Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Research in Science and Engineering

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, invites college juniors and sophomores majoring in the sciences, math, engineering or psychology to apply to an exciting summer research program, RiSE (Research in Science and Engineering), We are seeking undergraduates with strong academic credentials who have the desire to pursue research and a future PhD. We particularly welcome applications from students from underrepresented, disadvantaged or first-generation college backgrounds or who attend Predominantly Undergraduate Institutions.

Here’s how RiSE distinguishes itself from many other summer programs:

- Cutting-edge interdisciplinary opportunities - we are a national leader in prestigious NSF IGERT training programs that cross academic disciplines and have broad societal impact, (i.e. clean and sustainable energy via biotechnology or nanotechnology, stem cells, pharmaceutical engineering, and perceptual sciences). Also, we offer joint research programs in the biomedical sciences with the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School).

- Personalized mentor-matching

- Outstanding enrichment/professional development component including speaking & writing about science, GRE prep, career exploration, networking with academic & industrial scientists

- Great location – Situated only a short train ride from the excitement of New York City and Philadelphia, we have a safe green campus with easy access to mountains and beaches. We are at the hub of the nation’s pharmaceutical and technology research, and summer students are often able to arrange future internships.

- Excellent funding (stipend + housing + travel)

- Choice of 8 or 10 weeks

Rolling admissions is underway and is highly selective. Therefore, candidates should apply on-line as soon as possible. Questions? Contact us at or 732.932.7275.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

National Science Foundation Grant

Students enrolled in Chemistry or Chem-Bio this spring.

St. Olaf has a National Science Foundation Grant entitled "Providing Support Structures for Chemistry Majors (PSSCM)." This program is open to St. Olaf students who intend to graduate with a major in chemistry and are interested in pursuing careers in science. Our goal is to increase the number of and provide academic support for chemistry majors at St. Olaf and prepare them for work in a 21st century, scientifically- and technologically-intensive world. A primary emphasis is placed on scholarship support for students who intend to major in chemistry and demonstrate financial need.

If you are interested in applying for a PSSCM scholarship, please pick up an application or visit our website:

From this page you can click on the "Scholarship Application Process" link to find out how to apply. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 5. Applications are available online, in the chemistry office, the SSS office, or from your chemistry instructor.

Please feel free to ask questions about the program!

Dr. Mary Walczak

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Chemistry of Joy

Author Henry Emmons will talk about his book "The Chemistry of Joy" this Sunday at 11:15 at First UCC church in Northfield. This should be an enlightening discussion for those who are interested in the chemistry of depression and alternative routes to healing. Contact Prof. Muth if you have questions.

Quite a Line Up!

Some chemistry students will have an interest in each of these seminars...

Seminars in the FNSM this week:

Monday, February 22 - Biology Seminar
Finding the right balance: Ecological and evolutionary consequences of nutrient regulation in invertebrates
Adam Kay, Ph.D., Department of Biology, University of St. Thomas
4:00 p.m., RNS 310

Monday, February 22 – Wilderness Field Station Summer Info Session
Harlo Hadow will speak about the summer opportunities at the Coe College Wilderness Field Station. The station is five miles north of Ely, MN and offers a range of classes from Animal Behavior to Law and the Wilderness to Nature Writing. Classes have a max of 8 students and count for credit at St. Olaf.
7:00 p.m., RNS 310

Tuesday, February 23 - MSCS Colloquium
Suicide in the United States: An Epidemiologist's Perspective
Rajeev Ramchand, Behavioral Scientist, RAND Corporation
1:30 p.m., RNS 310

Wednesday, February 24 - Physics Seminar
Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Applications
Dr. Armando Manduca, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Co-Director, Biomathematics Resource, Mayo Clinic
2:00 p.m., RNS 210

Wednesday, February 24 – Summer and Graduate School Research Opportunities at Mayo – informational seminar
Dr. Armando Manduca, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Co-Director, Biomathematics Resource, Mayo Clinic
11:50 p.m., RNS 356

Thursday, February 25 - (virtual) Chemistry Seminar
Nobel Prize Lecture
Ada Yonath
3:15 p.m., RNS 390

Thursday, February 18, 2010

REU in Polymer Science/Engineering

The NSF REU site for Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron will again accept applications for the summer of 2010. This year’s stipend amount is $7,000. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2010. The attached announcement is for undergraduate students who are currently sophomores or juniors. The application should include the linked form, official transcript(s), 2 letters of recommendation, and a letter of intent (background, area of interest, career goals) sent to Marj Riccardi ( For additional information, please visit their website:

Chemistry Seminar Tonight 2/18/10 at 7:00 p.m. in RNS 390

Catalytic Autothermal Reforming of Renewable Fuels at Millisecond Times

L. D. Schmidt
Department of chemical Engineering and Materials Science
University of Minnesota

            We compare the reforming of different types of  biofuels by autothermal reforming at millisecond contact times to produce synthesis gas, hydrogen, and chemicals.  Fuels examined are alcohols, esters, carbohydrates, biodiesel, vegetable oil, and solid biomass.
            Biofuels generally have higher conversions than fossil fuels because the hydroxyl and ester linkages in these fuels produce higher sticking coefficients than for saturated alkanes.  Consequently, conversions of all biofuels in these processes are nearly 100%.  Highly oxygenated feedstocks tend to produce mostly syngas with little olefins or oxygenated products because surface reactions dominate, and these larger products are formed predominantly by homogeneous reaction processes after all oxygen is consumed.
            Recent results on production of syngas by reactive flash volatilization of nonvolatile liquids and solids will also be described.  We show that, by impinging cold liquid drops or small solid particles onto the hot catalyst surface, the process can be operated in steady state with no carbon formation for many hours.  This occurs because, while pyrolysis of vegetable oils and carbohydrates at low temperatures produces carbon, above ~600oC the equilibrium shifts to produce syngas rather than solid carbon.
            Recent results using fast photography at 1000 frames per second will be shown that examine the time dependence of solid and liquid particle decomposition and disappearance.  Spatial profiles of temperature and species concentrations within the working catalyst will also be described.

Dr. Lanny D. Schmidt   (check out Dr. Schmidt in Wikipedia)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Met Council Summer 2010 Internships

The Metropolitan Council has 26 summer internship positions available for students and have posted them on the web site, at at: The internships span multiple operational pieces of the MetCouncil, including MetroTransit and Environmental Services. A few examples of the kinds of internships available are listed below.

In particular, a few of our contacts at the Met Council are looking for St. Oalf students to apply to the two water resources-related positions: one in Water Quality Monitoring and the other in Water Supply Planning.

I encourage you all to look through the 26 Council summer internship positions and see if any interest you. The application deadline is March 5.

Environmental Services

Water Quality Monitoring Intern: Participate in physical, chemical and biological monitoring of large rivers streams, and monitor lakes. Participate in wastewater treatment plant monitoring, including toxicity-testing, toxics monitoring, and groundwater monitoring. Process water and biological samples, participate in special monitoring studies including monitoring of storm water management practices, and help manage monitoring data.

Entry requirement: Undergraduate student in natural sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Hydrology, Geology, Environmental Studies etc.), especially as it relates to water. Must have completed two semesters of college-level chemistry, biology, or related science. Position requires the ability to swim, drive vehicles and operate watercraft.

Location: Metro Plant, St. Paul

Water Supply Planning: Evaluate natural resource and water supply information, create recharge model inputs for planned land use, prepare stream flow data for hydrograph separation, and conduct analysis of water use by community.

Entry requirement: Undergraduate or Graduate student in Water Resources, GIS, Engineering, Geology or Urban Planning with experience or coursework in mapping and ArcGIS preferred.

Metro Transit

Marketing Assistant: Assist with planning and implementing marketing and promotional efforts. Work with various team members to assist with research, direct mail campaigns, securing advertising, and planning and executing events.

Entry requirement: Undergraduate student in Marketing/Advertising.

Location: Minneapolis

Project Controls Intern: Assist Central Corridor Office Project Controls Engineer with various tasks related to large construction contracts including document management, reviewing design and construction payment requests, tracing design directives and constructability reviews.

Entry requirement: Undergraduate student in Business Administration, Construction Management, Project Controls, Engineering, or Planning.

Location: Central Corridor Project Office, St. Paul

Sales Operations: Assist with the operation of special event Hiawatha ticket sales conducted before and after Minnesota Twins games. Coordinate materials and personnel for the event sales, collect and enter sales activity data, manage booth workers and assist customers, and other sales support.

Entry requirement: Undergraduate student in Business Administration. Must have valid drivers license, be able to work evenings and weekends, and outside in all weather conditions.

Location: Minneapolis

Monday, February 15, 2010

Additional Seminar Possibility This Week

Juniors and seniors interested in bolstering their lists of attended seminars...note the following possibility at Carleton on Friday 2/19/10. To receive credit toward your chemistry major, take notes and turn them in to Karen Renneke in RNS 336. Younger students interested in this particular career combination might like to attend, too!

3:30pm, Olin Hall, Room 04

Eric Guttag, IP Law Office, will talk about Chemistry and Law: A Combustible Career Combination”.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Additional St. Olaf Summer Research Opportunities in Chemistry

The Chemistry Department has added three summer research projects since the publication of summer research opportunities a couple of weeks ago. As with the other projects, applications are due on February 15!

Miessler: Transition Metal Dithiolene Complexes and Clusters

My main research interests are in the organometallic chemistry of molybdenum and tungsten. For example, I hope to develop syntheses of new compounds of these metals that contain dithiolene ligands (bidentate ligands coordinating to metals through two sulfur atoms) in addition to organic ligands such as CO and ¬η5-C5H5. Some important molybdenum- and tungsten-containing enzymes have dithiolene ligands, and I hope to prepare compounds that might serve as models for the metal sites.
A more recent interest is cluster chemistry. For example, a molybdenum dithiolene complex and Ru3(CO)12 react to generate a variety of clusters in which sulfur forms bridges between different metals. These clusters have very interesting symmetries—visually appealing, at least to a chemist! I would like to have students explore reactions using different CO complexes to examine how broad this range of chemistry might be and how far the “isolobal analogy,” which can be used to draw analogies between inorganic and organic chemistry, can be carried in understanding this chemistry.
Students participating in this work will gain experience in vacuum line synthesis and purification techniques and will also use a variety of spectroscopic methods, especially NMR, mass spec (APCI and MALDI), IR, and UV-vis. Crystal structures of new compounds will be determined by the University of Minnesota X-ray crystallography lab.

Bob Hanson: New Methods of Biomolecular Visualization

My current research interests are in the area of molecular visualization and modeling. This project will involve the development of new ways to visualize proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates. For example, the figure shown on the right depicts one frame in a movie illustrating the oxygenation/deoxygenation of hemoglobin. I'm interested in new ways to depict biomolecular processes such as this and also developing novel ways in which we as humans can interact with physical and virtual models. The student collaborating in this area should have an interest in an interdisciplinary project involving mathematics, chemistry, and biology, or some combination of those. Computer programming or web development skills are not required, but are valued.

Erik Epp: Green Chemistry Education Research

Erik, who taught Chemistry 121 this past fall and is currently back at Purdue University for a short time, will be returning to St. Olaf in April as a postdoctoral associate with Bob Hanson. Erik's research is in the area of chemical education -- how we learn and how we measure learning. Associated with a grant from the Keck Foundation, Erik will be taking a close look at how we have implemented green chemistry principles across the curriculum, particularly in organic chemistry. The student working with Erik will be doing a mix of education research and actual laboratory research, as we are interested in following through with an amazing finding we had in relation to one of the experiments we did in Chemistry 253 this past fall.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Webinar from the American Chemical Society don't have to be an ACS member to attend this webinar...and it's FREE!

Love Food as well as Chemistry? How to Find and Build a Career in the Food and/or Flavor Industries"

Curious about the smell of cookies baking? Or how researchers try to isolate vanilla flavor? Know yourself, discover your passion, and weave it into your career! These and much more is what our speaker has combined and built into a successful career. Learn from our speaker how you might also be able to combine your passion in food and chemistry into a career in the exciting world of food and flavor.
A short presentation followed by Q&A with speaker Carolyn Fisher, Regulatory Manager at McCormick. She is also an author, instructor, and food flavors aficionado.

What You Will Learn
- Why 'life long learning' as well as understanding yourself is important to defining Career goals.
- What type of positions chemists have taken in the Food or Flavor Industries.
- Where to find training in Food Science or Food Regulations.
- How to develop skills and network for a career in the Food or Flavor Industries.
- And much more...

Webinar Details
Date: Thursday, Feb 11, 2010
Time: 2:00-3:00 pm ET
Fee: Free
Don't miss out - Register now!
Questions to speaker can be submitted during registration.

Who Should Attend
Chemists, Food & Flavor Scientists, Engineers, ACS Members, and Aspiring Scientists.

Meet your Expert!
Carolyn Fisher received her B.S. in 1972 from Wayne State University and Ph.D. in 1978 from Stanford University. She was a Research Chemist at Kalsec from 1978 to 1991. At the University of Delaware from 1992 to 1996, she continued her work on the isolation of bioactive components of spices & herbs as well as writing the book Food Flavours: Biology & Chemistry. She started at McCormick & Company in 1996 as a Quality Assurance Manager for industrial flavor products and became a Regulatory Manager in 2005. She has developed a training program for regulatory professionals in the U. S. Industrial Group at McCormick, helping her peers grow in their careers. A version of this training course is also being provided through the McCormick Learning and Development Center to non-regulatory professionals. Carolyn is an instructor for the Institute of Food Technologists short course, Labeling Requirements and Implications for Foods Marketed in the U.S.