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INSIGHTS Virtual Lectures: The robotic alchemist - digital assembly of drugs and chemical brains by Professor Lee Cronin

Professor Lee Cronin, University of Glasgow

Date/Time: Tuesday 27 October 2020, 17:30 - 18:15

Hosted by Professor Sally Shortall, with introduction from Dr Greg Mutch

We are entering the era of Digital Chemistry, where computer control can be used to monitor reactions, calculate reactivity and predict routes to targets, but what next? This lecture will explain how a programmable chemical computer or ‘chemputer’ can make the process of chemical synthesis safer, cheaper, and more reliable. Professor Cronin will explore how chemical computing can help search chemical space, explore large problems, and define a new roadmap that will aim to realise the dream of computing, not just with molecules, but with reactions.


Lee Cronin was fascinated with science and technology from an early age getting his first computer and chemistry set when he was 8 years old. This is when he first started thinking about programming chemistry and looking for inorganic aliens. He went to the University of York where he completed both a degree and PhD in Chemistry and then on to do post docs in Edinburgh and Germany before becoming a lecturer at the Universities of Birmingham, and then Glasgow where he has been since 2002 working up the ranks to become the Regius Professor of Chemistry in 2013 aged 39. He has given over 300 international talks and has authored over 350 peer reviewed papers with recent work published in Nature, Science, and PNAS. He and his team are trying to make artificial life forms, find alien life, explore the digitization of chemistry, understand how information can be encoded into chemicals and construct chemical computers.

Live Q&A:

The lecture will be followed by a live Q&A with the speaker. You can submit a question in advance by sending an email to or during the event using YouTube Live Chat or via Twitter @InsightsNCL.

This event will be hosted on YouTube, registration is not required.