My favourite thing about computational chemistry research was always the visualisations. Being able to see atoms, the very stuff of our being, always sparked my imagination most. Perhaps it was a sign of change to come when the first thing my PhD viva examiners commented on was how much they liked the graphics in my thesis.
Now David Glowacki, one of the programmers behind computational modelling giant the CHARMM code, has taken things a step further. He’s rigged it up so that the whole room is one big molecular model, and puts people in the middle.
At the start of the month, Glowacki and his team put on a show where a violinist was immersed in this model, and the influence of her playing was visualised in a huge projection around her.
While computational chemistry is often a conversational culdesac, it’s always been my opinion that it’s rather under-sold. Glowacki’s project is quite possibly the most engaging and accessible thing I’ve seen to come out of the discipline for years. They’ll be touring for the next couple of years with the show and I’d heartily recommend seeing it.