The Atomsmith® Story...
We developed The Atomsmith Classroom as a user-friendly tool, employing today’s exciting technologies to leverage students’ interest in computers and visual learning. This approach is intended to make science less abstract, and more interactive, fun and comfortable. Like anything, the more comfortable students are with a topic, the more they tend to enjoy it. Our hope is to draw more students into science and science-related careers.
The Atomsmith Classroom Principals
Dave Doherty graduated from Brown University with an Sc.B. in Applied Mathematics and Biology. While he was there, he discovered that combining math and science and computer programming was his passion. At American Cyanamid (a big chemical company at the time), Dave was introduced to the idea that you could "design" molecules on a computer. Thinking this was really cool, he was inspired to go on and learn some more chemistry.
His next stop was graduate school at the University of Illinois, where he used Cray supercomputers to study the shapes and motions of polymer molecules and co-authored, among other things, “Molecular modeling of polymers: Molecular dynamics simulation of the rotator phase of C21H44” in Physical Review Letters (don’t worry, he promises that the soliton waves that he found in those simulatons will never appear in The Atomsmith Classroom). Upon receiving his Masters Degree in physical chemistry, Dave went on to work for the Minnesota Supercomputer Center and then Cray Research, designing new molecules for chemical, pharmaceutical and oil companies.
Teaching is another of Dave's passions, but he never had the nerve to become a teacher. However, one day he realized that the 3D moving images of molecules that he saw on his screen (and in his head) could help students to "see" molecules – and to better understand how they work. Realizing that today's laptops are just as fast as what Cray used to sell as a supercomputer for $12 million, he decided to redirect his talents to creating an educational tool that could transport students to the sub-microscopic world of molecules – The Atomsmith Classroom resulted.
Lindi Doherty is a graduate of Ripon College where she received her B.A. in Economics and Business Management. After graduation, Lindi worked as a research analyst in antitrust economics and followed that experience with an M.B.A. from The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Lindi then worked for several years in corporate acquisitions' departments, as an investment banker and as a consultant to privately-held businesses.
After all that business stuff, Lindi transformed her OCD tendencies to becoming a chemistry fan. She is quite proud that she actually semi-understands things like the Schrödinger equation, and she wishes that there had been something like Atomsmith available when she was taking chemistry. Lindi has come to realize that chemistry is the foundation of everything in the world. It’s wonderful, and she is convinced that if more students (including adults - remember what John Wooden said, “When you’re through learning, you’re through.”) understand its importance and begin to think that it's wonderful too, the world will be a better place!
bi·twixt (bĭ-twĭkst) is our version of the Middle English word betwixt, meaning between. Just change bet to bit (as in computer bits) and you get: