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Volume 16 Number 24

April 11, 2012

From the Chair

Welcome from the faculty, staff, and chemistry majors of the classes of 2012 and 2013 to the 26 new chemistry majors in the class of 2014!  Please feel free to join us for our weekly seminars, Journal Club meetings, Periodic Table, and the spring picnic in May.  You will now receive the “Weekly Beaker” in your email box informing you of these events, career and summer opportunities, and more.  You will be assigned a major advisor soon.  We look forward to the “quality time” we will spend with you over the next two years in courses and labs!

The new majors are:

Bakker-Arkema, Julia G. Kosanovich, Alex J.
Bostrom, Molly E. Lee, Sookin
Buckley, Aaron D. Lin, Jie
Cho, Jang W. Lozier, Edward W.
Christensen, Elijah Mae C. Lynch, Conor C.
Cragg, Tyler E. Morrill, Lucas A.
Dou, Dou Richards, Kate W.
Erickson, Scott L. Rosen, Loren A.
Fairfax, Emily J. Southgate, Emma H.
Forster, Jenny G. Taitt, Brandon J.
Greene, Emily S. Wells, Brian S.
Greenwald, Julia E. Whitaker, Reid M.
Johnson, Kevin L. Yong, Raymond T.

Seminar Announcement

Friday, April 13, 2012
3:30 p.m.
Olin 04

Paul J. Chirik
Princeton University

Modern Alchemy:  The Chemistry of Base Metal Catalysis

Transition metal catalyzed reactions have revolutionized the art of chemical synthesis.  Applications range from the selective synthesis of single enantiomer drugs to the bulk production of the plastic coatings on your mobile phone.  In most cases, these reactions rely on second and third row metals such as Pt, Pd, Rh, and Ir, which are expensive and toxic.  My lecture will focus on developing replacing these metals more environmentally benign and inexpensive iron and cobalt compounds.  Our strategy has focused on so-called “redox-active ligands” – those that undergo reversible electron transfer with the metal.  This concept is used to suppress the radical chemistry of the base metals and “transmute” the electronic structure of the first row ions into those more familiar with the heavy metals.  Applications such as industrial hydrosilylation, asymmetric olefin hydrogenation and unique [2p + 2p] cycloadditions will be presented.

Journal Club Meets This Week

Journal Club meets this Thursday at noon in Mudd 171 to have lunch and discuss a paper relating to this week’s seminar.  Go to the following for information about what to read beforehand:

Chemistry Group Comps Presentation

Exploding Bacteria using Gold Nanorods

Owen Demke, Chelsea Modlin, James Morrissey, Puja Patel, Alison Smyth, Diane Walters, and Alfred Yeung

Monday, April 16, 2012
7:30 p.m.
Olin 149

Treatment of diseases tied to multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria presents a major challenge in public health care and requires novel therapeutics.  Cathy Murphy’s research group (U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) has shown how to combat MDR bacteria using the unique optical, physical, and chemical properties of gold nanorods.  We will discuss the origin of the optical properties, Murphy’s revolutionary synthesis techniques, and the surface reactivity of gold nanorods in the context of this problem.  An understanding of these key features of gold nanorods will highlight their versatility in not only attacking MDR bacteria, but in other applications such as biological imaging and drug delivery.

Great Lakes STEM Scholarships

Students majoring in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) disciplines may be eligible to receive $2,500 scholarships under the new Great Lakes National Scholarship Program.  Up to 750 scholarships totaling $1.875 million will be awarded to new and continuing students who qualify.  To be eligible, a student must:

  • Be enrolled full-time with a major in a STEM discipline at a public or private two- or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school.
  • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Demonstrate financial need.

Scholarship applications will be accepted through May 11, 2012, or until 20,000 applications have been received.  Finalists will be notified by June 1, 2012.  For more information, visit

Van Vleck Physics Lecture
University of Minnesota

Global energy needs are a major concern for our future.  World-renowned MIT Professor Mildred Dresselhaus offers hope for the world energy outlook in her lecture “The Promise of Nanomaterials for Thermoelectric Applications” at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at the University of Minnesota Tate Laboratory of Physics, Room 150, 116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis.  The lecture is hosted by the School of Physics and Astronomy in the University’s College of Science and Engineering as part of the annual Van Vleck Lecture Series.

Dresselhaus’s lecture will describe broad challenges of materials physics research and the specific promise of the nanomaterials that she studies.  She will recount recent research breakthroughs with nanocomposite materials that demonstrate significant enhancement in thermoelectric performance.  She will also describe the promise of future progress based on current knowledge and the deeper scientific understanding that will come from continued research.

The lecture is free and open to the public.  The lecture will also be streamed live at  You may view the abstract here:

Looking for employment?

Smith Engineering is looking for a Technical Sales Associate.  This is a full-time position for an energetic, self-directed, scientifically inclined candidate with an interest in solving problems for others.  The Technical Sales Associate must be able to articulate technology and product positioning.  Smith Engineering is a Chaska, MN, based water treatment equipment manufacturer that supplies a long list of Fortune 500 companies with their purified water needs.  They are looking for the right candidate to add to the Distribution and Customer Support Sales Team.  This is a direct sales position.

Responsibilities:  Responsible for ongoing sales and service support.  Responsible for development of relationships with new and existing customers.  Able to convey customer requirements to product development teams.  Qualifications:  A background in microbiology would be ideal.  Biology, life sciences, and/or engineering backgrounds are also attractive.  The perfect candidate has an understanding of the laboratory environment, but desires the freedom, challenges and earnings potential offered by direct sales of a technical nature.  Must be able to communicate professionally verbally and in written responses.

Smith will offer a competitive starting salary with commission/bonus plan.  Business expenses will be paid.  Their benefits package is exceptional.  If interested, review their website at  If still interested, forward a resume to with “posting” in the subject line.