Special Collection: Computational Chemistry

Miquel Solà*, Frank De Proft, F. Matthias Bickelhaupt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


Chemists know well the value of an experimental or a theoretical result, but what is the value of a computational result? Simulation is neither theory nor experience, nor a mere calculation tool, but a genuine way of approaching reality that is transforming the scientific method. In some cases, it offers explanations to observations or experiments that seem incomprehensible because they are too complex. In this case, the computation serves as a relief. An experiment that converges with a certain computation has more scientific value than an experiment that does not converge with anything at all. In other cases, contribution of computational chemistry is essential because there is no experimental manner to determine what happens during a chemical process; for instance, in the path from reactants to products in (fast) reactions. Now, computational chemistry provides additional information that is not possible to obtain from experiments, so it is a valuable complement to them. Indeed, fruitful synergy between computation and experiment has led to the approach of theory-driven experimentation. Finally, computational chemistry helps to legitimize models or theories that have little opportunity to be contrasted with reality. In this situation, computational chemistry is not experience, but it does substitute it in relation to theory. In the present special collection, we have examples of the different ways computational chemistry helps chemists to interpret the electronic and molecular structure of molecules and their reactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-816
Number of pages3
Issue number7
Early online date2 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


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