Nagan Part of Personnel to Receive $100,000 National Science Foundation Grant

Maria Nagan, assistant professor of chemistry, was one of several senior personnel on a $100,000 grant funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

George Shields, Winslow professor of chemistry, was the Principal Investigator on the grant, titled, “Acquisition of a Linux Cluster for the Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational chemistRY (MERCURY).” The grant has been funded by the NSF’s Division of Chemistry through the Major Research Instrumentation Program (MRI).

Karl Kirschner and Steve Young were key personnel on the grant, helping to identify the appropriate hardware and software, as well as helping to write the proposal. In addition, MERCURY members Carol Parish of the University of Richmond, Marc Zimmer of Connecticut College, Maria Gomez of Mt. Holyoke College, Glenisson de Oliveira of Rhode Island College, Tricia Shepherd of Westminster College (Utah), and Wingfield Glassey of Wooster College were senior personnel on the grant proposal. The research efforts of the entire consortium were essential for the success of the NSF-MRI grant. The Linux Cluster will be built, maintained, and operated at Hamilton College. All the MERCURY members will use the Cluster for computational chemistry research.

As outlined in the proposal, the MERCURY members all work with undergraduates using computers to explore atmospheric chemistry (Kirschner and Shields), materials science and physical chemistry (Glassey, Gomez and Shepherd), and biochemistry (de Oliveira, Kirschner, Nagan, Parish, Shields and Zimmer). The MERCURY faculty plan to increase the number of undergraduates participating and benefiting from this stimulating and highly productive environment.

One of the highlights and great benefits of the MERCURY consortium is the annual meeting, which occurs at the end of July and is hosted by Hamilton College. This summer marked the fourth meeting, with six distinguished faculty from research universities, national laboratories and industry joining about 50 undergraduates and 20 professors from undergraduate institutions. Highlights of the meeting include the undergraduate poster session, and mingling with other students and faculty from other colleges and universities. More information about MERCURY can be found at
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