Robert Benny Gerber
General Research Interests: Theoretical and computational chemistry: Emphasis on theoretical research closely related to experiment.
Scientific Bio: Professor Gerber has contributed to several areas of theoretical chemistry. He developed a method enabling accurate calculations of the vibrational spectra of large molecules (systems of up to 200 atoms were recently treated). These, compared with experiments, determined the 3-D structure of conformers of numerous biomolecules, most recently of peptides.
In a series of studies, Gerber and coworkers unraveled the molecular mechanisms of several challenging atmospheric reactions by using molecular dynamics simulations. Theoretical-experimental cooperation with Professor B.J. Finlayson-Pitts was involved, resulting in microscopic understanding of several atmospherically important reactions at water/air interfaces.
Another contribution was to novel chemistry of noble-gas elements. Gerber and coworkers predicted several molecules of noble gases, e.g. HXeCCH. Experimental preparation of HXeCCH and related compounds led to the discovery of one of the largest classes of noble-gas molecules, the acetylenic compounds.
Finally, The Gerber group has also developed approximate methods for the quantum dynamics of many-atom systems.