Dr Hugh Cartwright - research, teaching, publications

Home    :    Research    :    Teaching    :    Publications    :    Books   :   Contact




1973 - 1984: Chemistry Department, University of Victoria, Canada.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Sessional Assistant Professor, Senior Laboratory Instructor.

1984 - 2011: Chemistry Department, Oxford University, England.
Laboratory Officer, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, Oxford University.
Senior Chemistry Tutor, and Lecturer in Physical Chemistry, St Anne's College, Oxford University. 
Lecturer in Physical Chemistry, Oriel College, Oxford University. 

Within the Oxford tutorial system, College tutors teach a wide range of courses which, in the sciences, typically involve both traditional lectures, and small-group sessions, often 1-to-1 or 2-1 with students.  Courses taught covered the full range of the physical and theoretical chemistry syllabus in the Oxford MChem degree, including atomic and molecular structure, kinetics, diatomic and polyatomic spectroscopy, magnetic resonance, surfaces, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, reaction dynamics, quantum mechanics, and equilibrium & dynamic electrochemistry.

2011 - present: After retiring from Oxford in 2011 and moving back to Canada, I've taught various courses at the University of Victoria (UVic), including Chem 102 (Introductory Chemistry), Chem 222 (Inorganic Chemistry) and Chem 361 (Practical Analytical Chemistry). At Camosun College, also located in Victoria, I've taught Chem 121 for several years, and more recently have taught both Chem 120 and Chem 150 (Engineering Chemistry).


Self-organizing Map

The research of my group has concentrated on the use of Artificial Intelligence to solve scientific problems. We have used a broad range of tools, including:

(i) Artificial Neural Networks: these are models originally inspired by the way the brain is presumed to work; they are value in a wide variety of fields that rely on "learning".
(ii) Genetic Algorithms: these computational models are loosely analogous to "survival of the fittest" models of the natural world; GAs are commonly used to search large, multi-dimensional surfaces.
(iii) Support Vector Machines: SVMs are a strongly computational technique for data classification; the technique has only recently started to gain a following in chemistry.
(iv) Self-organizing Maps: these are able to learn about large data sets merely by inspecting them; no training is required, in contrast to Artificial Neural Networks, which require access to a database of examples. They are, however, much less powerful than ANNs for most types of problem, since the SOM is essentially a just clustering algorithm.
(v) Particle Swarm Optimization methods: these mimic the behavior of animal groups, such as the flocking of starlings or the co-operative behaviour of colonies of ants; rather surprisingly, these can be used to solve some types of  scientific problems.
(vi) and other methods, including Agent-based Systems.

We have used these algorithms to tackle problems from bacterial remediation to cancer research, from scientific rule discovery to proteomics, and from predicting the efficacy of TB drugs to spectroscopic analysis. Several books in the area are available.

Work is currently underway on an environmental project in which both Agent-based Modelling, a further Artificial Intelligence technique, and Genetic Algorithms are being used to map the origin of oil spills at sea.

                                                Publications and books


Most research publications have been in the area of the use of Artificial Intelligence in science and its application to real-world problems, such as the assessment of drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis or cancer, and studies of the use of bacterial remediation to clean up chemically-polluted sites.

Several books have been published, including volumes in both the Oxford Chemistry Primer Series and the Oxford Masters series, published by Oxford University Press and a text on the practical use of Artificial Intelligence in science, published by Taylor & Francis.

A number of journal papers are accessible through this link.

                                                     Camosun College

Camosun College, Victoria BC

In recent sessions, I've taught sections of Chem 150, (Engineering Chemistry), at Camosun's Interurban Campus, as well as Chem 120 and Chem 121 at the Lansdowne Campus.


                                            Oxford University

Radcliffe Camera, Oxford Oxford University is the oldest University in the UK and the second oldest in Europe. One of its most distinctive features is the tutorial system, which is used throughout the University.  As well as the normal selection of lectures, seminars and laboratory work, all undergraduates are taught by College Fellows (who are, in the main, University Professors or their equivalent) on a 1-to-1 or 2-1 basis.

Oxford is a "Collegiate" University, and every student is a member both of the University and - separately - a member of a College. The Colleges are independent from each other and are not formally a part of the University, but they are very closely linked to it; in general, it's not possible to be a member of the University without also being a member of a College. Colleges act as both an academic environment and a social hub for students, and the broad variety of students sharing life in a relatively small community in each College is one of the key attractions of Oxford for many students.

The Chemistry Department at Oxford has a vigorous Outreach Program, details of which are available here.

There is plenty of information online about Oxford University, as well as the Chemistry Department, St Anne's College, and Oriel College, the parts of the University with which I have been most associated.

                                                     University of Victoria

University of Victoria

The University of Victoria is a young, thriving and vigorous University located in one of the most beautiful cities in Canada (and with one of the most pleasant climates...).

Follow this link for details of the Chemistry courses on offer at UVic.

Dr Hugh Cartwright

Research Interests

Artificial Intelligence
Genetic Algorithms
Artificial Neural Networks
Agent-based systems
Chemical Education

Contact details

Chemistry Department,
Oxford University
South Parks Road,
Oxford OX1 3QZ


Chemistry Department
University of Victoria
Victoria BC