Chemistry Lab Manager Brian Mars passed away on April 27, 2013 at his home in Cannon Falls. Brian had just received recognition for 30 years of work at Carleton, having joined the Carleton Chemistry Department in June of 1983. Brian was a vital component of the teaching and research mission of the department, and he excelled at solving problems associated with installing, maintaining, and operating equipment and instruments.
Brian took great pride in Carleton's NMR instrument and he acquired NMR data for sophomore organic chemistry students. A few years ago we celebrated his 10,000th spectrum for Carleton students; on April 26, he acquired 64 additional spectra, pushing his total well over 12,000.
Brian enjoyed working with students and he especially appreciated those who worked with him in the stockroom. Several years ago, Brian instituted a departmental award for a senior student who does outstanding work in the stockroom. The award reads:
“In recognition of superiority in preparing chemical reagents and energetic service to the laboratories, the chemicals, glassware and other scientific apparati have pledged subservience to [name of student] for the rest of his/her natural life, or until the next scientific revolution, whichever comes first.”
As you can see, he incorporated his sense of humor into the commendation. We have re-named the award the “Brian Mars Award,” to honor his memory — his love of chemistry and his commitment to responsible work. We will strive to keep Brian's spirit alive in the Carleton Chemistry Department.