Main 2016



July 21-23, 2016

Lewisburg, PA


The 15th annual MERCURY Conference for undergraduate computational chemistry was held on July 21-23, 2016 at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA.

Mainstays of the conference included six speakers who present excellent talks that provide background and specific findings in their respective fields, plus an undergraduate poster session and evening social networking events. This conference is an excellent forum for undergraduates to present their work and to learn from experts in the field, allowing them to put their own research into perspective. It is equally valuable as a networking event for faculty working with undergraduates. Undergraduates from all types of institutions were invited to come present their work. Students who have graduated from college and have not begun their graduate work are also invited to present. Graduate students and postdoctoral associates may attend and will have the opportunity to learn how professors work effectively with undergraduate research students.


This year’s speakers were:

Chris Cramer

University of Minnesota

Title: Spiral Feedback for Catalyst Design: Experiment and Theory


Jeff Evanseck

Duquesne University

Title: Biomolecular Dynamics, Function, Visualization, and the Energy Landscape


Kate Holloway

Merck Research Laboratories

Title: Arresting AIDS and Curing Hepatitis C: A Career in Computer-Aided Drug Design (CADD)


Richard Pastor

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Title: How do Antimicrobial Peptides Disrupt Membranes?


Steven Wheeler

Texas A&M University

Title: Unconstrained by Reality: Adventures in Computational Physical Organic Chemistry


Chris Wilmer

University of Pittsburgh

Title: Discovering Materials to Stop Climate Change using Molecular Simulations

NSF and Research Corporation sponsored Workshop

On Thursday, July 21, from 1:30 – 5:00 pm, just before the conference officially starts, there was a mini-workshop on visualizing quantum dynamics. The workshop was led by Prof. Joe Subotnik (University of Pennyslvania). In just a few hours, students learned how to look at wavepackets in real time using MATLAB and just 20 lines of code. This workshop should be very useful for anyone who has taken physical chemistry as an undergraduate but always wondered how to extract simple intuition about quantum chemistry and not get lost in the mathematics. Computers to the rescue! The workshop was free and lunch was provided as well.

Next year’s dates are temporarily set for July 20 – 22, 2017 at Furman University. We hope to see you then