Student and faculty participants of the 2015 summer school.
The first Joint Summer School in Computational Chemistry was held at Heidelberg University in Germany July 6-11. Organized by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame and the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing at Heidelberg University, the six day program provided the opportunity for students who primarily work on experimental research to combine their studies with theory-based approaches, in particular with electronic-structure-based computational chemistry.
Twenty seven 27 Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows were in attendance and represented the two host universities, Kyoto University in Japan, and Shenzhen University in China. Courses were taught by faculty from both universities, including Olaf Wiest and John Parkhill of Notre Dame. Half of the coursework was devoted to the theory behind computational chemistry and the other half focused on application of those theories through exercises, tutorials, and mini-research projects.
“Our goal is to provide the basis to incorporate these methods in their research,” said Wiest, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “The projects and discussions between the participating faculty and students will lay the foundation for common projects and strengthen the relationship between the participating universities.”
Laura Comprido, a second year Ph.D. student studying organometallic chemistry at Heidelberg University said, "The student projects were really interesting and it was nice to hear presentations on such a diverse range of topics in computational chemistry. The workshop had such a great atmosphere and that made the experience even more worth it."
The summer program is part of a larger collaboration between Heidelberg and Notre Dame established in April 2014 with a memorandum of understanding that served as an exploration of joint research, academic exchanges, and other cooperation between the two institutions. Funding for this year's program was provided by the Global Collaborative Initiative International Research Funding program administered through Notre Dame International.
The next summer school will focus on force field methods in computational chemistry and will be held at Notre Dame in 2016.