Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Future directions for physical chemistry

At the American Chemical Society meeting last week J.T. Hynes gave a talk
Some modest proposals for 21st century physical chemists 
Here are his three main points.

(1) The most familiar problems/phenomena may in fact not be at all already understood, and can provide fertile areas for discovery;

(2) Just an experiment or a theory because it is 'old' (e.g. of a certain vintage) does not mean it is inferior/wrong despite the lack of novelty and modernity;

(3) Simple, well-constructed analytic models have a significant role to play in comprehending and advancing both theory and experiment.

Unfortunately, I was not at the meeting, but my colleague Seth Olsen was and told me I would have enjoyed the talk. These points certainly resonate with my own views.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to see #3 on the list. Time and time again I have heard the argument that the way of analytical models are giving way to computational approaches alone. I think both are necessary. In particular, an analytical model that is well thought out leads to a deeper understanding of the underpinning physical phenomenon.