International conference - Models of matter

Aug 24, 2017

Complexity of animate and inanimate matter in the computer: An international congress for theoretical chemistry will be held in Munich this week.

Every three years, experts in the fields of theoretical and computational chemistry from all over the world convene for a large conference. This year, this event will be held for the first time in Germany – in Munich. The organizers of the WATOC 2017 congress are expecting around 1,500 attendees and some 350 lectures are scheduled. The conference will take place in the Gasteig cultural center in Munich from August 27 to September 1. WATOC stands for World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists. Professor Christian Ochsenfeld, Chair of Theoretical Chemistry at LMU, is the Scientific Chair of the conference.

The many presentations, discussions, and poster sessions will cover the full spectrum of current research topics – from method developments all the way to the study of molecular processes and innovative applications in materials chemistry and biochemistry. The diverse program reflects the full breadth of modern theoretical and computer-aided approaches which make indispensable contributions to the advancement of chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, and materials sciences.

The experts in theoretical chemistry participating at the conference are not only providing the theoretical foundations for interpreting the results of their colleagues’ experimental work, says Ochsenfeld; the computed chemical and physical properties also give insights into systems that cannot (yet) be studied experimentally in the lab.

They precisely calculate and simulate the properties of molecules and solid-state materials based on the tiniest building blocks (atomic nuclei and electrons), whose behavior can no longer be described using classical mechanics and thus require a quantum mechanical description. These methods make it possible to describe matter with the utmost precision and, in turn, to predict molecular properties as a direct bridge to the experiment. While quantum mechanics is essential for atomistic descriptions, classical mechanics can still be helpful in describing matter. More specifically, an intricate coupling of quantum mechanics with classical mechanics also allows to gain insights into highly complex processes, such as enzymatic reactions or important processes in pharmaceutical sciences. The presentations given at the WATOC conference will thus provide a current overview of the latest methods in theoretical chemistry and new ways to identify complex processes in animate and inanimate nature.