Kenneth Merz has won an award from the American Cehmical Society for using Quantum Mechanical methods with Molecular Mechanical(MM) methods to to study chemical, biological, and pharmaceutical problems.

Above: Kenneth Merz has won an award from the American Chemical Society for using Quantum Mechanical methods with Molecular Mechanical(MM) methods to to study chemical, biological, and pharmaceutical problems.

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UF Professor wins Award for Quantum Mechanic Computing Research

The American Chemical Society named UF Professor Kenneth M. Merz recipient of their prestigious Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research.

Merz, a faculty member from the Department of Chemistry and member of the Quantum Theory Project, was honored in recognition of his use of quantum mechanics to study chemical, biological, and pharmaceutical problems. Merz is one of 24 people who have won the award, including the Nobel Prize winner John Pople.

Quantum mechanical models provide a more realistic representation for the study of chemical, biological, and pharmaceutical processes. Current models used in chemical biology provide an incomplete picture, in that only nuclei are explicitly represented. Quantum-mechanic-based techniques allow for individual electrons to be mapped in relation to the nuclei, creating a more accurate picture of a molecule and its interactions with the environment.

“This is a cutting-edge, next-generation tool,” explained Merz. “It will lead to a greater understanding of all of these processes.”

The award has special meaning for Merz. His Ph.D. advisor, Michael Dewar, won the award in 1994. A year later, his post-doctorate advisor Peter Kollman received the award. Merz will receive his award at the annual society meeting in March of 2010.

The Quantum Theory Project, a joint institute of the Departments of Chemistry and Physics, is one of the world's largest research centers for theory, modeling, and computation of complex novel molecular and materials systems.

Contact

Writer

Jeff Stevens, CLAS COmmunications and Outreach, 846-2032, jstevens@ufl.edu

Photo

Courtesy Merz Lab

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