In 1888, J. L. Gay-Lussac mentioned that “we are perhaps not far remote from the time when we shall be able to submit the bulk of chemical phenomena to calculation”.
John A Pople, the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry 1998, mentioned that “…we celebrate the fact that mathematics has invaded chemistry, that by means of theoretical calculations we can predict a large variety of chemical phenomena…”.
Today, computational chemistry has become extremely useful and it is widely used in teaching and industrial research. Computational chemistry is giving rise to a wide range of possibilities due to explosive increase in computer power and software capabilities.
Before the year 2000, computational chemistry was not known at the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius. However, to date, computational chemistry is performing satisfactorily both at teaching and research levels.
I had a slow but sure start with computational chemistry in 2001 by offering an elective module entitled “Computational Chemistry and Its Applications” with only 8 students opting for the module. Interestingly two of them opted to carry out their final year undergraduate project work in computational chemistry. In 2003, computational chemistry was offered for the first time at postgraduate level and it was part of the module “Computational Modelling and Bioinformatics”. In the same year, one student did her final year master project using theoretical methods. Over the years, more students got interested in computational chemistry and this got reflected in terms of more of them opting for the elective module and final year projects.
In parallel to the teaching of computational chemistry, I develop a team researchers using theoretical methods and resources available. I must say that I have been successful in this attempt and the success can be correlated with publications in journals and proceedings having rigorous reviewing policies. With respect to research in Computational chemistry, one student joined for his MPhil/PhD degree in 2003 and completed the same in 2006 with Prof Henry Fritz Schaefer III as a co-supervisor. Since then, more students have been joining my group for their projects and MPhil/PhD research. I have also several collaborators and visitors.
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