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Volume 16 Number 14

January 18, 2012

The chemistry summer research recruiting seminar is today!

The chemistry summer research recruiting seminar is today, Wednesday, January 18, in Olin 04, 4:00-5:00 p.m.  This will be an opportunity for students interested in applying for a summer research position in the Chemistry Department to hear a quick summary of the science the chemistry faculty members are pursuing in their labs.  Students interested in summer research should also go to the Chemistry Department website to consider opportunities available off-campus as well as at Carleton.

Note that the Chemistry Department summer research recruiting document and the application form are also available at this location.  If you have general questions about summer research opportunities available in the Chemistry Department, you can contact me (, x4032) as I am the Summer Research Coordinator for chemistry this summer.

Steve Drew

Seminar Announcement

Friday, January 20, 2012
3:30 p.m.
Olin 141

Michel Janssen
University of Minnesota

Einstein’s most revolutionary work:  The young turk’s contributions to early quantum theory

Einstein is probably best remembered for his wild hairdo and as the father of relativity theory, E=mc2, and the atomic bomb.  His famous put-down of quantum mechanics, “God does not play dice,” is also widely known.  What is often forgotten is that Einstein made several key contributions to early quantum theory, some of them routinely misattributed to the better known quantum revolutionaries Planck and Bohr, and that Einstein himself saw these contributions and not his work on relativity theory as truly revolutionary.  In my talk I will give a concise overview of these contributions, from his startling 1905 light-quantum hypothesis to his prescient 1909 prediction of the wave-particle duality of light and his 1917 quantum theory of radiation, which laid the theoretical basis for the laser.  This early work in quantum theory, much more so than his work in relativity theory, illustrates the approach to physics that brought Einstein his great triumphs.  I will contrast this approach, which puts careful consideration of the empirical data first, to the approach that has come to be associated with Einstein but that he never followed in his early years, in which mathematical elegance is put front and center and a cavalier ‘damn the data if they don't fit’ attitude is adopted.  Einstein only exhibited this type of bravado once he had become the wild-haired iconic old sage of popular lore.  Although he managed to convince himself otherwise, it never brought him any lasting results in physics.  The triumphs for which the old sage is justly celebrated were all achieved by the young turk, who, fortunately, continued to surface every once in a while even in Einstein’s later years, such as, most importantly, with the famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper of 1935, which strikingly brings out the phenomenon of quantum entanglement and which by now is easily Einstein’s most frequently cited paper.

Periodic Table Meets This Week

Periodic Table meets this Thursday in the LDC.  We meet at noon in the chemistry hallway and walk over together, or you can join us there.  If you are off board, the department will cover your lunch.

Scientific Careers Panel Discussion
MN Private Colleges Career Consortium (MPCCC) Job and Internship Fair

Want to know what to do with your college degree?  Consider attending the Scientific Careers Panel Discussion at the MPCCC Job and Internship Fair.  The panel will be on Tuesday, February 21, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  All students registered for the fair may attend the Scientific Careers Panel; however, pre-registration to attend the panel is required.  The Career Center is making arrangements for a bus to transport students to and from the fair on February 21.  For more information, see the attached or contact Brian Murphy or Mike Hendel in the Career Center.

Interested in Teaching?

Southern Teachers Agency has begun to receive chemistry and physical science job listings from schools for the 2012-13 school year.  These jobs range from physical science at the middle-school level through high school AP chemistry.  It is common for science teachers to teach more than one kind of science, so some of these positions will require a chemistry teacher to lead sections of biology, physics, or another science.  Certification is not required by private schools for many science teaching jobs.  Click here to view current science teaching jobs.

Requirements:  For most of these chemistry teaching jobs, a bachelor’s degree with a major in chemistry (or at the very least a chemistry minor) is essential, but teacher certification is not.  A degree in science education is highly desirable, as is a master’s degree in chemistry.  Candidates should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.  Some of these positions require prior teaching experience.  Application process:  Interested candidates should apply to Southern Teachers Agency.  The process consists of completing an STA application, sending a credentials file, and having a telephone interview.  For more information, visit

Summer Research Opportunities

North Dakota State University

NDSU’s NSF-REU program, Research on the Prairies, is a 10-week summer research experience for undergraduate students.  Participants will work alongside faculty to engage in cutting-edge research in the molecular sciences.  Participants will receive a $5,000 stipend and on-campus housing.  The summer 2012 program will run from May 29 through August 3.  Throughout the intensive summer program, participants will learn to think creatively and independently about research and to communicate their results in multiple contexts.  Weekly seminars, informal research meetings, and trips to regional attractions (e.g., The Badlands) are planned.  The summer program will culminate in an undergraduate research symposium that showcases participants’ progress throughout the summer.  More information can be found at