Figuring @ the Wickham Theatre!

The last couple weeks have been lots of fun! With support from the Leverhulme Trust, the Royal Society, Arts Council England, and the EPSRC CHAMPS programme, I’ve been working on a project called “Figuring” at the Wickham theatre in the University of Bristol’s Department of Drama, with a talented team drawn across artistic, scientific, and technological practices. On 21 Sept, we showed Figuring to an audience of artists, producers, and technologists. This follows on from a previous showings of Figuring, for example at the Knowle West Media Centre, as part of their Commons Sense programme.
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VR Enabled real-time simulation: NYT, Nature, BBC

Really excited to report that the open access Science Advances paper published by O’Connor et al. during the summer, entitled “Sampling molecular conformations and dynamics in a multiuser virtual reality framework” has since generated significant media exposure, having been picked up by a number of scientific media outlets. Nature, the New York Times, and the BBC’s “Science in Action” show (the VR piece begins 7 mins in) all contacted me in order to discuss the implications this work could have for nanotech research. It’s been exciting to witness the interest which the paper has generated. It certainly seems to be captivating people’s imaginations, and is attracting lots of attention by workers across academia & industry.

Science Advances virtual reality paper


Working with academic colleagues from high-performance computing (HPC) and human-computer interaction (HCI), we recently published an open access paper entitled “Sampling molecular conformations and dynamics in a multiuser virtual reality framework” in the AAAS journal Science Advances. The paper described a scientifically rigorous, VR-enabled, multi-person, real-time interactive Molecular Dynamics (iMD) framework, which lets researchers use virtual reality to literally reach out & touch real-time molecular physics using cloud-mounted supercomputing.
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modern art oxford: future knowledge

On 17th June, Lisa May Thomas and I led a workshop at Modern Art Oxford entitled “Sculpting the Invisible World”. The work was part of the gallery’s ‘Future Knowledge’ program of events, curated by Emma Ridgway, and photographed by Stu Allsop. Using a pioneering multi-person virtual reality software framework, visitors were invited to interact within a virtual landscape as embodied energy fields. Methods from rigorous computational molecular physics and real-time digital rendering allowed digitally embodied participants to sculpt the dynamics of a simulated molecular nano-world, for example deforming buckminsterfullerene molecules, passing them back and forth, threading methane molecules through a carbon nanotube, and tying knots in proteins.
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Photosynthetic excitation energy transport


Another paper to report on (open-access link available here). This work examines excitation energy transport in LH2, a supramolecular photosynthetic complex which is found in the cell membranes of purple bacteria. Lots of people have gotten interested in LH2 ever since Graham Fleming’s group published a paper in 2007 reporting on fancy 2d spectroscopy which observed coherent quantum “beating” between initially prepared electronic states. Beating patterns of this sort are certainly of fundamental interest, and the experiments used to observe it were very nice; however, the consensus which seems to be emerging is that the “beating” is in fact not so important for explaining the efficiency at which photosynthetic systems transport electronic energy across their membranes.

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