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Dr Seth Olsen

ARC Australian Research Fellow

I am an Australian, born and educated in the United States of America. My scientific trajectory violates the boundaries that have traditionally separated the "natural" sciences of physics, chemistry and biology. My research at SMP focuses on understanding how biology uses structured molecular environments to select specific channels for non-equilibrium free energy transduction and disposal. This touches or involves problems in fields ranging from quantum statistics and many-body physics to the biology of whole populations.

Located in Building 6 - Room 431
Phone: 52816
BSc. (Hon) in Physics, College of William & Mary (Williamsburg, VA, USA, 1997); PhD in Biophysics & Computational Biology, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA, 2004)
Research Interests Biophysics, Molecular & Chemical Physics, Hard & Soft Condensed Matter Physics, Molecular Dynamics, Photochemistry, Nonadiabatic & Nonequilibrium Processes, Quantum Thermodynamics, Algebraic Quantum and Statistical Mechanics

Available Projects

Title Body Level
Quantum-Tomographic Approaches to the Interpretation of Semi-Empirical Quantum Chemistry Models


Modelling the behavior of correlated electrons in finite systems is at the heart of theoretical chemistry.  Many sophisticated techniques have been...

PhD Project
An Information-Theoretic Approach to Nonadiabatic Quantum Molecular Dynamics


This project involves using minimal physical Hamiltonian models to study the flow of energy and information associated with the dynamical breakdown of the Born...

PhD Project
Theoretical Models of Photoswitching in Spiropyran-Merocyanine Molecular Switches

This goal of this project will be to understand factors mediating the efficiency and speed of photoconversion in spiropyran-merocyanine photoswitches.  These molecules are interesting because the switching process is reversible, and because the reactant and product forms have very...

Honours Project
Theoretical Models of Photoswitching Processes in Dithienylethenes: Origin and Optimization of Photoswitchable Electrical Conductivity

The goal of this project is to characterize the photoconversion of dithienylethenes, a class of photoswitchable molecules that are potential targets for light-controlled organic electronic devices (see attached picture).  These molecules are interesting because the photoswitching process is...

Honours Project