain further detail as well as links to additional exciting chemistry material.
In addition to the many web links, I have included photographs of numerous theoretical chemists who have played pioneering roles in the early days as well as of currently active scientists whose research continues to advance the field. In so doing, I have had to make somewhat arbitrary decisions about whom to mention simply to limit the amount of material to present. Often, these decisions have been dictated by whose photographs I could find as I searched the web, and, of course, they reflect the author's limited expertise and areas of interest. If I have offended anyone by not including them, I suggest they send me a photo, and I will consider including it as I update this site. It is my hope that the links and photos I offer here will help young readers see the human side of pursuing scientific research in this wonderful discipline.
Finally, because I think many student readers will identify with some of the feelings I had while in high school and college that caused me to fall in love with this area of scientific study, I discuss briefly in how I decided to pursue this line of work the experiences that drew me into this line of work. Now let's move on to examine what theoretical chemistry is and how it is becoming a more and more important part of Chemical Science.
Within the traditional undergraduate curriculum, students take classes and labs in introductory, organic, analytical, inorganic, physical, and bio-chemistry. Seldom does a student take a class that is called theoretical chemistry, so it is little wonder that many beginning graduate students and even a large fraction of practicing Ph. D. level chemists do not know much about this field of chemistry. One of the primary goals of this web project is to demonstrate what theory is, to illustrate that it is indeed integrated in an essential manner throughout the conventional undergraduate chemical science curriculum, and to point out its tremendous impact on essentially all areas of molecular science.
For example, understanding photosynthesis, designing new drugs, probing ozone depletion, protein folding, non-linear optical properties, energetic materials (my colleague, Prof. Chuck Wight, carries out experiments and some theoretical modeling on explosive and propellant molecules), designing new lasers, and controlling properties of polymers all rely on theoretical chemistry. Students who yearn to discover what is going on inside materials and molecules and who want to pursue an unusually diverse scientific discipline should seriously consider the field of theoretical chemistry.
The web page of my own university's Henry Eyring Center for Theoretical Chemistry provides further information for interested students. Another good web link is maintained by the Theoretical Chemistry Subdivision of the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society. Students interested in exploring Utah's graduate program can do so via the web.
Finally, if, after looking through these web pages and exploring their links, you decide that you need a more elementary introduction to this subject, I can offer you a link to another text that I have recently developed.