Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First-Semester Chemistry Offered This Spring

The departments of biology and physics have long offered both courses of their freshman year-long sequences in both seasons, but the department has not done this for over a decade. This semester marks a change as Professor Anderson takes the initiative as department chair to give our students more opportunities.

The main reason for this offering is to accommodate those students in the chemistry and biology programs who could not take the fall course because of limited enrollment or failure to meet prerequisites.  The spring offering of the first course, followed by a summer offering of the second semester course, will enable such students to complete the first-year general chemistry sequence on time and be ready to take organic chemistry next fall. Professor Marmorino is teaching the lecture course (CHEM C105) and Professors Muna and Hartford are teaching the laboratory (CHEM C125).  

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Faculty Focus - Clark Hartford

Clark Hartford earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry at East Tennessee State University and then eventually moved north and settled in Elkhart working at Miles Laboratory. At night he took chemistry courses at the University of Notre Dame to earn his masters degree. Hartford also took many additional specialty courses in analytical chemistry that helped him gain a promotion to head the Mile's analytical research team. Later in his career he worked in New Jersey as the manager of one of Rhodia's food ingredients analytical research laboratories.

Hartford's expertise in analytical chemistry is a great boon to our department and he has taught upper-level courses three times when our analytical chemistry position was temporarily vacant. When not rescuing our department in this manner, Hartford routinely teaches a couple of freshman laboratory classes each semester. and has been doing so for the past twelve years. We are ever thankful for the skill and expertise of our adjunct faculty.  The industrial experience that most of them have is a great benefit - and Hartford has a lot.

There's more to this man than just chemistry, however, for Hartford is a master of more than one trade. Though Hartford joined our department in 2002, our campus was not new to him, for he had continued his education, this time in business, and obtained an MBA with concentrations in finance and accounting from IU South Bend. With this expertise he assisted his director of research and development with business matters and even worked professionally for several years preparing tax returns.

Thank you, Clark, for your excellent service to our department.  We look forward to many more years of continued work side-by-side.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Quantum chemical calculations just got easier

Quantum mechanical calculations on molecules are routine nowadays and our department has recently upgraded from a few individual licenses of outdated Gaussian and HyperChem software to a three-year site license of Spartan.  This windows-driven student-version software allows for Hartree-Fock, density functional theory, and more advanced calculations to be performed on molecules to determine energy levels and optimum geometry. It also enables the prediction of IR and NMR spectra.  The software was primary acquired for use in the upper-level inorganic chemistry and physical chemistry courses. Nevertheless we anticipate the spectra generating ability will be especially useful in the sophomore organic chemistry course and we would like to introduce students to the software as early as their freshman chemistry course when they are introduced to molecular orbitals.  Professor Feighery will introduce the software this semester in his inorganic chemistry course CHEM-C335.  Limited licenses of the more advanced Spartan'14 are also available on faculty computers and in the chemistry computer lab. The picture depicts the HOMO of phosgene.