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Shaohong Li receives Overend Award for Graduate Research in Physical Chemistry

Recent research from the research group of Professor

Shaohong Li, a 4th-year graduate student working with Professor Donald Truhlar, has received the 2015-16 Overend Award for Graduate Research in Physical Chemistry. The award honors outstanding physical chemistry graduate student researchers.

The Overend Award is named after Professor John Overend who was a physical chemist in the department from 1960 to 1984. The award was created in 1991 through the efforts of Professor Paul Barbara. Shaohong will receive a $600 travel grant to a conference of his choice.

Shaohong is an outstanding graduate student academically and in his research. His thesis research has made significant contributions to the development of time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT) methods. TD-DFT is a complicated subject. Shaohong has shown personal creativity on how to advance the method, and the ability to apply these methods to interesting new problems in his recent work.

Shaohong’s research interest is to develop and apply quantum chemical theories and computational tools for the study of photochemistry and spectroscopy. One project he is currently working on is the study of the mechanism of a photochemical reaction, the photodissociation of thioanisole, by computer simulation. This is a prototypical system for the photochemistry of many important biomolecules. This problem is particularly challenging because of the high dimensionality and complicated structure of its coupled ground- and excited-state potential energy surfaces. This work will represent state-of-the-art dynamical simulation of photochemical process.

He has published six first-author papers while maintaining a 4.0 GPA in his coursework. He has also received accolades as a teaching assistant, garnering honorable mention for the department’s Excellent Teaching Assistant Award.