The Cronin Group

Research in the Digital Chemistry group is motivated by the fascination for complex chemical systems, and the desire to construct complex functional molecular architectures that are not based on biologically derived building blocks.


Latest News

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May 2022: Chemical Computers Featured in New Scientist

Cronin Group work on the development of chemical computers has been featured in New Scientist. The article, which can be found on the New Scientist website, describes how chemistry can be used to do computation, showcasing some of the group’s recent work in solving simple problems using chemical reactions to encode information. This work could lead to new insights into how the brain works, as well as new techniques for solving computationally difficult problems.

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March 2022: Lee Cronin Appears on Lex Fridman Podcast

Lee Cronin has appeared on the Lex Fridman podcast, in an episode entitled “Lee Cronin: Origin of Life, Aliens, Complexity, and Consciousness”. The four hour discussion covered topics ranging from consciousness and the origin of life, to UFOs and a universal programming language for Chemistry. The full podcast can be viewed on YouTube

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February 2022: Chemistry Kicks Off in the ARC

Chemistry operations have now officially begun in the ARC (Advanced Research Centre), following a complex moving operation lasting 4 to 5 weeks. During this time, with the help of specialist engineers, the Digital Chemistry group successfully relocated 7 analytical instruments and 2 rapid prototyping 3D printers as well as many hundreds of items of small equipment and chemicals. The new bespoke space will allow the group to enhance existing research, as well as expanding into new and exciting areas.

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January 2022: Digital Chemistry Moves to the ARC

The Digital Chemistry research group, led by Prof Cronin, is this week moving into the Advanced Research Centre (ARC), the University of Glasgow’s new flagship research facility. The Cronin group will occupy much of the 5th floor of the ARC, within a cutting edge, custom built space for Digital Chemistry research.

University Press Release

ARC website

Photo Credit: Keith Hunter

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November 2021: Prof Cronin Featured in Discover Magazine

An online article has been published by Discover Magazine, showcasing the work of Prof Cronin and his research group. The article delves into Prof Cronin’s personal history, as well as discussing his current passion for automating chemistry and using his Chemputer technology to discover the origins of life and intelligence.

The article can be viewed on the Discover Magazine website.

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October 2021: Dr Nicola Bell Selected for Crucible Leadership Development Programme

Dr Nicola Bell (Senior Researcher in the group) has been selected for the prestigious Crucible Leadership Development Programme. The annual event is designed to support Early Career Researchers in taking the next step in their careers by helping to develop meaningful collaborations, increase ambitions and boldness of funding applications. Nicola was selected from a pool of talented researchers from across the university and will attend events focused on collaboration, research communication and research creativity. …

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October 2021: Chemistry World: Exploiting evolution to explore chemical space shows promise for drug discovery

A Chemistry World article has been published describing recent Cronin Group work on the development of Assembly Theory, and it’s applications in predicting how products will evolve in chemical reactions. This work could lead to the development of new drugs through intelligently exploring chemical space by combining the assembly spaces of known molecules.

The full article can be viewed on the Chemistry World website.

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September 2021: Joint US-UK Solution wins NIH NCATS Prize

Prof Cronin’s team, alongside collaborators including Prof Walker from Arizona State University, have won an NIH NCATS ASPIRE Reduction-to-Practice Challenge prize, which is awarded to projects that offer solutions for the current opioid crisis. The prize was awarded for their work on the Closed Loop Bio Assay-Chemputer for Next Generation Analgesics (BioChemputer). This is the second such prize that Profs Cronin and Walker have been awarded, following the award of an NIH integrated challenge prize in 2019.

Information on the prize and winners can be found on the NCATS website.

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August 2021: Cronin Group researchers feature in NASA short video on Universal Life Detection

Cronin Group researchers have appeared in a short video produced by NASA, describing their work on Assembly Theory and Universal Life Detection. In the video, Prof Cronin and other researchers working on the project describe how recent work in establishing an Assembly Index for molecular complexity, and detecting it experimentally using Mass Spectrometry, could be used to construct a universal life detector, which could detect the presence of biological molecules even if they are completely unlike those on Earth.

The video can be seen on YouTube, or on the NASA website.

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July 2021: Lee Cronin appears on the Armen Show podcast

Lee Cronin has appeared on The Armen Show podcast, which is described as “Science, Technology, and Discussion for the Lifelong Learner”. In the episode, Prof Cronin. discusses topics ranging from Chemical Evolution and information to philosophy and social media.

The full episode can be viewed on YouTube

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June 2021: Dr. Hessam Mehr Awarded Prestigious Leverhulme Fellowship

Congratulations to Cronin Group member Dr. Hessam Mehr on receiving a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, set to start in the School of Chemistry in May 2022. In his fellowship, entitled “Investigating the dark reactions present in chemical space”, Dr. Mehr will use probabilistic reasoning to understand the outcome of thousands of stochastic reactivity events. The aim is to infer the presence of dark chemical reactions: missing pieces in the reactivity puzzle that are necessary to explain the formation of unexpected new molecules.

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May 2021: Complex molecules hold the secret to finding aliens

In a new paper published in Nature Communications, titled “Identifying molecules as biosignatures with assembly theory and mass spectrometry”, Cronin Group researchers describe Assembly Theory, a new way of quantifying molecular complexity, which can be used to determine if a molecule required a biological system to create it. The complexity of molecules was also measured experimentally through mass spectrometry fragmentation, opening the door for the creation of a life detection machine. Since Assembly Theory relies on molecular complexity alone, the life detection process is …

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Prof. Leroy (Lee) Cronin

Prof Leroy (Lee) Cronin
Regius Chair of Chemistry
Cronin Laboratory
School of Chemistry
Joseph Black Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
Tel: +44 141 330 6650
Email: lee.cronin@glasgow.ac.uk

Latest Publications

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471. Formalising the pathways of life to using assembly spaces

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470. Engineering Highly Reduced Molybdenum Polyoxometalates via the Incorporation of d and f Block Metal Ions

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469. Effective Storage of Electrons in Water by the Formation of Highly Reduced Polyoxometalate Clusters

468. A Probabilistic Chemical Programmable Computer

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467. Digitizing Chemical Synthesis in 3D Printed Reactionware

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466. Hydrogen from water electrolysis

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465. Investigating the autocatalytically driven formation of Keggin-based polyoxometalate clusters

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464. Exploring the sequence space of unknown oligomers and polymers

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463. Exploring the Hidden Constraints that Control the Self-Assembly of Nanomolecular Inorganic Clusters

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462. Facile and Reproducible Electrochemical Synthesis of the Giant Polyoxomolybdates

Group Funders

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