Thinking outside the beaker: research model saves time, money

Tuesday, October 4, 2005
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DENTON (UNT), Texas -- From glass beakers to computer bytes, the virtual revolution in chemical experimentation will affect everyone. And the University of North Texas is at the forefront of this emerging form of research as one of the largest computational chemistry research efforts in the nation.

The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded a one-year grant of nearly $250,000 to UNT to set up the Center for Advanced Scientific Computing and Modeling (CASCaM) at the university.

The grant allows UNT scientists to expand their work in computational chemistry -- research that uses computers to simulate chemistry experiments -- from a local research site to a regional research center.

"This grant funding will provide our scientists with better tools as well as establish a regional state-of-the-art facility for scientific computing, training and consultation," said Dr. Tom Cundari, UNT professor of chemistry.

Cundari and UNT associate professor of chemistry Angela Wilson, co-directors of CASCaM, agree that the new center will benefit the region and the nation in many ways.

Wilson said computers provide scientists with tools to conduct experiments and solve problems in a fraction of the time of traditional chemical experiments.

Cundari said CASCaM will address scientific problems of immediate interest to the nation, such as transportation, medicine, and the environment, as well as national security efforts and technological advancements.

"With more than 40 researchers working on diverse problems, CASCaM will be accessible to experts and non-experts in education, government and industry, and it will offer a means to create a scientifically-trained computational workforce," Cundari said.

He added that faculty members from other universities and community colleges as well as local high school teachers can benefit from the center.

"The use of computational chemistry could save billions of dollars a year to U.S. industry and government," Wilson said.

For more information about CASCaM, contact Cundari at (940) 565-3525 or tomc@unt.edu, or Wilson at (940) 565-4296 or akwilson@unt.edu.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108