Physical Sciences Division
The digital toolmakers
L. Ridgway Scott first came to the University as an L. E. Dickson instructor in the department of mathematics from 1973 to 1975. He returned to the University in 1998 as a faculty member in computer science and mathematics. Since returning, he helped to found the Computation Institute, a joint research effort between the University and Argonne National Laboratory, and the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, which is devoted to research that transcends the boundaries between biology, chemistry, and physics. Scott's research revolves around the idea that better computational tools can facilitate dramatic breakthroughs in other scientific fields.
Christopher Fraser received his PhD in biochemistry from Purdue before coming to Chicago for the Computer Science Professional Program. Fraser and Scott are continuing their research on dehydrons (hydrogen bonds that affect how proteins interact with other molecules) as well as developing computer software to allow life scientists to incorporate dehydron analysis into their own research.
The Graduate Fund for the Physical Sciences helps make it possible for Chicago to offer graduate students extraordinary, innovative research opportunities.
For an example of how Professor Scott's research finds real-world applications, read about how he helped to develop an improved drug. Fraser, Scott, and Ariel Fernández jointly published a chapter in the recent book Advances in Computational Biology. You might also be interested in this classic profile of Scott from the University of Chicago Magazine.