Monday, January 30, 2012

Basketball and Chemistry

That's right - basketball, not buckyball. What's the connection?  In the past three years our department has had the opportunity to teach four of the women's basketball team in the freshman general chemistry course.  And several years before that we had a Lady Titan graduate with a chemistry degree.

This past weekend, Professor Marmorino was invited by chemistry student and Titan Emily Strilich to be honorary coach for the home game against the St. Xavier Cougars.  The Cougars started the game very strong and established a lead in the first half.  In the second half the Titans stunned their guests by quickly scoring the first six points.  For the rest of the game, our team fought hard and kept the Cougars from furthering their lead.  If you have time, please come out to support the team as they play out the remaining games of the season.  Check out the schedule for the women's (click here) and men's games (click here).  Games continue until the end of February.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Advice for Senior Seminar Students

Professor Betty Lise Anderson, from The Ohio State University, was invited again to share her secrets for a terrific technical talk.  She has been contributing to our department's senior seminar course for many years. Her dynamic speaking skills and immensely practical suggestions are hard to forget.  We hope students will heed her advice as they prepare for oral presentations that start at the end of February.   

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Senior students prepare for seminars

Biochemistry alumnus and winner of the 2011 Ross Seminar Prize, Calvin Streeter, returned as an invited speaker to the Senior Seminar class. He provided tips and suggestions from his perspective on how to approach  the senior seminar and it’s accompanying paper. His ultimate take-home message was: “Have fun and enjoy it.”  Because students are able to choose their own topic and focus on the particulars that interest them, this goal is well within reach.  Good luck to all you graduating seniors - we look forward to reading your reports and listening to your presentations.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Welcome Dr. Kathryn Haas

This semester, the attentions of Professors McMillen and Feighery have been redirected to pressing concerns leaving our department's organic and inorganic chemistry courses without instructors - that is, until Dr. Kathryn Haas came to the rescue.   Haas spent a year as a post-doc studying the toxicological effects of cadmium on glow worms after graduating with a Ph.D. from Duke University in 2010. 

Haas will start a full-time professorship at Saint Mary's College next Fall, but this Spring she is teaching organic chemistry lecture and both the lecture and laboratory of inorganic chemistry here at IU South Bend.  You might find her snowboarding in the snow that cancelled class as she taught this skill for eight years - but she also likes knitting and fun group fitness activities.  Not pictured are her two cats: Peaches and Bad Kitty - I wonder if she has a favorite?   Haas says she loves to teach and we wish her and her students a wonderful Spring semester.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tutoring for lower-level courses returns

The Academic Center for Excellence is again stocking itself full of outstanding students to tutor students in freshman and sophomore chemistry courses.  The schedule provided may change during the semester, but gives a good idea of the coverage provided.  Please contact the center for more details

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Software for the New Year

We begin the Spring semester with new software for drawing chemical structures.  Several months ago our department purchased ChemSketch from ACD Labs and it is now part of the standard build on student lab computers throughout the campus.   In addition to being able to draw structures, students can generate various types of three-dimensional images of their structures and rotate them with the push of a button.  This should greatly help students appreciate concepts like steric hindrance and symmetry.  The picture shows two different 3D views of a chlorinated and alkylated dibenzofuran.  Also handy is a tool that "optimizes" the geometry of a poorly-drawn structure so that our lack of artistry is not apparent.  Students can find this software under the class-specific folder at the START menu of lab computers.