How a Theorist Thinks

Matthew Church, a PhD student in chemistry and chemical biology, confesses in this Cornell Research story that he came to Cornell because he fell in love with the Finger Lakes region. Church also came to Cornell hoping to work in the Ananth Group, a theoretical chemistry lab led by Nandini Ananth, assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology. The Ananth Group studies physical processes and chemical reactions where nuclei can undergo a change in their electronic configuration. Church's research involves analyzing complex chemical processes on a molecular level. He seeks to better understand the nature of chemical systems' quantum effects, which are effects that traditional physcis models such as Newton's Laws are unable to explain. 

Church has been working on optimizing a newer method that can accurately compute the characteristics of such quantum effects. 

"We're particularly interested in the effcts that overlapping states have on atoms and molecules," Church said. "An accurate theoretical treatment of such problems is currently needed. Existing methods generally fail because they do not consider factos such as the high-dimensionality of quantum mechanics and the need of a quantum mechanical phase to include interference effects."

To continue reading, visit the Cornell Research website.

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		Matthew Church