Advances in chemistry and biology are increasingly dependent on our ability to model systems at an atomic level …

The last few decades has seen a dramatic transformation in our ability to understand and predict the behaviour of molecular systems. More often than not computers are being used to predict the structure and properties of new molecules before they are synthesised. Quantum mechanical calculations are routinely used to determine the stability and reactivity of compounds of interest and to validate proposed reaction mechanisms. Molecular dynamics simulations based on classical mechanics are being used to understand how peptides fold, how molecules manage to cross biological membranes and a multitude of processes that cannot be probed easily experimentally. Finally, techniques based in statistical mechanics are being used to understand how the macroscopic properties of a system measure experimentally are related to the interactions between atoms. The course covers aspects of quantum mechanics, molecular dynamics, biomolecular and statistical thermodynamics and provides students with insight into the theoretical basis on which all areas of chemistry and biology ultimately rest.

What do I do in this course?

CHEM3011 shows how a basic understanding of interatomic interactions can be used to predict and interpret the behaviour of molecular systems.

You will learn elements of:

• molecular quantum mechanics
• electronic structure calculations
• molecular dynamics
• biomolecular and materials simulations
• spectroscopy
• statistical thermodynamics

and how these technics are used to solve real problems in chemistry and biology.

Career relevance of this course:

CHEM3011 covers the fundamental physical tenants on which all modern chemistry is based. Thus, whether you are interested in medicinal chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, nano-science, biochemistry or materials science CHEM3011 provides core knowledge necessary to understand and predict the behaviour of molecular systems. In particular if you plan to undertake research or otherwise pursue a career in chemistry the material covered in CHEM3011 is crucial.

Program planning advice:

Ideal companion courses for CHEM3011 include: CHEM3001 – Synthesis and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry; CHEM3004 – Determination of Molecular Structure; CHEM3007 – Materials Chemistry and Nanotechnology; CHEM3010 – Bio-Inorganic Chemistry; CHEM3011 is recommended for all students considering a major in Biophysics.

For an alternative description of this course, including prerequisites and contact hours, and for the official rules of programs, including majors requirements, see the UQ Programs & Courses website.