James Green studied a PhD in Quantum Chemistry at the University of Leeds

James Green

I’ve always enjoyed mathematics, but I wanted to do something more applied, which is why I chose to do a chemistry degree.

After hearing a number of lectures on quantum chemistry, I decided to do my masters project in that area. Solving problems using maths, logic and computer programming which had real physical implications was very interesting and so I carried on in that vein to my PhD.

I studied for my undergraduate degree at Durham, before coming to Leeds to do a PhD in quantum chemistry.

I’d visited Leeds a few times and had a fantastic time whenever I came.

When I was searching for potential supervisors to do a PhD with, Leeds was high on my list. As luck would have it, there’s a research group here that closely matches my interests, so it was a no-brainer to come here.

Quantum chemistry is all about understanding atomic and molecular processes at the smallest level, and I like how everything makes sense when you understand the mathematics behind this.

I’ve always enjoyed finding the logic in things, and in quantum chemistry it is twofold: not only do you need to understand the mathematics behind the molecular process you wish to model, but you also need to convert that into an algorithm in order to write a computer program to run calculations for you.

There is a lot of elegance in writing equations and code in an ordered and logical manner.

My plans for the future are to probably go onto a postdoctoral position in a similar research area before potentially carrying on into academia.

But I still have other options open, such as going into software development. One of the main things doing a PhD has taught me is that you can be good at anything you want as long as you put your mind to it.