Professor Jonathan Goodman
Professor of Chemistry
Director of Studies in Chemistry
Departmental webpage: http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/person/jmg11
What is your subject and specific area of study?
I study chemistry, both by doing experiments and by doing computer simulations. It is possible to combine experimental and computational data to understand how molecules react and how their structures affect their properties. This information can be used to design new processes for making complex molecules, and to predict the behaviour of molecules that no one has yet made. The results can help design new pharmaceuticals, by suggesting what to make, how to make it, and to pre-empt possible problems. The same understanding of molecular phenomena also has implications for making soup.
My website has resources for doing calculations on chemical questions and some databases of chemical information.
What makes Clare College such a good place to study your subject?
Chemistry is a central science that interacts with physics, biology, geology, engineering and many other areas. The large number of scientists at Clare, amongst both the students and the fellows, makes it easy to see how chemistry fits into a wider context, and gives opportunities to learn from and contribute to other subjects.
This is a snapshot of a simulation of a peptide in salty water. The blue blobs are sodium ions and the green blobs are chloride ions. This simulation took more than a year of CPU time, and helps us understand what happens as food is preserved by drying it.
This is a representation of quite a small molecule: an isomer of the alkane C16H34. The colours represent some of the energy in the bonds. The structure does not look particularly odd, but our calculations demonstrate that it is impossible to make this molecule. It may be the simplest molecule that can never be made.
This figure shows a transition state for a chemical analogue of a biosynthetic process. We have recently worked out the details of how this process can happen, by combining information from quantum mechanics analyses and information from the contents of test tubes.
The effect of sodium chloride on poly-L-glutamate conformation, Fedorov, M V; Goodman, J M; Schumm, S, Chem. Commun.
(2009 advance article)
Solubility Challenge: Can You Predict Solubilities of Thirty-Two Molecules Using a Database of One Hundred Reliable Measurements? Llinas, A; Glen, R C; Goodman, J M, J. Chem. Inf. Model., 48, 1289-1303 (2008)
Theoretical Study of the Mechanism of Hantzsch Ester Hydrogenation of Imines Catalyzed by Chiral BINOL-Phosphoric Acids, Simón, L; Goodman, J M, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 130, 8741-8747 (2008)
What Is the Smallest Saturated Acyclic Alkane that Cannot Be Made? de Silva, K M N; Goodman, J M, J. Chem. Inf. Model., 45, 81-87 (2005)
Full list here