Prior to joining New College, I completed my undergraduate studies in Natural Sciences at Robinson College, University of Cambridge between 2012-2016. While chemistry is usually thought to be an experimental discipline, I soon learnt that this is underpinned by the fascinating world of theoretical quantum chemistry. Having discovered this world, I continued with a PhD in theoretical chemistry at the University of Cambridge, where I began to develop my interests in predicting the properties of electrons in molecules. During this period, I undertook a two-month research internship at Q-Chem Inc., an international quantum chemistry company, where I developed my PhD research into commercially available software.
My current research focusses on developing new theoretical methods to predict the properties of electrons in molecules. In particular, I consider how existing mathematical approximations can be applied in new ways to describe chemical systems where conventional techniques fail, such as excited-state chemistry or when a chemical bond is broken. My research also explores how small changes in the mathematical description of electrons in molecules can lead to fundamental changes in the way we perceive quantum chemistry. For example, my work has shown that introducing a complex-valued electron-electron interaction causes discrete quantised electronic states to be unified as one continuous structure in the complex plane, paving the way for entirely new computational methods.
My publications can be found at www.hughburton.com/publications