I Am a Pianist, cellist, composer, and physical Chemist Recently graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
"My research interests lie in Chemistry, Music, and the intersection between them."
Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Polyisobutylene
I'm interested in using molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the local dynamic motions of polyisobutylene (PIB) to understand how they influence its macroscopic properties. The understanding formed from this research has the potential to inform various physical structure-function phenomena seen in polymer chemistry. Notably, the synthesis of new copolymers that are more environmentally friendly than current PIB-based tires.
Polyisobutylene (PIB) is a rubber-like polymer (elastomer) with an unusual combination of properties. Having a low glass-transition temperature and exhibiting low permittivity for gases, PIB is the choice of material used in manufacturing tires. However, it is well known that our rubber tires are not environmentally friendly; they do not degrade and are toxic in a number of ways. Many efforts to reuse tires have been made over the years (such as reuse for playground equipment) so that they are not left in landfills or elsewhere - such efforts have been largely fruitless. My research aims to use molecular dynamics simulations to better understand the small-scale local dynamic motions of PIB that influence its macroscopic properties. With this understanding, I hope chemists and engineers will be able to develop new copolymers that can be used to manufacture more environmentally friendly tires with comparable or improved functionality than our current PIB-based tires.
Effects of Continual Sonification on Musical Instruments
I'm interested in understanding how the conformations of molecules that make up instruments change over time and thus affect the sound produced. The understanding that develops from this research may inform little-known effects of specific playing techniques, the influence of materials on instrument quality, and the prediction of instrument properties many years after purchase...to name a few. Currently, I am studying the violin, violoncello, and piano.
Musical instruments are known to progressively "sound" better (or sometimes worse) when actively played over large periods of time. This phenomena is very well known amongst musicians but also familiar to non-musicians that have heard of the infamous Stradivarius instruments, which are currently valued at more than $45 million USD. Some psychological and musical journals have published articles that argue this phenomena is no more than a "placebo" effect; these studies have only been concerned with the (musically) trained versus untrained ear. No scientific studies to date have been published that explore this phenomena in any significant capacity. I hypothesize that this is due to the many variables involved.
Presentations + Publications
December 2018 - “A Talent For Connecting” - Denison University (Web Link)
March 2018 - 255th Annual American Chemical Society National Conference, PHYS Poster Session
Ponce, H.; Fuson, M. Abstracts of Papers, 255th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, New Orleans, LA, March 18-22, 2018; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2018; PHYS 575.
September 2017 - Science Symposium, Denison University, Granville, OH
June 2017 - Summer Chemistry Talks, Denison University, Granville, OH
April 2017 - 253rd Annual American Chemical Society National Conference, CHED-PHYS Poster Session
Ponce, H.; Fuson, M. Abstracts of Papers, 253rd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, San Francisco, CA, April 2-6, 2017; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2017; CHED 1672.
September 2016 - Science Symposium, Denison University, Granville, OH
July 2016 - Summer Chemistry Talks, Denison University, Granville, OH