Ozark Local Section


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TV Chemistry Personality, Lee Marek, to Present at Missouri State

Posted by Matthew R. Siebert on March 21, 2017 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (1)

Lee Marek will deliver what is sure to be an interesting and engaging lecture "25 Years of Science on the Late Show with David Letterman, Part 1" to the Ozark local section of the American Chemical Society on Thursday, April 13 at 6:00 p.m. in Temple Hall 002. Join us for light refreshments at 5:30 PM.

From Lee: The audience for the David Letterman show is not unlike a classroom full of high school students or college freshman! It's sitting there daring you to be interesting! One way to capture attention is to do demonstrations that are exocharmic [to radiate charm-- make you want to watch] and to be a bit weird/eccentric. Good teaching is part knowledge, part preparation and part theater and so is doing science on THE LATE SHOW. More important you need a frame of mind somewhat off center to survive doing chemistry on national TV or for a class of 440 as I had this fall. As Robert Maynard Hutchins said, "My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young & inflame their intellects." I embrace Hutchins’ idea- sometimes literally both in my classroom, in science programs and the David Letterman Show! I use what is called the "Phenomenological" approach to teaching science -- introducing a topic with a demonstration or lab so that students have something concrete on which to focus. I use demonstrations as exocharmic motivators to captivate student interest and to focus on the day's topic. To influence high school kids, college freshman, or the general public like the Letterman show audience, you need "presence", to capture their attention. We live in a world of the 15-second commercial, internet, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and the National Enquirer. As teaching professionals we need to compete, to show the people that there is something interesting and important in learning, something about which "inquiring minds really do want to know." It boils down to "Education is not in the filling of a pail, but in the lighting of a fire" William Butler Yeats. I will present a number of video clips from the 35 Letterman shows I have been on in the last 25 years- including one used on his 10th anniversary show and one that was up for an Emmy award. These demos will range from the 8 foot ball of fire shooting across the stage, to the Dyn-o-might soap. I will describe the time I dissolved the set, discuss the 1000 pounds of thermite demo [never done] and show the time the 500 pounds of Oobleck got lose. There will be a clip of the time I almost took out Bozo on WGN! If time allows, I will show some of the other work I did with WTTW, FOX, Inside Edition and U.K. TV. I will also do a few of the simple demos with the audience. My web site has some demos and more information. http://www2.chem.uic.edu/marek/

"Environmental Forensics or CSI without the Violence?" Lecture February 28th at Missouri State University

Posted by Matthew R. Siebert on February 21, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Join us as R. Paul Philp, Emeritus Professor, School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, discusses environmental forensics - a field that has seen a rapid evolution over the past couple of decades.

The lecture will take place February 28, 2017, at 6:00 PM in Meyer Library room 101.

There is an almost unlimited number of environmental cases where a pollutant (pollutants) has been released into the environment causing numerous problems. However the issues then becomes determination of the nature of the product, who was responsible for its release, and is it going away or degrading? In this presentation we will be primarily concerned with discussing the origin and fate of organic pollutants in the environment and the techniques that can be used to address the questions listed above. There is a broad range of organic pollutants commonly encountered in the environment ranging from gasoline additives (MTBE), chlorinated solvents (PCE and TCE), to more complex mixtures such as crude oils or refined hydrocarbon products such as gasoline. These pollutants may be encountered in the soil, water or air and the approaches used to monitor the compounds and evaluate their origin are slightly different in each situation.

The purpose of the first part of this presentation will be to provide examples of the various sophisticated analytical techniques that are available to detect, and fingerprint, these compounds in the environment and relate them with their suspected source(s). The second part of the talk will focus more specifically on utilization of CSI (compound specific isotopes) in these environmental issues. Although CSI has played a role in many episodes of CSI we are not discussing the TV series here but rather compound specific isotopes. Many of the traditional techniques for correlating pollutants with their suspected sources are fine for mixtures but in the situation where you might have a single component contaminant they are of little use. Enter the technique of CSI about two decades ago and which has continued to grow exponentially in applications to environmental cases and in many other areas.

In this presentation examples will be discussed where stable isotopes have been applied to environmental issues. In addition, and if time permits, examples of where isotopes have been used in other areas will also be described including drug testing, food adulteration, diet studies and currency forgeries.

R. Paul Philp received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Sydney (Australia) in 1972 and a D.Sc. degree from the same University in 1998. He then spent one and a half years as a post-doctoral fellow with Professor G. Eglinton at the University of Bristol (England) undertaking research in various aspects of organic geochemistry and the application of analytical techniques such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to this area of research. Following this, Dr. Philip spent four years at the University of California, Berkeley, as a research associate, directing the organic geochemistry research group of Professor Melvin Calvin. Paul then returned to Sydney in 1977 to join the CSIRO, Fuel Geoscience Unit, now part of the Division of Fossil Fuels, where he was a principal research scientist studying various aspects of petroleum geochemistry. In June 1984, Dr. Philip joined the faculty at the University of Oklahoma. Recently, a large amount of Dr. Philip's research has been concerned with environmental studies and particularly investigating the use of stable carbon isotopes as a means of monitoring and tracking pollutants in the environment. Professional activities: associate editor of I. Environmental Forensics, and Chairman of the Geochemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, 1993-1995.


"Chemistry and Art" Lecture May 7th at Missouri State Campus

Posted by Matthew R. Siebert on April 25, 2014 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

"Chemistry and Art"

Our first speaker of 2014 is our own Dr. Eric Bosch.  His talk is entitled "Chemistry and Art.” We warmly invite you to a preliminary social gathering with light refreshments at 6:00 p.m. on May 7th, 2014 at Missouri State University in Temple Hall, Room 003.  Dr. Eric Bosch will speak at 6:30.

The talk is intended for a general audience and will highlight a few selected aspects of the interplay between chemistry and art. Topics will range from the chemistry of 30,000 year-old cave paintings in Europe to relatively modern forgeries of classic paintings.  Along the way we will discuss a wide variety of different subjects.  At the end of thetalk you will know the answers to some of these questions. 

  •  Where did caveman get his pigment and how can cave paintings be dated? 
  • Can you really get red pigments from bugs and snails?
  • Why don’t frescoes fade? 
  • Is manure used to make pigment?
  • How did the discovery of new metals affect the impressionist artists?
  • How do you make a painting look like it is 300 years old? 
  • How can a chemical reaction that didn’t work start a new chemical industry and make someone a millionaire?
  • Which pigments made by the ancient Egyptians are now used in nanomaterials?
  • Was Napoleon poisoned by a pigment?
  • How does chemistry help catch forgers?

 So please join us in our first event of 2014! For more information including a parking pass, don't hesitate to contact us.