Aaron Fafarman, "Spectroscopy and Sustainability: Understanding and Engineering Low-Cost, Nanocrystal-Based Energy Conversion Materials"

Oct. 23, 2012

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From the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Engineering:


Aaron Fafarman, "Spectroscopy and Sustainability: Understanding and Engineering Low-Cost, Nanocrystal-Based Energy Conversion Materials"

October 23, 2012 

Cleveland L3

4:30-5:30 Talk


Check out Dr. Fafarman's profile at University of Pennsylvania's website to learn more about him and the Kagan Research Group.

A note from Dr. Fafarman:

Inorganic nanocrystals are a fascinating form of matter, existing between the world of molecules and the world of bulk materials. The properties of metal and semiconductor nanocrystals are not determined simply by their elemental composition—instead their size can dictate their interactions with light, the energies available to electrons within them and the chemical reactions they participate in. Exquisite synthetic control over their size and shape is routinely achieved, allowing for the intentional design of nanocrystals as "artificial atoms." Now, with recent advances in the synthesis of all-inorganic nanocrystal solids from these colloidal building blocks, the long-standing goal of fabricating functional materials from artificial atoms is becoming within reach. This talk explores how we can use spectroscopy to optimize the synthesis of [these] nanocrystal solids for low-cost, solution-processed solar cells. We first explore the electronic structure of individual nanocrystals before moving on to the study of electron transport between nanocrystals. Using light, heat and electric fields we will probe and tune the strength of the "bonds" formed between artificial atoms. Using surface modification and infrared spectroscopy we will manipulate and measure the nanocrystal surface, and use this to maximize the lifetime of photoexcited charge carriers.  

Yan Qi, "Solving the Needle-in-a-Haystack Puzzle in DNA Repair"

Oct. 18, 2012

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From Harvard University:


Yan Qi, "Solving the Needle-in-a-Haystack Puzzle in DNA Repair"

October 18, 2012 

Cleveland L1

4:30-5:30 Talk


Hear the lecture.

View her powerpoint. 

Learn more about her research in the Verdine Lab.  

LEAP Panel: Me, Myself, and I Doing Science, Challenges and Rewards

Oct. 12, 2012

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From the LEAP Symposium, October 12, 2012:

 From left to right: Professor Maria Gomez, Mai-Anh Ha, Janice Shiu, Yen Nguyen

Panel: Me, Myself, and I Doing Science, Challenges and Rewards

October 12, 2012 

Kendade 203

1:15-2:30 Talk

Hear the panel.

Jason Shepard, "DART-MS for the Detection of Synthetic Cannabinoids: How to Hit a Constantly Moving Target"

Oct. 11, 2012

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From the University at Albany:

Jason Shepard, "DART-MS for the Detection of Synthetic Cannabinoids: How to Hit a Constantly Moving Target"

October 11, 2012 

Cleveland L1

4:30-5:30 Talk

Hear the lecture.

Check out Professor Shepard's profile at University at Albany's website to learn more about his research group from the people in his lab to a list of publications.

Chinedum O. Osuji, "Soft Matter Under High Magnetic Fields – Phase Behavior, Alignment Dynamics and Designing Functional Materials"

Oct. 04, 2012

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From the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University:

Chinedum O. Osuji, "Soft Matter Under High Magnetic Fields – Phase Behavior, Alignment Dynamics and Designing Functional Materials"

October 4, 2012 

Kendade 203

4:30-5:30 Talk

Hear the lecture.

Check out Professor Osuji's research group at Yale's Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering's website to learn more about his research group from the people in his lab to a list of publications. 

General Information about him provided by the Mount Holyoke Physics Department. An excerpt of the information provided about the subject of his research is as follows:

The ability to transform matter that displays novel physical properties into useful materials and devices is inextricably linked to the ability to reliably control structure on length scales of interest. While this has been well advanced in hard materials, by contrast, the generation of self-assembled soft matter remains surprisingly challenging in certain situations. However, under appropriate conditions magnetic fields offer a simple route to directing this self-assembly over large length scales. This enables reliable control of morphology in materials such as thin films of microphase separated block copolymers (BCPs) and polymer nanocomposites. Examples of functional material systems for energy generation and water purification will be highlighted.

David P. Schmidt, "Graduate School at UMass and Elsewhere"

Sep. 27, 2012

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From the University of Massachusetts, Amherst:

David P. Schmidt, "Graduate School at UMass and Elsewhere"

September 27, 2012 

Kendade 203

4:30-5:30 Talk

Hear the lecture.

View the powerpoint. 

Check out Professor Schmidt's website at UMass's Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering's website to learn more about his research interests.

General information provided by the Physics Department. 

Jin Sun Woo, REU at University of Arkansas

Jul. 31, 2012

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 Left: Jin Sun Woo; Right: Timothy Beng, who earned his Ph. D at the University of Arkansas under Dr. Gawley, is now in the Sarpong group at UC Berkeley. He recently won a NIH Ruth Kirschstein post-doctoral fellowship. The two are standing in front of Jin Sun Woo's poster at the poster session at the University of Arkansas on July 31, 2011.

Landing in the REU program in University of Arkansas was an epic journey for me. As an international student, finding a research program that both accepts international students and pay an ample amount of stipend was a challenge. Initially, Professor Maria Gomez thankfully informed me about the REU program by NSF. After going through the list of schools and exchanging countless emails, I could narrow the list down to a few schools that included University of Arkansas.

At the start of the program, since it was my first research experience, I was fascinated only by watching and actually enabling what I learned in a classroom to come to life. However, I was more captivated by the research project because of its pivotal role in pharmaceutical and synthetic chemistry. In Gawley group, I worked on expanding the scope of Catalytic Dynamic Resolution (CDR), which requires only catalytic amount of chiral ligands to conduct asymmetric synthesis with excellent enantioselectivity. Asymmetric synthesis is an essential part in pharmaceutics since each enantiomer of a chiral compound often reacts differently in human bodies. My project mainly focused on the scaled-up synthesis of pipecolic methyl ester using CDR, and I also participated in the examination of configurationally stable benzylic organolithium compounds.

Throughout the program, I learned that chemical research could be exciting, but at the same time pretty complex—compared to what it looks like in a simple chemical equation. In order to obtain the product, we had to carry out the reaction, purification, isolation, and characterization processes. Sometimes separating the product by column chromatography and figuring out its identity by TLC or NMR took more than one day. However, my experience in Gawley group was particularly rewarding because the research project ended up in a publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.*

For those who are looking for internships and research opportunities, I would like to recommend really digging into the pool of programs to find out what you are truly interested. Although any area of chemical research would be helpful for first-time researchers, you WILL be more enthusiastic and engaged if they really like it. So, try hard and good luck with finding the opportunities!

- Jin Sun Woo, class of 2013, Chemistry major and Biology minor, originates from Korea and prior to Mount Holyoke lived in New Jersey for 5 years

* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 14764−14771.

2012 Annual Prizes and Awards

May. 01, 2012

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It's always a pleasant surprise to reach the end of the year. In the midst of reading days, the Chemistry Department hosts a social event with professors, staff, and students to celebrate the end of the year as well as the well-deserved accomplishments of students.

Although not included in the list below, during the actual event professors will often stand up and express their appreciation and acknowledgment of a particular student's work ethic and personality. Their words become all the more poignant for the graduating seniors as they remember such and such student from when she was a first year or their amazement at a particular student's interdisciplinary work.

On that note, the Sceptical Chymist begins with the awards to those graduating seniors:

Rachel Brown Award: Awarded annually to an outstanding chemistry or biochemistry major

Lan He Zhang

American Chemistry Society Award—Connecticut Valley Section (ACS-CVS): Awarded annually two recipients, one an outstanding chemistry major and the other an outstanding biochemistry major

 Regina Ciszewski (Chemistry)

He Clare Xu (Biochemistry)

Although not specific to seniors, this award often does go to a senior as it is an award for someone dear to our (The Chemistry Department's) hearts:

Chemistry Department Book AwardAwarded annually two recipients, one an outstanding chemistry major and the other an outstanding biochemistry major

Kelsey Schramma 

For the rising seniors, the Louisa Stone Stevenson prize awards them for striving hard academically:

Louisa Stone Stevenson PrizesAwarded annually to students in their Junior year for excellence in chemistry as determined by Grade Point Average and/or class rank

Jiayi Chen, Kimberly Edwards, Mai-Anh Ha, Emma Hughes, My-Linh Nguyen, Yen Nguyen, Terianna Wax, Rudo Makonza Goto, Meagan Jones, Yucheng Chen, Yiwen Liu, Xington Zuo, Pei Liu, Seav Huong Ly, Wanxin Wang

 Other awards included the:

ACS Undergraduate Award in Analytical ChemistryAwarded annually for demonstrating aptitude in analytical chemistry

Emma Garst

Chemistry Department Teaching Assistant Award

Si Qi Cindy Yao (General Chemistry)

Quiling Li (Organic Chemistry)

For those who not only survived organic chemistry, but thrived in the subject (typically given to sophomores):

Albert Walter Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry

Cynthia Chai

Aichurok Kamalova

For promising first years:

 Albert Walter Award for Excellence in General Chemistry

Katherine Constas

Ye Tian

Yet again, congratulations to those who were awarded and much thanks for all those who attended this event to relax and cheer on their fellows! 

 

Senior Symposium: Chemistry

Apr. 20, 2012

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Be sure to check out the Chemistry Department's speakers at the Senior Symposium today: 

Read their abstracts: Regina Ciszewski's, Mimi Hang's, Luong Nguyen's, Marie Ozanne's, Kelsey Schramma's, He Xu's, and Lanhe Zhang's.

Hear Regina's presentation.

Hear Mimi's presentation.

Hear the presentations from 3:15-4:15 of Marie, Kelsey, and He's.

Download high quality pictures of the presenters and professors.

Highlights of the presentations:

From left to right: Professor Wei Chen, Lanhe Zhang, Mimi Hang, Luong Nguyen, Regina Ciszewski, and Professor Maria Gomez.

 

... following the stressful day, the presenters get a little wacky. Congratulations on Luong Nguyen and Regina Ciszewski for getting through the day. 

 

From left to right: Marie Ozanne, He Xu, and Kelsey Schramma. 

Senior Symposium: Physics

Apr. 20, 2012

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Be sure to check out the Physics Department's speakers at the Senior Symposium today: 

Hear the presentations. 

Read their abstracts: Xiaolin Hu's, Alyssa Mckenna's, and San Theingi's.  

Rebecca Taurog, "Life at the Extremes: Multiscale Structural Studies of Viruses"

Apr. 05, 2012

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From the Scripps Research Institute:

Rebecca Taurog, "Life at the Extremes: Multiscale Structural Studies of Viruses"

April 3, 2012

Cleveland L2

12:30-1:15 Talk

Hear the lecture.

Ashley Carter, "Discovering the Viscosity of Living Cells"

Mar. 13, 2012

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From Amherst College:

Ashley Carter, "Discovering the Viscosity of Living Cells"

March 13, 2012

Kendade 203

4:20-5:20 Talk

Check out Professor Carter's profile at Amherst College's Department of Biochemistry-Biophysics website.

Check out the Carter Laboratory website regarding her research.

Hear the lecture.

General Information provided by the Mount Holyoke Physics Department.

Professor Carter answering a Mount Holyoke student's questions regarding her research.

Simon Garcia, "Molecular Control of Crystal Shape"

Mar. 08, 2012

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From Kenyon College:

Simon Garcia, "Molecular Control of Crystal Shape"

March 8, 2012

Cleveland L3

4:20-5:20 Talk

Check out Professor Garcia's profile at Kenyon College's Department of Chemistry website.

Hear the lecture.

 

Sarah Phillips, "Search for the the Dark Side of Matter"

Mar. 06, 2012

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From the University of New Hampshire:

Sarah Phillips, "Search for the the Dark Side of Matter"

March 6, 2012

Kendade 203

4:10-4:20 Refreshments

4:20-5:20 Talk

 

Search for the Dark Side of Matter:

There is far more to the Universe than what we see. All of the matter and energy of our daily experience -- textbooks, desks, people, buildings, etc. -- make up only about 4.6% of the Universe. The vast majority of the Universe is actually made up of the Dark Side: dark matter and dark energy. Although first noticed in the 1930's, dark matter is still a mystery, and is currently a hot topic of research. This talk will review the evidence for dark matter and discuss some possible candidates. Driven by exciting hints of dark matter, there are many current and upcoming experiments that are searching for dark matter signatures. I will discuss an overview of some of these efforts, and then focus on an experiment I am working on, the HPS experiment, which will search for dark photons at Jefferson Lab.

View her powerpoint presentation.

Check out PhD research scientist Phillips's website at the University of New Hampshire website, where she provides information about her academic research and background.

General Information about her provided by the Mount Holyoke Physics Department.

Rutherford Symposium: Centennial Celebration of Rutherford's Discovery of Nucleus

Mar. 02, 2012

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So the Sceptical Chymist is taking it to the road, venturing beyond Mount Holyoke College to attend the Centennial Celebration of Rutherford's Discovery of the Nucleus at Smith College. Information about the schedule and the lectures can be found here.

 

There will be photos and audio (hopefully) posted up momentarily from the event.