CLEMSON – Art Voter, a laboratory fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, will be the featured speaker at the 2017 Sobczyk Public Lecture.

Voter will speak on accelerated molecular dynamics – a computer simulation approach that unveils the behavior of materials at the atomic level – at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Bellsouth Auditorium at the Madren Conference Center.

Art Voter holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.
Image Credit: Clemson University

Within molecular dynamics, Isaac Newton’s equations for motion are solved to predict the trajectories of atoms and molecules as they interact with an arrangement of particles. Because all things are composed of atoms, a calculated computer simulation can effectively model the behavior of materials under various conditions.

In the age of modern technology, supercomputers process calculations in parallel, enabling them to solve a variety of problems simultaneously. This allows large problems to be broken into a series of smaller calculations that occur at the same time, which increases the efficiency of supercomputing. However, individual computer processors are not keeping up the pace. The time it takes to solve a simulation, or calculation, remains unchanged, which restricts the kind of simulations that can be studied by molecular dynamics.

Voter will speak specifically about this time-scale problem by describing methods he and his colleagues at Los Alamos National Lab have devised over the past 20 years to solve the issue.

The Nov. 1 lecture is open to the public. Refreshments will be served afterward, during which Voter will be available to speak with audience members.

Voter will be the 22nd speaker to be featured in the Sobczyk Lecture Series since its inception in 1982. Named after the late Andrew Sobczyk, a well-known professor and researcher in the fields of mathematics and mathematical physics, the lecture series is funded by a public endowment established by Sobczyk’s family and friends. Those interested in donating to the Sobczyk Fund should contact the department of mathematical sciences.

A more technical version of Voter’s lecture will take place at the Nov. 2 joint colloquium between the departments of physics and astronomy and mathematics. This colloquium, which will be held at 4 p.m. in Kinard Auditorium, is open only to Clemson students, faculty and staff.

For questions on both the Sobczyk Lecture and joint colloquium, contact professor of physics Murray Daw at