The Research Life of a Minority Chemist: How a Difference in Perspective Aids Chemical Intuition
Chemistry is frequently referred to as “The Central Science” in part because of how it impacts the principle and practice of many fields of science and engineering, but also because of the wide range of influences it draws upon. This is particularly evident in the emergence of Computational Chemistry as an important tool for the modern chemist, born of the application of principles developed through Theoretical Chemistry.
My theoretical chemistry training places me as an intellectual minority in the community because at its core, chemistry is an experimental science. This talk covers the ways in which this unique perspective has paid dividends in the quest to understand the organization of unusual – even “difficult” – chemical systems. Specific examples include the intersection of mathematics and chemistry in studies of isomer structure and stability, the role of intergenerational differences in communicating in (and out of) the undergraduate science classroom, and doing more than just the science.