Creative Research Medal 2009
Wesley Allen, associate professor of chemistry, is a theoretical chemist who has been a leader in the development of new quantum chemical methods of unprecedented accuracy. In recent years, he has made several important contributions to electronic structure theory, particularly his work on multi-reference coupled cluster methods, which establish a new gold standard for accuracy. He also carried out computations related to the structure and stability of hydroxymethylene, an elusive singlet carbine species that has long been discussed but never before identified experimentally. Its definitive identification, carried out in the laboratory of German scientist Peter Schreiner, was possible only through Allen’s detailed and accurate computations. In a surprising discovery, hydroxymethylene was then shown to be an example par excellence of quantum mechanical tunneling. These achievements, reported in the journal Nature, received world-wide recognition, both for Allen and the University of Georgia.