2018 Undergraduate Research Conference (URC)

Keynote Luncheon Address
James Chapman '15


After graduating from MCLA with degrees in Mathematics and Physics, as well as magna cum laude and scholar distinctions, James started graduate school at the University of Connecticut (Uconn) in the fall of 2015. In his first semester at Uconn, James joined a research group that focused on designing new materials at the atomic level with the use of machine learning. He immediately made major contributions by designing software that interfaced the use of machine learning with large-scale atomic simulation software.

James’s research would eventually evolve into two unique but complimentary paths: the creation of machine learning force fields and the study of how materials fail under extreme mechanical and chemical conditions. Machine learning force fields are simply a way to predict the force on a given atom, but rather than use a scientifically derived formula, a statistical mapping with machine learning algorithms is created. These force fields then drive the dynamic materials simulations to understand how a given material fails. Between the fall of 2015 and the fall of 2017, James published several articles in scientific journals, one of which was awarded the American Chemical Society’s article of the month in January 2016. He has presented his research at numerous Materials Research Society conferences. James also spent a month as a visiting researcher at Los Alamos National Lab last November, where he started several collaborative efforts to combine machine learning with complex materials problems.

After two years at Uconn, James moved down to Atlanta to continue his research at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is currently the senior graduate student in his group and is the lead on two distinct research projects, while also working as a collaborator on various projects throughout his group. His ultimate goal is to design an automated system that can discover new materials with no human input, eliminating most of the cost and time to design new materials.

James enjoys hiking, running, building computers, designing video games, and browsing the python language’s source code. He currently lives in Marietta, Georgia.

URC Keynote Speakers from Recent Years

2017 Kaitlin Hallet '10

2016 Chloe McGrath '13

2015 Alicia Girgenti, Ph.D '07

2014 Victoria Welch '09

2013 Evan Hermann '07

2012 Jarrod Abbott-Washburn '08

2011 Brendan Gaesser '07

2010 Maura Mills '05

2009 Trisha Farco '04

2008 Gerol Petruzella '01

2007 Bonnie Beal '01