Successful Ph.D. Defense!

This past Friday was a huge milestone for me – I successfully defended my Ph.D. work! It’s been a long five year journey but I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish with the help of many friends and collaborators, both in the Martinez Group and externally!

My goal has always been to use technology to create better tools for research and increase the accessibility of science to the general public. My efforts in my Ph.D. work center around the development of the TeraChem Cloud framework, which enables writing high-level Python code on a laptop while getting all the speed of GPU-accelerated electronic structure calculations. I applied this framework to several group workloads (automated reaction network discovery, energy transfer in light-harvesting complexes, and dataset generation).

While TeraChem Cloud makes life easier for researchers, I also wanted to improve ab initio interactive molecular dynamics simulations, which allow users to push and pull on molecules in a digital playground and watch the atoms respond with full quantum mechanics in real time. With the help of a few others, I used virtual reality to create an immersive interface for these simulations and developed a curriculum for both undergraduate and high school students.

One upside of conducting the defense over Zoom is that the whole thing was recorded! If you are interested, you can watch the public portion below.

Upside of Zoom: automatic recording of my defense!

I’m very thankful for all the support that has gotten me this far. I’ve been slacking on the blog posts, but hopefully I will catch up and keep you appraised as I move on to the next phase of my career.

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