Victor joined TMCS in 2016 as a member of the third cohort, having graduated from Sheffield with a first in Biological Chemistry. During the first (MSc) year of the programme at Oxford, Victor’s interest lay at the interface between the theoretical and applied aspects of the subject.  “When I joined, I knew I wanted to use computational chemistry in something of industrial relevance, but it was quintessential that I could understand at a more fundamental level what it was that I was doing. It was not enough to know which formula to use; I needed to know where it came from and why it was that way.”

“This is where the TMCS was key. It is a centre which brings together a wide range of outstanding theoretical chemists, and so if you have questions, there’s no better place to go to. The academics are very friendly and always willing to help, which really enriches the student experience.”

“The course is a perfect balance between pen-and-paper theory, and implementation. It is not enough to develop a seemingly sound theory on paper and not be able to test it. The course taught us numerical methods and pushed us to use programming in our daily tasks, which gave us a great degree of confidence. If we can hypothesise, we can test it: this is a wonderful feeling!”

For his doctoral research, Victor joined Graeme Day’s group at Southampton studying the formation of hydrate crystals using crystal structure prediction methods. This draws particular attention from the pharmaceutical industry, where outcomes of the research could help streamline the drug-development process by guiding experiment.

“Sometimes, as chemistry undergraduates, we fail to see the importance and indeed, the relevance of theoretical and computational chemistry in wider research. Nonetheless, as computer power increases, the scale of problems we can tackle theoretically is getting ever-bigger. It is such a pleasure to be at the forefront of all this.” 

EPSRC University of Oxford University of Bristol University of Southampton