SWCC in Oxford

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden is right next to the river and here you can see a glimpse of one of the greenhouses as well as the traditional punts.

The South West Computational Chemists (SWCC) meeting is usually the first sign that the new academic year is on its way as it takes place in late September every year. The meeting brings together PhD students, researchers and academics who consider themselves as based in the South West and can spare the time to attend for an afternoon of presentations, usually given by students approaching the end of their studies, although that, like the South West thing, is interpreted very loosely.

One of the main borders in the garden.

Indeed, this year SWCC was held in Oxford and so most of Bristol’s Centre for Computational Chemistry (CCC) boarded trains last Friday (21st Sept.) morning to attend the meeting and support our three speakers in the lineup (Ewa, David C. and Chris). The train journey from Nailsea required 2 changes, so I decided to go quite early in case things went wrong, and to visit the University of Oxford Botanic Garden if they didn’t. I’ve visited the garden before, on an extremely cold day in January a few years ago, when I had a bit of time to kill after the Inorganic Reaction Mechanisms Group meeting, and while there was little going on in the borders outdoors, the greenhouses provided a welcome opportunity to warm up in the bitter cold. I was rather put to shame by Jeff and David T. who boarded the same train in Didcot and were planning to get some work done before the meeting, but it was useful to see the Chemistry in the Garden trail. And the nice thing about the site is that you get glimpses of Oxford sandstone in pictures of the borders which add background and interest to the plants, something other gardens would love to have.

Inside one of the greenhouses, which includes a pond for waterlilies.

As a former organiser of SWCC myself, let me congratulate and thank the local organising team of Dr Rob Paton and Prof. John McGrady for putting together a very enjoyable and well-attended meeting, which I know to be hard work. The meeting even drew in an attendee from the University of Warwick (ok, so until 3 weeks ago Scott worked at Bristol, but still…). As always, the talks were great, executed professionally and displaying the breadth of research in computational chemistry, and it was good to catch up with our colleagues in the poster sessions and breaks.


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