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2005-2006 Faculty and Staff Activities

Chemistry Department faculty and staff at the 2006 spring picnic

Front: Jane Owens, Gretchen Hofmeister, Dave Alberg, Trish Ferrett, Dani Kohen

Back: Steve Drew, Will Hollingsworth, Marion Cass, Deborah Gross, Brian Mars, Joe Chihade

David G. Alberg, 1993-, Associate Professor and Chair. B.A., Carleton College; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.

Dave has survived his first year as department chair and he’s still smiling. Despite taking on the administrative duties of the chair, Dave enjoyed a very good year. At the top of the list was the big news that his wife, Gretchen Hofmeister, earned tenure this year. It was a relief for his whole family to have the stress of tenure behind them, even though the positive tenure decision was not a surprise. Close behind that good news was Dave’s recent promotion from associate professor to professor, this past spring.

Dave enjoyed another great year of teaching. He taught Organic Chemistry I both Fall and Spring Terms and in the spring he also co-taught, with Gretchen, Spectroscopic Characterization of Chemical Compounds, a lab course focused on NMR and mass spectrometry. During Winter Term he had the chance to teach Chemical and Biosynthesis – a newer course for Dave and one that he particularly enjoys teaching. Dave also supervised, with Joe Chihade, a terrific (and very large!) comps group this Winter Term. A whopping 11 seniors were in the group (Kate Waller, Emily Johnson, Andy Nieuwkoop, Jack Rousseau, Gregory Ducker, Kartik Sampath, Mark Ericson, Margaret Pain, Andrew Berry, Disan Davis, Aki Uchida) – probably the largest comps group ever. The group did a great job, studying the work of chemical biologist Carolyn Bertozzi, from the University of California, Berkeley. The group focused on Professor Bertozzi’s work on cell surface glycosylation.

Dave was involved in various service and administrative activities this past year. In addition to chairing the Chemistry Department, he also served once again as the coordinator for the Biochemistry Concentration, a position which he will turn over to Joe Chihade next year. He also served as the Carleton faculty representative for the Goldwater Scholarship Program. This past fall, Dave traveled to Saratoga Springs, NY, to serve as an external reviewer for the Chemistry Department at Skidmore College, as they went through a ten-year review of their department.

Dave’s research on the design, synthesis, and evaluation of inhibitors of trypanothione reductase (TR) continues to be supported by an NIH-AREA grant that he was awarded in the spring of 2003. TR is an enzyme unique to the metabolism of trypanosomes and related parasites, which are the causative agents of a number of diseases, including African sleeping sickness. Last summer, Dave worked with three students. Anna Larson (’06) returned for her second summer of research, and she was joined by Jack Rousseau (’06) and Admire Kuchena (’07). Both Anna and Jack presented posters on their work at the 231st ACS National Meeting in Atlanta, GA, this past March. This summer Dave is working with three new students, Michael Duyzend (’08), Wade Johnson (’07), and Shayna Simmons (’07). Anna Larson also graciously agreed to come back to work for the first few weeks of this summer to help train in Dave’s new student research colleagues.

On the home front, Dave and Gretchen continue to struggle to keep up with son Sam (12) and daughter Eleanor (8) and their many activities. Sporting events played a big role in their lives as Sam was on the “traveling” basketball and baseball teams this year. Ellie keeps them busy too, with violin lessons and a very full social schedule of her own. Overall, life is good.

Charles H. Carlin
, 1966-2004; Charles “Jim” and Marjorie Kade Professor of the Sciences, Emeritus, 2004-. B.A., Carthage College; Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University.

Chuck spent his first full year not teaching at Carleton. It was an experience of conflicting emotions. On the one side, he seemed to have his internal clock governed by the academic year, even though free of the three-term calendar for the first time in several decades. There were thoughts like “Well, I’m not teaching Michael Additions today” or “I’ll bet it has been two weeks since I thought about a NAACC attack.” He misses those “professorial moments” but most of all the day-to-day contact with Carleton undergraduates. On the brighter side, he’s enjoying not grading exams, not arguing about a C+ rightfully inflating to a B-, and finishing the NYT crossword puzzle each day.

Chuck’s course at the Cannon Valley Collegium (“Consumer Choices”) has been a popular choice, and he’ll be teaching there for the third time next spring term.

The entire fishing crew gathered for their week on Crane Lake this year, celebrating the 80th birthdays of two of their senior fellows with a continuous poker game to fill in those too-windy-to-fish afternoons, champagne for the birthday dinner, and a wee spot of the Dew of Kirchentilloch to ward off the chilblains.

Life is actually pretty good on the “other” side of retirement.

Marion E. Cass
, 1987-, Charles “Jim” and Marjorie Kade Professor of the Sciences. B.S., Fort Lewis College; Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder.

This year Marion returned to Carleton after a two-year leave. She taught Introduction to Chemistry (Chem 122) in the fall as well as Advanced Lab I (quantum spectroscopy) which she co-taught with Will Hollingsworth. In the Winter Term, Marion taught a new course, Molecular Orbital Theory (Chem 359), and co-taught Advanced Lab II (chemical kinetics) with Jane Owens. Marion and Gretchen Hofmeister also co-supervised a great group of Carleton seniors studying the published work of John Bercaw from Caltech as part of their senior comprehensive exercise. “Studying John Bercaw’s work with Gretchen and our students was fun and intellectually stimulating. Our group had a great visit with John in April and we learned a great deal. All of the comps group presentations and visitors were top-notch this year.” In the Spring Term, Marion taught Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 351) and Laboratory in Advanced Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 352). She says “although it has been a very busy year, it has been great to get back into the classroom to work with Carleton students.”

During the past year, Marion has continued to work on several projects with her colleague, Henry Rzepa from Imperial College, London. Marion and Henry have been examining the fluxional processes that exchange apical and equatorial atoms in a variety of molecules. What began as a simple project to animate a Berry Pseudorotation, launched into several projects; the first focused on the three different types of motions observed in the fluxional processes in small XYn molecules and a second on the less well known fluxional processes in square pyramidal XY5 compounds. Marion and Henry are now working on a third project to examine the fluxional motions that racemize chiral molecules. This year, four papers were published on their work; three in the Journal of Chemical Education and one in Inorganic Chemistry. All of the papers were either associated with Web sites or enhanced Web Objects that they constructed to animate their computational findings. Marion also presented three talks on this research: One at the Gordon Conference on Visualization in Science and Engineering in Oxford, UK, in July 2005, one to a general faculty audience in the Carleton Headley House Series in October, and one as a Carleton Chemistry Department seminar to share her work with colleagues and students.

Joseph W. Chihade,
2003-, Assistant Professor. B.A., Oberlin College; M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University.

Joe started off the year traveling to the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Washington, D.C., in August with three students, Andy Nieuwkoop (’06), Amy Gauger (’07), and Ali Khaki (’07). The students did a marvelous job presenting their research and managed to sneak in some time visiting national monuments (which are quite “spooky” at midnight) in between learning about some very exciting chemistry at the meeting.

Teaching this year started with the off-cycle section of Chem 234, Organic Chemistry II, in the fall – a great group of 17 students who smiled politely through the accordion rendition of “That what Aldol’s about” (to the tune of Hokey Pokey). (Joe’s in the market for a good accordion teacher…) In the Winter Term, Joe taught Chem 233, Organic Chemistry I, and joined Dave Alberg in directing the mega-comps group (11 students) examining the work of Professor Carolyn Bertozzi from UC Berkeley. The group learned about glycobiology, metabolic engineering, and picked up some organic chemistry too. Joe also advised two individual comps this year: Stephanie Contag (’06) examined how folding of the insulin peptide affects its interaction with receptors, while Jayme Dahlin (’06) combined his seemingly orthogonal interests in sports and computational chemistry in a paper about designer steroids. Jayme spent a lot of time consulting with Emeritus Professor Chuck Carlin and ended up proposing syntheses of some new steroids that, at least on the computer, would bind well to the androgen receptor. Hopefully these won’t end up in the news anytime soon!

In the Spring Term, Joe taught the ever-expanding Chem 320, Biological Chemistry, course to 41 junior and senior chemistry and biology majors. This year’s version of the course included new material on bioinformatics and structure determination, as well as a sharper focus on mechanistic enzymology. The associated Chem 321 lab course had 20 students, who characterized site-directed mutants of E. coli cystathionine-b-lyase that had been designed by last year’s class and made several new mutants that will be looked at next year.

One of the highlights of Joe’s year was finding out in February that his grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health had been funded. This grant will keep Joe’s research on the peculiar RNA specificity of mitochondrial alanyl-tRNA synthetases running for the next three years. The money is being spent this summer by two research students: Ali Khaki (who is returning to the lab) and Thayne Dickey, both ’07. Another highlight this year was the opportunity to travel to Bangalore, India, to present a talk at the 21st International tRNA Workshop. This was Joe’s first trip to India, and it was fascinating! He has a few travel tips, though. First, get your visa as far in advance as possible and, second, eat vegetarian while you’re there. Joe’s convinced that this is how he managed to avoid the “Bombay belly” that affected most of the other conference-goers.

Meanwhile, Joe’s children, Margo (3) and Sofia (1), continue to be in their adorable phases, which allows them to get just about anything they want out of their Dad.

William C. Child, Jr.
, 1956-1990; Emeritus Professor, 1990-. B.A., Oberlin College; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin.

With one exception, the pattern of the past year continued along familiar lines. Bill co-taught a course entitled “Program Music” during the fall term of the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium and continued to serve on its Board. He again was a member and personnel manager of the St. Paul Civic Symphony and participated in several other ensembles. The big change was a move from Nancy’s and his residence of 45 years to Village on the Cannon, a new condominium complex in downtown Northfield. The pains of downsizing are compensated by the satisfaction of a simpler lifestyle and freedom from maintenance of house and yard.

Steven M. Drew
, 1991-, Professor. B.A., St. John’s University; Ph.D., University of Colorado.

Steve’s teaching duties included both the Fall and Spring Term offerings of Chemistry 230, “Equilibrium and Analysis,” this year due to Deborah Gross’ yearlong sabbatical. In the winter Steve taught his lab course on computers and electronics in chemical instrumentation to seven students. He also supervised a comps group with the help of Dani Kohen on organic electronics. Seven seniors worked with Steve and Dani studying the work of Dan Frisbie (’89), a professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota, and Tobin Marks, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University. The students worked together swimmingly and advanced to a high level of understanding of carbon-based electronic devices.

This past summer Steve continued to work on his American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund proposal, “The Synthesis and Characterization of Chiral Platinum(II) Extended Linear Chain Materials and Their Potential Application as Gas Sensing Transducers.” Aaron Lackner (’06) and Andrew Young (’06) joined Steve for the summer to work on the synthesis and characterization of some chiral extended linear chain solid-state materials based on platinum square planar metal-ligand complexes. These materials are of interest to Steve because they are highly colored and undergo significant electronic change in the presence of solvent vapors thus altering the material’s UV-visible absorption and fluorescence characteristics. Aaron and Andrew made significant progress during the past summer and were able to synthesize several vapochromic chiral platinum materials, two of which appear to be enantiomerically selective in their solid-state fluorescence response to chiral solvent vapors. Aaron and Andrew traveled to Atlanta in March to present their results at the ACS meeting. Additional experiments are planned this summer with two new student researchers: Ian Hill (’07) and Yuichiro Takeshita (’08). Ian and Yui are already busy learning many new synthetic techniques and life lessons including the hazards of working with stinky isonitrile ligands.

Other professional activities have kept Steve busy the past year. Steve reviewed two American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund proposals. In addition, he reviewed a Journal of Chemical Education manuscript and a proposal for a major revision to a prominent advanced general chemistry textbook. At the college Steve was on too many committees this year serving as a member of the Dean of the College Search Committee, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, the Advisory Committee on Health Professions Programs, the Emergency Preparedness Committee, and the Chair of the Academic Standing Committee. One of Steve’s goals for next year is to wean the college off of its need to place him on multiple committees in preparation for a sabbatical.

Tricia A. Ferrett
, 1990-, Professor. B.A., Grinnell College; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.

During Fall Term, Trish taught an interdisciplinary first-year seminar on abrupt changes in complex natural and human networks, crossing between science and social science. Students studied abrupt climate change and changes of the human mind for individuals, groups, and scientific communities. This seminar was linked to one taught by Prof. Larry Wichlinski (psychology) under the common theme of “Paradigm Shifts” in science. Trish also did a scholarly study of student learning in these seminars (see Carnegie project below). During Winter Term, Trish supervised two comps students on long papers. Sinele Tsabedze (’06) studied the effects of crowded cell environments on protein folding and aggregation. Alice Agyiri (’06) got distinction for her paper on the design of first and second generation protease inhibitor drugs for HIV-1 used for AIDS treatment.

Trish served as associate department chair and helped hire alum Alex Barron (’00), who will teach in chemistry, biology, and ENTS in 2006-2007. She also served on the Faculty Affairs Committee, the Writing Advisory Committee, and the Critical Thinking Team for Carleton’s Teagle grant on assessment. Trish worked half time administering Carleton’s fifth Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) grant and the Carleton Interdisciplinary Science and Math Initiative (CISMI). She is grateful to CISMI Co-Director, Susan Singer (biology), for her stellar work and partnership this year.

A few CISMI and HHMI highlights are in order. The HHMI/CISMI Advisory Board was established and now meets regularly to plan collectively for the future in the sciences. Faculty/staff workshops and events were held this year, including workshops on Carleton’s Energy Future (and problem-based learning) and Interdisciplinary Computational Modeling. The first offering of the new Science Scholars Workshop was held in December 2005 for 10 students. Lead instructors Dani Kohen (chemistry) and Bereket Haileab (geology) worked with students on problem solving and mentoring. Numerous other science and math faculty contributed to this new program by sponsoring internships, lunch talks, dinners in their homes, and more. This program is the first of what will become a wider programmatic effort to broaden access to science to more students at Carleton. Trish also helped organize other events, and she administered student stipends for summer student-faculty research and faculty course development. She made presentations this year on CISMI at the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Council, Carleton’s Visuality Working Group, and at June 2006 Reunion. The spring ended with great news that our partnership with college fundraisers resulted in a $2 million endowment to the sciences for student-faculty research from the Towsley Foundation. Finally, we are beginning a year-long planning process for the sciences which will culminate, at the very least, in our sixth proposal to HHMI.

On the scholarship side, Trish enjoyed her year-long affiliation with the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a 2005 Carnegie Scholar. With her project partner, Joanne Stewart (chemistry, Hope College), she did research on integrative and interdisciplinary student learning in her fall seminar on abrupt change (above). Trish enjoyed three residencies at the foundation in Palo Alto, CA, totaling to over three weeks. She worked closely with 21 scholars and the Carnegie staff. This has been the most satisfying collaborative and scholarly experience of her entire career. Trish is bringing to a close one chapter of her new research – a project that will help us understand how pre-disciplinary students engage in interdisciplinary and integrative thinking and practices.

Trish enjoyed a bit more professional travel this year. In addition to three California trips for Carnegie residencies, she attended the second annual conference of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Vancouver, B.C., in October. She traveled to Holland, MI, to work with Carnegie partner Joanne Stewart for several days in December. She was on a consulting team in April for Reed College, helping to evaluate an effort to launch a new program in environmental studies. She also attended several local conferences (at St. Olaf and Macalester Colleges) associated with Carleton’s consortial Teagle grant. In fall 2005, she presented on a panel at a Pew Midstates Consortium conference on interdisciplinary science education.

Trish continues to spend most of her time with Adam (age 4), Alex (age 3), and her husband Tom. Trish took family trips to the North Shore of Lake Superior, Kansas City, and Green Bay, WI. She also had a week-long adventure with friend Sandra near Tulum, Mexico, where they stayed in a funky beach cabana while enjoying hiking, Mayan ruins, swimming, yoga, massage, the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, and great food.

James E. Finholt
, 1960-2001; William H. Laird Professor of Chemistry and the Liberal Arts, Emeritus, 2001-. B.A., St. Olaf College; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.

Life goes on in a calm and steady pace. Walking, biking, gardening, reading, and an occasional bridge game are all part of daily life. Jim’s tulip crop was excellent, and he has yet to have a visit from any moles. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis has a brand new building, and Jim and Bev look forward to seeing their first plays in this new setting. Friday morning concerts given by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra have also added spice to life.

Jim and Bev frequently travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to be with their family and watch their grandsons grow and develop. Last year they made the trip by plane, by car, and by train. On one trip they used the car ferry service across Lake Michigan.

Professional activities have included reviewing a number of journal manuscripts and conducting some chemistry activities with church groups. Jim took a course in astronomy as part of the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium program. He continues to enjoy teaching computer courses for senior citizens. He finds that teaching always involves learning by both student and instructor, and that is an important part of the fun of teaching anything.

It is a treat to hear from former students. Jim’s email address is still so send a message when you have a minute or two.

Deborah S. Gross
, 1998-, Associate Professor. B.A., Haverford College; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.

I have had a really interesting year, in many ways. This year marked my first sabbatical leave, which I am still enjoying as I write this from my temporary office at the University of Minnesota. After a great summer in 2005, working with Melanie Yuen (’06), Katie Barton (’07), and John Choiniere (’07) in my research lab, I had the luxury of not preparing for classes, but instead preparing to ship my research instrument (an Aerosol Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer, named “Gromit”) and a lot of equipment to Switzerland. I learned more than I wanted to about the requirements for the types of wood used for shipping crates that are sent overseas and then returned to the U.S.

In mid-September, I left for a four-month stay at the Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), in Villigen Switzerland. Ironically, my Swiss husband Markus was only able to come for a visit at the beginning and once later on during my stay, as his employer doesn’t offer sabbaticals. My Swiss-German language skills definitely improved, but since the lab I worked in had approximately 18 countries represented by the approximately 30 people who worked there, English turned out to be more useful. Also, I managed to have a longer commute to work than my usual Saint Paul to Northfield journey, as I lived in Zürich during my stay. This meant a 1.5 hour journey via trolley-bus, tram, train, another train, and then a bus, each way. But since it was Switzerland, every connection worked, and everything was on time, always!

While I was in Switzerland, I was involved in two major experiments. The first was a series of measurements at the PSI smog chamber, which is a 27-m3 teflon bag surrounded by lights that simulate the solar spectrum. Experiments at the smog chamber involve introducing gaseous species that are representative of those found in the atmosphere, turning on the lights, and watching particles form and evolve. This is the most controlled experiment one can imagine in atmospheric chemistry! An area of interest for the group at PSI is the formation of oligomeric species in the particles, and it turned out that my instrument was able to detect these species on the particles, in real time as they formed! It was quite exciting, as well as unexpected, since the ions formed had masses well above what I had thought was the upper limit of my instrument. Some of the experiments that we carried out were part of the MS-CHAOS (Mass Spectrometers for the Chemical Analysis of Organic Substances) campaign, which had eight mass spectrometers at the chamber measuring the same particles! We published the first paper on my results as an Accelerated Article in Analytical Chemistry in April 2006. More publications are in the works, and I had the chance to present the work in a poster at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) national meeting in Seattle, in May.

The second experiment was a field measurement in southern Switzerland, as part of an ongoing measurement campaign at PSI, called AEROWOOD. The goal of this campaign is to understand the contributions of woodsmoke and traffic to ambient air pollution. The portion of AEROWOOD that I participated in took place in Roveredo, a small village in the Italian speaking part of the country. The village is bisected by a small freeway, and most of the houses are heated with wood stoves, and thus spew out a lot of smoke. The valley is also very narrow and very steep, so the air is typically trapped by thermal inversions. Really, a perfect measurement site! We measured at Roveredo for three weeks, and ate LOTS of pasta.

In the end of November, I was considered an honorary European and invited to participate in the Workshop on European On-line Particle Mass Spectrometry, held at the European Union’s Joint Research Center in Ispra, Italy. There I presented a talk about work I am doing at Carleton with David Musicant, in the Computer Science Department (see below).

I returned from Switzerland at the end of January, and shipped my instrument directly to the Particle Technology Laboratory in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, for phase two of my sabbatical. As of this writing, I am working in Professor Peter McMurry’s lab, a group with which I have collaborated for years. In addition to some studies of the ambient air in Minneapolis, we have also made measurements of the emissions from a woodstove and a corn stove, both at Woodland Stoves and Fireplaces, a store with very helpful staff who let us bring in about $500K worth of equipment for a week, drill holes into their chimneys, and measure whatever we wanted. They were great. More experiments are planned for summer 2006, including measurement of emissions from meat cooking (I hope to get at least one veggie-burger into the mix!) as well as emissions from an engine burning biodiesel fuel.

There is also a trip to Switzerland for three weeks more of experiments in June, some conferences, and some other research travel. I have enjoyed continuing to work with my research students this year, although we met less frequently and often communicated only by email. I have also continued my participation in a research project with David Musicant, a computer scientist at Carleton, and Jamie Schauer, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, based around developing data mining tools for atmospheric data (and development of an application called ENCHILADA). And now, of course, I have to start to think about teaching again next year. So much for that sabbatical goal of learning to do less…. I have had a terrific and very productive time focusing on research this year, but I will be happy to be interacting with students more regularly again next year.

Gretchen E. Hofmeister
, 2002-, Associate Professor. B.A., Carleton College; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.

In 2005-2006 I again taught Organic II in the winter & spring and Advanced Lab III (co-taught with Dave Alberg) in the spring. Fall Term, I taught Organic III for the first time. I had the luxury of a small Organic III class, which meant that I ran the course as a literature-driven, discussion-based class. We actually were able to hold a number of class meetings outside, as we had a beautiful fall in Minnesota! The highlights of this course were working with fabulous students and reading fascinating papers, both old and new. Marion Cass and I co-led a comps group concerning the research of John Bercaw at Caltech. I updated my knowledge of the detailed mechanism of olefin polymerization in the process, which was great fun. I hope to apply some of the strategies from Bercaw’s studies to my own research.

My group continued to make good progress in research over the past year, and I enjoyed working with Sarah Russell (’06), Andrew Ullman (’06), and Bill Mitchell (’08). The goal of our research is to develop new metal-based reagents that will selectively control the outcome of organic transformations or polymerization reactions, similarly to how biological enzymes selectively control the transformation of biological metabolites or the synthesis of biological polymers. This is the final summer of my ACS PRF grant concerning the preparation of new bis- and tris-phenols for coordinating metals such as titanium and aluminum. We are exploring the catalytic role of the metal complexes in the preparation of poly(lactic acid), a biodegradable polymer, and in enantioselective carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions.

Sarah Russell, Aistis Tumas (’05), Bill Mitchell, and Karen Gibbins (’05) are co-authors of a paper that was published in Macromolecules in November 2005, concerning the titanium(IV) trisphenolate initiated polymerization of lactide to produce poly(lactic acid). Bill is continuing to work on this project for a second summer, along with a new student, Ellen Valkevich (’07). Bill’s goal is to determine the structure of the active catalyst, while Ellen will do kinetic studies to determine the order of the reaction with respect to titanium.

Previously, Charlie Weiss (’05) succeeded in preparing enantiomerically pure trisphenol; therefore, Andrew Ullman (’06) was in a position to do preliminary investigations into whether it is an enantioselective catalyst in titanium(IV) isopropoxide mediated additions of diethyl zinc to aldehydes. Although we did not observe good enantioselectivity, Andrew did outstanding work, and I am now considering what steps to take next on this project.

In late June we enjoyed a beautiful canoe trip on the Cannon River with our summer research students. It was an ideal day – in the high 70s and sunny – and it was a pleasure to better get to know our rising junior and senior majors. As usual, this is an interesting and fun-loving bunch, so it should be no surprise that river frisbee, rope swinging into the river, and canoe swamping were some of the highlights of the trip.

William E. Hollingsworth
, 1986-, Professor. B.S., B.A., University of Texas, Austin; M.S., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley.

Will taught Chem 344 (Quantum Chemistry) and Advanced Lab I (with Marion) in the fall. Then he took off for the rest of the year to teach at Macalester College under the Mellon exchange program. His major responsibility was co-teaching the equivalent p-chem course (with lab) with Tom Varberg. But he also hung out with the environmental studies group and gave lectures to the environmen­tal sciences class on global atmos­pheric change. It was fun to be immersed in the running of a not dissimilar institution and to learn about the many common experiences and issues that we share. He appreciates Tom and the rest of their department for being made to feel so much at home.

While not teaching, he was involved in workshops and activities at several institutions: workshops on interdisciplinary modeling, campus energy use, and writing about numbers at Carleton, a workshop on interdisciplinary science teaching at St. Olaf, serving as a judge for presentations at the Minnesota Academy of Sciences, and participating in retreats for long-term planning for the environ­mental studies programs at both Carleton and Macalester.

While Will continues to prepare for exploring the near-UV fragmen­ta­tion patterns of gas-phase dimetal decacarbonyls in order to see how the wavelength-dependent gas-phase fragmentation patterns compare to those reported from solution-photolysis work, he is using this summer to pursue a few pedagogy projects supported by some grants at Carleton. The FIPSE project will look at ways to help students deal with the abstract­ness and mathematical aspects of quantum mechanics by developing a few writing activities. Part study aid, and part complementary learning tool, these informal writing assignments will also support the writing across the curriculum initiative on campus. The other project, supported by Hughes, will develop a series of modeling exercises to be used in introductory chemistry (and eventually other courses being developed) to gain a better understanding of the principles of kinetics. Several softwares (e.g., Stella and Vensim) can program the difficult math of complicated kinetic systems in a visually intuitive environment and so determine how the system behaves in time as important factors are changed.

Julie Karg
, 1988-, Chemistry Technician. B.S., Mankato State University.

This past year, Julie continued to manage the chemistry stockroom – preparing laboratory experiments, supervising student workers, and providing assistance to laboratory and research classrooms. Julie worked with professors to develop and prepare new laboratory exercises for their courses and upgrade previously performed experiments. She improved guidelines and signage designed to assist professors, lab assistants, and students and generated improvements that allowed the lab floor to run more smoothly and efficiently. Julie spent winter break converting the Chemistry Department’s website to the Reason format with Steve Drew and continued to manage the electronic versions of the Chemistry Department’s “Annual Report” and weekly newsletter, “The Weekly Beaker.”

Daniela Kohen
, 2002-, Assistant Professor. B.A., Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Ph.D., University of Notre Dame.

Another good year has gone by for Dani. It was a very intense year, full of learning and fun times both at work and at home.

At work, the year started with a Fall Term dedicated to research. Dani’s group’s research focuses on using atomistic simulations to understand and characterize at the molecular level how small gas molecules interact with pure CO2 in the pores of molecular sieves, and how this interaction changes in the presence of other gases present in the atmosphere. The goal of these studies is to provide a basic understanding of the processes that underlie the use of molecular sieves as filters to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Last summer, Dani and three students, Disan Davis (’06), Jayme Dahlin (’06), and Dorissa Zemirah (’06), did research together. They all continued their research through the year, and last fall Dani was able to put some of their work in perspective. This summer, Jayme is continuing to do computational work in Dani’s group and has been joined by David Selassie (’09) and Felix Amankona-Diawuo (’08). Research in Dani’s group is progressing nicely, and Dani and her group are looking forward to continuing a productive summer packed with ups and downs – doing research is emotionally, not only intellectually, demanding – but full also of learning and discovery. Dani is particularly excited because next year she will be able to spend most of the Fall and Winter Terms continuing her research. The collaboration Dani has established with her research students at Carleton has been quite productive and has generated results that need to be put in perspective and verified. These terms off from teaching will allow Dani to do this, to reflect on future directions, and to develop the tools she and future research students will need to further their investigations.

In the Winter Term Steve Drew and Dani co-supervised a small, motivated, and fun “comps” group. The group studied the work of Tobin Marks (Northwestern University) on organic electronics. She also taught Principles of Chemistry (Chem 123) in the Winter and Spring Terms. As in the previous years, she loved teaching these classes and interacting with the students. What a delight! In the Spring Term her offering of Chem 123 was geared to students that wished to further develop their general analytical and critical thinking skills. This smaller section had additional class meetings for problem solving and review and was called “Chemistry 123 with problem solving.” It was appropriate for students who liked to have more scheduled time to work with a faculty member on developing their scientific reasoning skills and understanding of the foundations of chemistry. It was a great class to teach, and Dani thinks – and hopes – it was a good experience for the students too. Next year Dani will teach “Chemistry 123 with problem solving” again, and she is looking forward to another great term sharing intro chemistry with a group of motivated students!

In July of last year, Dani presented a poster on her group’s work at a Foundations of Molecular Modeling and Simulations Conference. She met many new people that share her research interests. The seventh Midwest Undergraduate Conference in Computational Chemistry (MU3C) is scheduled for the end of this July and will be held at Iowa State University. The MU3C meetings are usually very successful at providing undergraduates doing research in computational chemistry (a small field) with an opportunity to present their work to others who have a similar research background and creating an intellectual “support” group, so Dani and her group are looking forward to the trip.

Life at home, like at Carleton, continues to be a source of pleasures and challenges. Margo (almost 4 years old) and Sofia (almost 2 years old) keep Dani and Joe Chihade entertained and busy, and constantly remind her of how much there is to see and to do, and also remind her to laugh in every single moment.

All in all, another exciting year has gone by. Dani is definitely looking forward to another year like this at Carleton.

Brian T. Mars
, 1983-, Laboratory Manager. B.A., California State University, Chico; M.Th., Andersonville Theological Seminary.

It was a very routine year for the lab manager. Normal tasks were ordering supplies, preparing lab exercises, and maintaining instruments.

The Shimadzu GC/MS was due for a new turbo-pump so the manufacturer was brought in to do the job.

The Nicolet 210 FTIR was retired when it could no longer establish a centerburst reference and the manufacturer ceased to support it because of its age. The solid sample accessories were highly desired for some projects, especially the ATR cell holder. Brian made up some drawings, and Warren Ringlien fabricated a mount for this accessory so that it fit the other FTIR spectrometers.

Many battles were fought with the Shimadzu HPLC to try to get the computer to communicate with it. The computer seemed to lose the operating files. The system is not totally perfect yet and the work continues, but the problem is manageable.

Jerry R. Mohrig
, 1967-2003; Herman and Gertrude Mosier Stark Professor of the Natural Sciences, Emeritus, 2003-. B.S., University of Michigan; Ph.D., University of Colorado.

Jerry’s second full year in retirement was filled with writing and travel. The major writing project was a new edition of his lab text, Techniques in Organic Chemistry, which was published by W. H. Freeman in January. It was good to have it out the door. Last August Jerry was the co-organizer of a workshop at the University of California, Irvine, on teaching guided-inquiry organic chemistry labs. The workshop prompted Jerry to write an article for the Journal of Chemical Education, “On the Successful Use of Inquiry-Driven Experiments in the Organic Chemistry Lab,” which has been accepted for publication.

Last July Jerry served as a consultant to the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society at a meeting in Utah on crafting more flexibility into the ACS guidelines for undergraduate chemical education. In September he visited the University of Evansville in Indiana as a consultant for Project Kaleidoscope.

Adrienne and Jerry spent the month of March traveling through the southeastern United States, in part attending two Elderhostels, one in Charleston, South Carolina, and the other in the barrier islands of Georgia. The flowers were magnificent. They spent ten days visiting the garden spots of southern Utah early last summer and also enjoyed their condominium in northern Minnesota. Preparing for moving into a Northfield condominium has occupied a fair amount of time.

Jerry continues as a member of the selection committee for the James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry and as a member of the Board of Deacons and Congregational Care Council at the First United Church of Christ, Northfield.

Jane M. Owens
, 2005-2006, Visiting Assistant Professor. B.S., William Smith College; Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Jane joined the Chemistry Department in the fall after teaching at Wabash College for a year. She taught Chemistry 123, Principles of Chemistry, during Fall and Spring Terms. In the winter she taught Chemistry 343, Chemical Thermodynamics, and co-taught Chemistry 305, Advanced Laboratory II, with Marion Cass. Jane left Carleton in June for a tenure-track position at Sweet Briar College.

Richard W. Ramette
, 1954-1990; Laurence M. Gould Professor of the Natural Sciences, Emeritus, 1990-. B.A., Wesleyan University; Ph.D., University of Minnesota.

No special travel for Lee and Dick this year, but Dick is reactivating rusty fly-fishing skills this summer at The Cabin. Also, his old files yielded a couple of inspirations for articles that have been published.

Wendy J. Zimmerman
, 1970-, Administrative Assistant.

Assisting Wendy in the office again this year was Andrew Schrag. Andy worked for the department for three years and graduated this year. Wendy continues to be the editor of the Annual Report and The Weekly Beaker, the department’s weekly newsletter.


Cass, M. E.; Rzepa, H. S.; Rzepa, D. R.; Williams, C. K., “The Use of the Free, Open-Source Program Jmol to Generate an Interactive Web Site to Teach Molecular Symmetry,” Journal of Chemical Education, 2005, 82, 1736-1740.

Cass, M. E.; Rzepa, H. S.; Rzepa, D. R.; Williams, C. K., “An Animated/Interactive Overview of Molecular Symmetry,” Webware submission to the Journal of Chemical Education, Online, 2005, 82, 1742-1743.

Cass, M. E.; Hii, K. K.; Rzepa, H. S., “Mechanisms that Interchange Axial and Equatorial Atoms in Fluxional Processes: Illustration of the Berry Pseudorotation, the Turnstile and the Lever Mechanisms via Animation of Transition State Normal Vibrational Modes,” Journal of Chemical Education, 2006, 83, 336.

Rzepa, H. S.; Cass, M. E., “A Computational Study of the Nondissociative Mechanisms that Interchange Apical and Equatorial Atoms in Square Pyramidal Molecules,” Inorganic Chemistry, 2006, 45, 3958-3963 and ASAP Article 10.1021/ic0519988 S0020-1669(05)01998-1, Web Release Date: April 20, 2006.

Gross, D. S.; Gälli, M. E.; Kalberer, M.; Prevot, A. S. H.; Dommen, J.; Alfarra, M. R.; Duplissy, J.; Gaeggeler, K.; Gascho, A.; Metzger, A.; Baltensperger, U., “Real Time Measurement Of Oligomeric Species In Secondary Organic Aerosol With The Aerosol Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer,” Analytical Chemistry, 2006, 78, 2130.

Russell, S. K.; Gamble, C. L.; Gibbins, K. J.; Juhl, K. C. S.; Mitchell, W. S., III; Tumas, A. J.; Hofmeister, G. E., “Stereoselective Controlled Polymerization of D,L-Lactide with [Ti(trisphenolate)O-i-Pr]2 Initiators,” Macromolecules, 2005, 38, 10336-10340.

Mohrig, J. R.; Hammond, C. N.; Schatz, P. F., Techniques in Organic Chemistry, 2nd ed., W. H. Freeman, 2006, 389 pages.

Ramette, R. W.; Haworth, D. K., “What Is Your Mental Picture of Ordinary Air?” Journal of Chemical Education, 2006, 83, 834-837.

Ramette, R. W. “A Perplexing Demonstration,” The Demoist, 2006, 2, Issue 1.

Back to Annual Report For 2005-2006 Academic Year