Creative Digifest #SXSC2 Speaker Profile: Jeremy Frey

Jeremy Frey is Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Southampton, UK He is fully committed to a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to chemical research. He uses laser spectroscopy to probe molecular structure, reactivity, and dynamics in a variety of environments, ranging from single molecules to interfaces and surfaces, which he studies with interfacial non-linear spectroscopy.  His most recent laser research probes the shape of single large molecules of biological significance, such as enzymes, using EUV and soft x-ray coherent diffraction imaging and x-ray spectroscopy. Experimental data is transferred automatically to an Electronic Laboratory Notebook (ELN): LabTrove, which his research group developed.

At Southampton , his collaborations with Physics, the Opto-Electronics Research Centre (ORC), and Electronics and Computer Science have been particularly fruitful. He continues to be vigorously involved with the UK e-Science and e-Research programmes. Jeremy led the CombeChem project, which developed e-Science and Grid infrastructure to provide support for and carry out chemical research, including, for example, the Smart Tea Project.

Subsequent projects deploy Web 2.0 & social networking technologies to develop a “Chemical Semantic Web”; the e-Bank & e-Crystals projects established Publication @ Source² as a key goal in the drive for appropriate curation. Jeremy was the chair of the UK e-Science User Group (2005-7) and in 2005/6 held a Visiting Fellowship at the Centre for Mathematics and its Applications at ANU, Canberra. He has recently been appointed as the champion for the RCUK Digital Economy IT as a Utility Network.

ITaaU Web page is

In what ways are digital technologies transforming our lives?

Huge increase in the access to material and information, opening up choice, though perhaps not considered knowledge, ability to communicate rapidly with many people & groups to obtain input, advice and with luck make better decisions!  When digital replaces physical, rather than supply information about the physical world, then the transformation is much more dramatic and personalised mass customisation is possible.

What can the latest technologies do for you?

Smart phones, Cloud services are just the start of the potential to transform IT and information provision into a utility – but are these utility services ones we will trust?  When we can trust them we are empowered by them, when we can’t the result can be devastating, much more rapidly and globally than ever happened in the pre-digital world.

If you’re not online, are you out of the game?

No not quite, but just playing a slower game!  I don’t have a smart phone (yet) – I can use my phone to talk to people, so while I may not always be online all the time, I have become used to being in contact, and perhaps having time with no email might give time for more thought and less rushing about?