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Mathematical Sciences

Math Colloquium

Date: 3:30pm - 4:30pm PST February 19, 2014 Location: JR Howard Hall 132

JR Howard Hall 132

How Chemists Use Group Theory

Speaker:  Anne Bentley, Associate Professor of Chemistry at LC


Molecules are classified into point groups based on the set of symmetry operations that they share. All symmetry operations can be described using matrix multiplication. Reducible representations are used to describe the translational, rotational, and vibrational movements possible for a given molecule. The symmetry of the resulting irreducible representations allows chemists to predict whether a molecule’s vibrations will lead to the absorption of infrared light or Raman scattering. These complementary techniques can be used to determine the structure of unknown molecules. No previous chemistry background is required.