Hi everyone! I'm new here and not so sure someone will ever read what I'm typing right now.

So let's procede with this ...
I'm a MSc student in Chemistry.
At the moment I'm working on my thesis project within the Theoretical Chemistry group of Turin, Italy.

I joined the SDF community one year ago and I update with some (in)consistency my lovely gopherhole.

A few months ago I started taking some pictures after my gf gave me a Liam Wong book. The results are not so bad.

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What is the topic of your research, if you are willing to say? Theoretical chemistry is a field (not to say minefield!) of intriguing, difficult problems.

@publius our group studies condensed phase matter from an ab initio point of view; we are on the borderline between chemistry and physics.
More specifically I'm working on the application of group theory in the evaluation of the anharmonic terms of the potential energy surfaces of molecules and


My father, who started out in chemistry at Berkeley (where he had the privilege of meeting Glenn Seaborg) before switching to physics, likes to say that chemistry is not an easy subject to do theoretical work in. What would ever lead you to expect that a light, silvery, reactive metal and a heavy, toxic greenish-yellow gas would combine to form table salt?

I suppose with modern advances in quantum physics, there must be more scope for that than there was in the 1970s.

@publius Your father was definitely right. Chemistry is a huge field, largely dominated by experimentalists. But in recent times, with the increase in computing power, theoriticians can finally play a decisive role. In the past, simulations of systems of more than a dozen atom was simply impossibile.


Speaking of Turin, and chemistry, are you familiar with Primo Levi's essay "Iron"? It forms one of the chapters of his book "Il Sistemo Periodico" but has been reprinted on its own in many anthologies, which is how I encountered it.

Just the thought of eating lunch in the hydrogen sulphide room!

@publius Primo Levi's legacy is something really valuable for all the chem students here in Turin. Our "aula magna" is dedicated to him.
A few months ago a PhD student who works in the same office as me found an abandoned copy of his dissertation. It was full of corrections and annotations - not the final version. It's nice to note that great people have also been student.



I remember reading about someone at U Chicago in the '90s who found a rough draft of Harold Urey's work on heavy water in a desk drawer. Has to be an incredible feeling.

@publius I just read on your profile that you were an astronaut. Being able to talk to you is a great honor for me. If you would like to share your experience here on Mastodon, it would be a pleasure to read it.

Perhaps this way I could overcome the fear of flying...


I should perhaps specify that referring to myself as a "freelance astronaut" indicates my goal of leaving the Earth, which I have not yet actually achieved ― but the barriers have fallen substantially!

I have served on the Boards of Directors of the National Space Society (which is international in scope…) and the Moon Society, so there's that. And if you want to send me a private message with your mailing address, I'd be happy to have my friends in Munich send you a DVD of "Lunarcy!"…


…a documentary I appeared in, in which I and my aspirations play a prominent part, although I would say it's interesting enough for the other people (including astronaut-painter Alan Bean, whom I had the privilege of meeting during the production).

As far as fear of flying is concerned, I will remark that flight, per se, is a noble and wonderful thing. Scheduled Commercial Air Travel is an inconvenience at its absolute best, and a ghastly experience much of the time.

@Mit I'm reading it!

Putting a # tag in front of introduction helped make you "findable."

We look forward to seeing some of your photography (remember to tag it!)

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