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Dr Timothy Dickens CChem, FRSC

Head of IT - Department of Chemistry


I am Head of IT at the Chemistry department.  The IT team are responsible for the provision of IT services to all Academic, Administrative and research staff.  In addition we manage the contract that provides IT services to undergraduate teaching within the department through the University Computing MCS service.


All requests for support are handled through a Resource Tracking system.  Metrics are gathered, reported on through the IT Committee and used to identify systemic issue to be tackled through route cause analysis.

A master sheet of all active projects is used to track progress against plan.  The current key themes being:

  1. Ensuring data is held in a resilient and replicated environment
  2. Provision of administrative information to aid the decision making of the department  through linking databases
  3. Improving the user IT experience through a combination of support process improvement; technical simplification; improving communication and Infrastructure projects (for example the entire Department Network was recently upgraded). 

For more information on the IT in Chemistry please see the first article here.

I am also the IT coordinator for the School of Physical Science.  In this role I undertake strategy reviews, support Heads of Departments in HR issues related to IT and liaise with the Univeristy Central IT organisation UIS on behalf of the School.


Research Interests


Although I am not employed by the University to conduct formal research I have retained my interest in Theoretical Chemistry for which I was awarded a PhD.  In my day to day job I have the luxury of discussing Chemistry with colleagues as well as keeping abreast of some of the latest developments in the field.

My own academic interest is the study of Dispersion forces and Exchange potentials.  These are particularly relevant in calculating the physical properties of Molecular Crystals such as sublimation energies and packing arrangements.  They are very important in determining the conformation of molecules and calculating the binding energies of compounds at drug receptor sites.

More recently I have been performing NMR Ring Current calculations on various congregate aromatic systems.  This is an application of Graph Theory.   Another application of which that has long fascinated me, is proving non repetition changes in Bell ringing.  Sadly the use of Graph Theory in proving whether a peal is true is in decline as “brute force” computer simulation techniques have become more prevalent.

Prior to joining the University I was at GSK for 24 years.  In the early part of my career I worked in as a Chemist in molecular computer graphics.  Later my career evolved into IT infrastructure management.  I also provide external research degree supervision.  Current themes include Six Sigma process improvement methodology.




I am an Official Fellow, College Lecture and Director of Studies in Chemsity at Peterhouse .  I supervise the Part IA Chemistry course for all students taking this subject at Peterhouse.  This covers:

1. Shapes and Structures of Molecules - encompassing NMR and IR spectroscopy as well as Quantum Mechanics

2. Reactions and mechanisms in organic chemistry - Nucleophilic Substitution, Electrophilic attack on pi-bonds, carbonyl chemistry.

3. Energetics and Equilibria - Second Law of Thermodynamics entropy, enthalpy, Gibbs energy

4. Kinetics of Chemical Reactions - Reaction rates and rate laws.

5. Chemistry of the Elements - Properties and electronic structure.  Chemical bonding and reactions.

I also organise supervisions for students in subsequent years and support students who pursue Chemistry at Cambridge.

lMy supervising goal is to ensure that all students taking Chemistry at Peterhouse understand the material covered in lectures.  Can answer the problems sheets set and become prepared to sit the IA Tripos exam.

I also supervise Part IB-B (Second Year) Inorganic Chemistry.  Topics include:

1. Co-ordination chemistry with a special focus on first row transition metals, isomerism, oxidation states, Crystal Field Theory, d orbital splitting, high and low spin complexes and magnetic properties of transition metal ions.

2. Organometalic chemistry including the 18 electron rule, metal carbonyl structures, sandwich complexes, oxidation state and ligand stability, homogenous catalysis.

3. Main Group ring Chemistry.  Various ring main group ring systems will be explored including systems with B/N, P/N and S.N rings.  Alternative bonding models to covalent bonding will be examined such as negative hyperconjugation with ionic bonding.


I am  passionate about helping other people with their personal development and currently provide mentoring support to several people within the School of Physical Science.



Selected papers:

A.T. Balaban, T.K. Dickens, I. Gutman, R.B. Mallion, "Ring Currents and the PCP Rule", Croatica Chemica Acta, 83 (2) 209-215 (2010) PDF

By this paper I have an Erdös number of 3 with a multiplicity of 3 as all three co-authors have an Erdös number of 2 which incidentally they have acquired several times over.

T.K. Dickens*, R.B. Mallion, “Topological Ring-Currents in the ‘Empty’ Ring of Benzo-Annelated Perylenes”, J Chem Phys A.- 115 351–356 (2011). DOI: 10.1021/jp1096103

T.K. Dickens*, J.A.N.F. Gomes, R.B Mallion "Some Comments on Topological Approaches to the π-Electron Currents in Conjugated Systems" J Chem Theory and Comp. - 7 3661-3674 (2011). DOI: 10.1021/ct2002539

TK Dickens, RB Mallion, "π-Electron ring-currents and bond-currents in [10,5]-Coronene and related structures conforming to the 'Annulene-Within-an-Annulene' model"  Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (2013) 15, 8245.  DOI: 10.1039/c3cp00053b
This paper is open access.

T. K. Dickens and R. B. Mallion*, "An Analysis of Topological Ring-Currents and their Use in Assessing the Annulene-Within-an-Annulene Model for Super-Ring Conjugated Systems" Croatica Chemica Acta 86 (4) 387-406 (2013) DOI: 10.5562/cca2291 PDF

T. K. Dickens and R. B. Mallion,  "Topological ring-currents and bond-currents in the altan-[r,s]-coronenes" Chem. Commun.,  51 1819-1822 (2015)  DOI:

See full list below.

For further information on the CamELS project please follow this link:





Topological Ring-Currents in Conjugated Systems
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– MATCH Commun. Math. Comput. Chem.
Comparisons of π-Electron Ring-Current and Bond-Current Patterns Calculated by Topological (‘HLPM’) and Ab Initio (‘Ipso-Centric’) Formalisms for Two Isomeric Conjugated Hydrocarbons, Corazulene and Cornaphthalene
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– Croatica Chemica Acta
Topological ring-current and bond-current properties of the altans of certain K-factorizable conjugated systems containing "fixed" single-bonds.
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– The journal of physical chemistry. A
Topological ring-currents and bond-currents in the altan-[r,s]-coronenes.
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– Chemical communications (Cambridge, England)
Ring-current assessment of the Annulene-Within-an-Annulene model for some large coupled super-ring conjugated-systems
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– Croatica Chemica Acta
pi-Electron Ring-Currents and Bond-Currents in Some Conjugated Altan-Structures
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– The journal of physical chemistry. A
Topological Hückel-London-Pople-McWeeny ring currents and bond currents in altan -corannulene and altan -coronene
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– The journal of physical chemistry. A
An analysis of topological ring-currents and their use in assessing the Annulene-Within-an-Annulene model for super-ring conjugated systems
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– Croatica Chemica Acta
π-Electron ring-currents and bond-currents in [10,5]-Coronene and related structures conforming to the 'Annulene-Within-an-Annulene' model
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP
The regular [r, s]-Coronenes and the 'Annulene-Within-an-Annulene' rule
TK Dickens, RB Mallion
– RSC Advances
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Research Group

Research Interest Group

Telephone number

01223 763811

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