New & Noteworthy Items From The Past

Environmental Chemistry Research Highlight

Professor Bill Simpson's group and collaborators studying Arctic Atmospheric chemistry were featured in an article in the 5 Dec 2011 issue of Chemical and Engineering News.  The work connects air and sea ice.  

Biochemistry Research Highlight

Professor Kelly Drew and her neurochemistry research group have successfully induced hibernation in animals for the first time.  See the account of this research in the 22 Sep 2011 Popular Science article.

New Organic Chem Lab course for 2012

♦ Organic Chemistry Laboratory C323 (3 cr), has been approved by Faculty Senate. This course is designed for non-chemistry science majors, and will place greater emphasis on bio-organic and biochemical topics. The existing organic lab course, C324W (4 cr), will be renamed Advanced Organic Chemistry Laboratory, and will remain a requirement for chemistry and biochemistry majors.
♦ Biology majors and others should enroll in C323, and chemistry and biochemistry majors in C324W.
♦ Initial offerings of both courses will be in the Spring 2012 semester. About 30 seats will be available for C323, and 10 seats for C324W. No organic lab will be given in Fall 2011.
♦ Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. No waitlists will be maintained.

Still need a chemistry textbook?

Students can obtain texts - with free shipping - for Chem 103X, 105X, and 321 at the CengageBrain website. For the spring 2012 semester, Chem 104, 106X, and 322 textbooks will also be available at that website, as well as at the UAF Bookstore.

Tenure-Track Faculty Searches

We welcome Dr. Fenton Heirtzler as the new tenure-track Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry.  Dr. Sarah Hayes has accepted the  new tenure-track Environmental/Analytical position and will begin in Fall 2012.  The Biochemistry search is continuing. Stay tuned for more details on these new hires

Congrats to 2011 graduates

Graduating seniors from the class of 2010/11 recently took the American Chemical Society Diagnostic of Undergraduate Chemical Knowledge exit exam. Our average score ranked 89th percentile nationwide. Way to go seniors!

International Year of Chemistry Featured on "Jeopardy"!

In recognition of the International Year of Chemistry, a recent "Jeopardy" show featured several questions on this subject. An edited version of the show prepared by the American Chemical Society can be viewed at this website.

  • Fall 2010 Chem 105X textbook information. Beginning Mon. Aug. 16, texts will be available for sale or rent at the UAF Bookstore in Signers Hall. Or you may purchase materials at several sites online. Follow this link for a detailed description of texts and materials. 
  • For general bookstore information, visit theUAF Bookstore link.
  • Important information for students planning to enroll in Chem 105X and their academic advisors. Click here.
  • UAF's chemistry B.S. program was recently reaccredited by the American Chemical Society Committee on Professional Training. The accreditation process reviews academic course content, scientific equipment available for student use, the balance between the physical, analytical, organic, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry sub-disciplines within the curriculum, and professor workloads. More information here.
  • Congratulations go out to Tom Trainor, Associate Professor of Chemistry, who is the recipient of the 2009 Mineralogical Society of America Award. This prestigious award is given once per year to recognize outstanding published contributions to the science of mineralogy by individuals near the beginning of their professional careers. Google "msa award" for details.
  • The college's Spring 2010 Science Potpourri was a huge success! About 600 kids and adults thronged the Reichardt Building on April 10 to see science demonstrations, taste liquid nitrogen-cooled ice cream, and take in other astounding sights and sounds.
  • Snow chemistry in Alaska. Grad student Dea Huff's blog about her project with Prof. Bill Simpson to study N2O5 in the atmosphere, and its reaction with snow particles. Click here to view the blog page.
Go to WebMO info and login page.
  • Gaussian 09 and MOPAC2009 computational chemistry software is available for use by students and faculty. The programs are installed on departmental servers that also are running the WebMO graphical interface. "Guest" logins possible. Click the "WebMO" graphic above to open the information page and access the login page.
Dell netbook running HyperChem
  • Dell netbooks are in use for the first time this year by students in UAF's General Chemistry 105X laboratory. Applications include molecular modeling with HyperChem software, analysis of GC-MS data, and digital data acquisition.
  • American Chemical Society's National Chemistry Week was celebrated Sat. Oct. 25. UAF Chemistry and biochemistry faculty and grad students presented displays and hands-on demonstrations related to ongoing research in the department. Information for prospective students, their parents, and high school teachers was provided.
  • Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Lectureship for the Fall 2008 semester was held by  Dr. Kristin K. Koretke of GlaxoSmithKline Inc. Dr. Koretke visited UAF on Oct. 6-7. She also spoke to several general chemistry classes discussing modern applications of chemistry and career opportunities in biotech industry that emphasize training in chemistry.
  • Sifat Chowdhury, a West Valley H.S. chemistry student working with John Keller, presented a poster at the 2008 Mercury Conference on Undergraduate Computational Chemistryrk which is held each summer at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. See Sifat and poster here.
  • Congratulations are in order for faculty members who applied for tenure and/or promotion. Bill Howard and Tom Trainor were each awarded tenure and promoted to Associate Professor. Kelly Drew and Bill Simpson were promoted to full Professor.
  • Thank you, Tom Clausen! Tom Clausen's years of illustrious service as department chair have ended, and beginning July 1, John Keller took on the department chair role.
  • John Keller demonstrated the use of audience response clickers for faculty at the Office of Information Technology's Faculty Spotlight 9-16-2008. The slides, including useful web links, can be seen here.
  • Dr. R. Bruce King, of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Georgia, presented a seminar entitled, "Phosphorus-Bridging Carbonyl Groups:  Analogues of Aldehydes and Ketones" on Monday, Sept. 15, in UAF's Reichardt Building. The seminar was sponsored by the American Chemical Society's Local Section Speaker Tour series.
  • At the spring 2008 ACS national meeting in New Orleans UAF faculty and students authored or co-authored nine papers. Oral presentations were given by students Anastasia Ilgen, Kunaljeet Tanwar, and professor Bill Howard. Sarah Pettito was first author on a poster, and several other posters were co-authored by professor Tom Trainor and students. Bill Simpson was invited to give a talk on his sea ice surface chemistry research.
  • Cathy Cahill has air samplers running during the spring and summer of 2008 in Camp Victory in Iraq. They are there to collect the particles that the soldiers at Camp Victory are breathing so that any health hazards can be identified. For further information email Dr. Cahill at
  • Spring 2008 Commencement included six bachelors and six masters students from this department. The complete list of names and degrees, including honors, may be seen here.
  • Curtis Sears, Program Director in the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education, visited the department May 5, 2008 to talk with students and professors about our progress in modernizing the UAF chemistry curriculum - using instruments purchased by several NSF grants. The visit is hosted by John Keller, PI on a current NSF grant which is funding the installation of a new Agilent GC-MS.
  • Brian Rasley was successful in obtaining funding for the department's new atomic absorption spectrometer. The Perkin-Elmer AAnalylst 800 machine is being used by general chemistry and analytical chemistry students, and in environmental chemistry research (March 2008).
  • On Thurs, May 1 the department bid adieu to Marlys Schneider, who is retiring as our stock clerk and outreach majordomo. The festivities took place in the Reichardt main hall with a chemistry and biochemistry poster session and potluck supper. Her co-workers pitched in with a retirement gift of a greenhouse - "some assembly required".
  • Department faculty mentored several students in the 2008 Alaska Statewide High School Science Symposium. Students and their mentors were Carla Cartagena (Castillo), Kelsey Boyer (Clausen), Sambit Misra (Howard), Sifat Chowdhury (Keller), and Carey Fristoe (Keller). 1st place went to Carla Cartagena. Congratulations!
  • Tom Trainor, Mike Whalen (Geology and Geophysics) and Jing Zhang (Mechanical Engineering), have been awarded a grant through the NSF-Major Research Instrumentation Program (funded by the Division of Earth Sciences) to establish a multi-disciplinary X-ray Diffraction Facility at UAF's Advanced Instrumentation Laboratory. The group recently finalized purchase of a PANalytical High Resolution X-ray Diffraction System, which will be installed in the Reichardt Building this spring.
  • UAF's Science Potpourri took place Saturday, April 12th noon to 5:00 p.m. in the Reichardt Building. Funding support was provided by EPSCoR, Arctic Division - AAAS, Sigma XI Alaska Chapter, American Chemical Society Alaska Section, and the Alaska Statewide High School Science Symposium.
  • 3-18-2008 If you missed John Keller's seminar, Introduction to Gaussian, you may view or download the slides here. The seminar covered the basic theory of computational chemistry, plus a brief how-to guide for preparing input for UA's Arctic Region Supercomputer Center computers.
  • 12-12-2007 The scholarly work of faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry has been recognized as in the top ten of two research disciplines nationwide. In the survey featured in the cover story of The Chronicle of Higher Education (12 Jan 2007 issue), Academic Analytics, a for-profit company partially owned by the State University of New York at Stony Brook, ranked the disciplines "Environmental Sciences" and "Atmospheric Sciences (see page 8 of link)" both as within the top ten of 354 doctoral-degree granting institutions nationwide. A number of faculty members in the Environmental Chemistry program of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry do research in these areas. For more information, see the statistical summary in the news release from the affiliated International Arctic Research Center News release.
  • 12-10-2007 Shandra Miller, a UAF chemistry major, is the 2007 recipient of the Univ of Alaska Hypercube Scholar Award. Visit the award website.
  • 12-1-2007 Faculty members John Keller and Todd Gouin's proposal ("Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in Alaska: New GC-MS Experiments for College and Pre-College Students") has been funded by the National Science Foundation. As part of the project, a new gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer will be installed in a Reichardt Building lab. Visit the project's website.
  • 4-20-2006 Graduate student Greg Cushing won the 2006 University of Alaska Hypercube Scholar Award. The award, which is accompanied by a copy of the HyperChem Molecular Modeling software donated by Hypercube, Inc., is given each year to a graduating UA student who has shown outstanding abilities in computational chemistry.
  • 4-4-2006 Rafail Khairoutdinov, Professor of Chemistry, passed away from cancer on April 4th 2006 in Pullman, Washington where he was working on his single wall carbon nanotube sensor research. Rafail was one of UAF's outstanding scientists. He was admired and respected by all who knew him in Fairbanks, and around the world.
  • Professors Richard Stolzberg, Tom Green, and John Keller were awarded a National Science Foundation grant to purchase two new analytical instruments to be used in upper division laboratory courses. The instruments, both from Agilent Technologies, are for high performance liquid chromatography and capillary electrophoresis.
  • Professors Richard Stolzberg (Analytical Chemistry) and Don Button (Biochemistry) have retired. They were honored as Emeritus Professors at UAF's May 2005 commencement ceremonies.
  • Associate Professor Bill Simpson was awarded a $488,500 National Science Foundation CAREER award to develop and use cavity ring-down spectroscopy for understanding Arctic atmospheric chemistry. The CAREER award is NSF's most prestigious young-investigator award, and the first ever given to UAF's Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.
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