What=s Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #70

October 7, 1998

[a publication of the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University]

written by Dr. John L. Hogg


The Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Chemical Society received notice on September 8 that it has been selected for special recognition as an Outstanding Chapter for its activities during the 1997-98 academic year. The September/October issue of In Chemistry, the student affiliates magazine, had a listing of the recognized chapters in the United States and Puerto Rico. The A&M chapter was one of only 24 outstanding chapters out of the total of 172 chapters receiving any type of recognition.. The list of outstanding chapters will be announced in an upcoming issue of Chemical and Engineering News, the society=s official national news magazine. Only one other large college or university (i.e. The University of Michigan) was among the 24 outstanding chapters but 5 of the chapters in this category were Texas chapters. The president of the chapter last year was Omar Torres. Kimberly DeFriend was vice-president, Melissa Supak was secretary, and Kelly Fox was treasurer during the 1997-98 academic year.

You may recall that Omar Torres challenged the group to achieve this level of recognition since they were recognized as an Honorable Mention chapter for 1996-97 activities. Looks like the group met the challenge.



The 11th anniversary of National Chemistry Week is scheduled for November 1-7, 1998. The Texas A&M Chapter of the ACS and the Student Affiliate Chapter of the ACS plan to host a Chemistry Department Open House on Saturday, October 1 to kick off this week of celebration. That day is also Aggieland Saturday, a time for prospective students to visit A&M, and there is no conflicting home football game so a good crowd is expected. The day=s activities will include a couple of Chemistry Road Show performances in Room 100 Chemistry, multi-media presentations in Room 2102 and 2104, hands-on activities and computer modeling using laptops as well as tours and demonstrations in a large number of research labs and the Cyclotron. Details have not yet been finalized but these activities will be coordinated by Dr. Hogg so expect him or one of the officers in the student affiliate chapter to contact you to help out. If you aren=t contacted, please volunteer.

The Texas A&M ACS section has invested over $1500 in items to be distributed to those attending the Open House. We hope to capitalize on the success of this event from the fall of 1997. That Open House resulted in the Texas A&M ACS section receiving an Honorable Mention Phoenix Award which is on display in the lobby outside Room 100 Chemistry.



The initial response to the proposed dinner meeting of the Texas A&M ACS Local Section was sufficient to insure its success according to local ACS section chair, Dr. Rand Watson. Therefore, plans have been finalized to hold this event in conjunction with the visit of the ACS Tour Speaker, Alexander Shedrinski, on Tuesday, November 3, 1998 at the Pebble Creek Country Club. The schedule is given below:

6:30 pm. Social period (a cash bar will be provided)

7:00 Dinner

8:00 Comments and announcements

8:15 Tour Speaker presentation: "Irreversible Changes to Paintings Due to Time"

All ACS members (and their companions), graduate student members, and undergraduate student affiliates are cordially invited to attend. Tickets for the dinner may be purchased from Pat Forman in room 107 of the old chemistry building (i.e., the Department Head's office). The cost of the dinner is $10.00 per person for members and $5.00 per person for students. The deadline for purchasing tickets is Wednesday, October 28.



Eighteen freshman and sophomore chemistry majors have been honored with IUCCP-A.E. Martell Undergraduate Chemistry Scholarships for the 1998-99 academic year. The funds for these $500 scholarships are provided by contributions from the members of the Industry University Cooperative Chemistry Program. The company sponsors and scholarship recipients are listed below:

Sponsors Recipients

BASF Corp: Esther Garner, Erin Guidry, *Charles Hamilton, Gina Huettel, and *Amanda Pickett

Dow Chemical: *Amy Fowler, *Sarah Hendrickson, Melissa Laningham, and *Trieu Nguyen

Celanese Ltd.: *Gabriela Cardenas, *Reagan Hughes, Lauren Lachance, *Robert Robbins, and *Christopher Wells

Monsanto Company: *Aurelie Buckelew, Kimberly Green, *Ellaine Lloren, and Thomas Smith

* indicates second-year students


The Monsanto Company continues to support undergraduate chemistry majors with $1000 scholarships for the 1998-99 academic year. The twenty-one students receiving the Monsanto Scholarships this year are listed below:

Andrew Bolin - Junior                          Shalindra Das - Sophomore

Zeak Davenport - Sophomore             Peter Duong - Junior

Stephanie Hines - Freshman                 John Horn - Junior

Joseph Jessup - Freshman                    Timothy Kovoor - Sophomore

Sean Liddick - Sophomore                   Jason Link - Senior

Valerie Meyers - Junior                         Rachel McConnell - Sophomore

Thomas Miller - Junior                           Julie Orf - Junior

Kyle Plunkett - Junior                             Bradley Rowland - Freshman

Gottfried Schroeder - Freshman             Melissa Supak - Junior

Jared Teslow - Senior                            Steven Walker - Senior

Allan Wilson - Senior



Dr. Kenneth Poenisch, associate dean for student affairs in the College of Science, has announced the recipients of the Dow Aggies academic scholarships for the 1998-99 academic year. Senior Michael Cox received only $500 since he will be graduating in December but seniors Charles Austin Cropper, David R. (Chip) Kent IV, Jason Link and Allan Wilson received $1000 scholarships since they will not graduate until May 1999.


Several undergraduate chemistry majors were awarded George C. Bauer scholarships for the fall 1998 semester. These scholarships honor Professor Bauer, a former chemistry faculty member and outstanding teacher. Recipients of the scholarships were: Celeste Davis, Chip Kent, Kyle Plunkett, and Julie Orf. All are junior or senior chemistry majors and received amounts ranging from $250 to $1000.



The Chemistry Department has set aside Room 2106 in the 1986-wing of the Chemistry Building as a student study lounge for undergraduate chemistry majors. The department has provided some desks, file cabinets and furniture and the Texas A&M ACS section has contributed $500 to help with furnishing the study lounge as well. Please take advantage of this area. You may obtain the number for the door lock by contacting Dr. Hogg or Ms. Warren. Student affiliate officers are currently soliciting donations of chemistry related books and journals to place in the study area. A special thanks goes out to the ACS section and Drs. Schweikert and Rosynek for supporting this request for a special study area for undergraduate chemistry majors. Mr. Ron Carter was especially helpful in getting the room furnished.



Several people have not come in to check on their 95-hour degree audit. 95-Hour degree audits are coming on October 21 for those who have not received one before. We must make sure that the information listed in the computer is correct for your degree audit to be correct. Therefore, you must stop by Room 104 Chemistry before October 20 to make sure that your degree sought, major, minor, and catalog number are correct in SIMS. We will receive the audits for students who will have at least 95 credit hours and have not received a 95-hour degree audit before on October 22.



We have a list of the degree candidates for the fall 1998 semester. Please stop by to confirm that your name is on the list if you plan to graduate in December. College of Science undergraduates will graduate on Friday afternoon, December 18 at 2 p.m. in Reed Arena. This is the first time that I can recall the College of Science students graduating in this afternoon ceremony.



If you plan to graduate in December 1998 or May or August 1999 you should be interviewing NOW! Even if you think you will enter graduate school, medical school, etc. it is still wise to interview in case you change your mind. Jobs are not that easy to find and very few people are awakened in the middle of the night by someone offering them a job. Be aggressive and interview with as many companies as possible. PLEASE PROVIDE US WITH AN UP-TO-DATE COPY OF YOUR RESUME SO WE WILL HAVE IT ON HAND TO PROVIDE TO COMPANIES WHO ARE NOT DOING FORMAL INTERVIEWING OR COMPANIES THAT YOU WERE UNABLE TO SIGN UP WITH.



We have copies of the 1999 applications for the NSF graduate research fellowships and the NSF minority graduate fellowships as well as National Physical Science Consortium Graduate Fellowships for Minorities and Women in the Physical Sciences . The deadline for entering the competition for these highly sought after fellowships is early in November.



The Agricultural and Food Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society offers several cash awards for undergraduates and graduate students. Undergraduate juniors or seniors doing research in this broad area may apply for the $500 cash award and a free trip to the National ACS Meeting in Anaheim, CA in the spring of 1999. The deadline for the application is February 1, 1999. Information is available in Room 104 Chemistry or by calling Dr. Ho at 732-932-9611 Ext. 235.



The ACS student affiliate chapter at Baylor University has scheduled their 12th annual undergraduate research symposium on Friday, November 13. Texas A&M students involved in undergraduate research in chemistry and related areas are invited to participate. The deadline for applications is October 24. Additional information and abstract forms are available from Dr. Hogg or you may contact Carmen Hernandez at C_Hernandez@baylor.edu./



There has been a call for presentations by undergraduate research students at the 217th National ACS meeting in Anaheim, CA, March 21-25, 1999. Abstracts of research activities or successful Student Affiliate Chapter Activities are due on original ACS forms by December 1, 1998. Additional information about this program is available from Dr. Hogg or may be obtained from LaTrease Garrison, ACS Student Affiliates Program, 1155 16th St., NW, Washington, DC 20036; phone 202-872-6166; fax 202833-7732; e-mail SA program@acs.org.



Dr. Michael Green (B.S. 1992) stopped by recently on his way to take a postdoctoral position with Professors Harry Gray and William Goddard at the California Institute of Technology. Mike has recently (August 28) finished his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago under the direction of Dr. Jeremy Burdett. His thesis was titled AAdventures in Solids, Molecules and Enzymes: Gaining Insight With Electronic Structure Theory.@ His postdoctoral position is a Computational Molecular Biology Fellowship sponsored by Burroughs-Wellcome.



Marylin Warren, the person who keeps the undergraduate advising office on track, became a grandmother for the second time this fall on October 4. Congratulations, Marylin!!



Programs to determine the chemical properties of matter are available on computers ranging from PC's to super-computers and provide powerful tools for research and industrial applications. They provide, for example, graphical views of the bonding or anti-bonding character of molecular orbitals. They also provide information directly related to observable properties; for example, dipole moments and ionization energies. However, users of these programs need to have knowledge which will allow them to obtain the benefits of computer modeling in chemistry and to be sophisticated about computation and about the interpretation of their computational results. It is very useful to understand the general principles of how a computer functions and how it is programmed. It is also useful to understand the basis of the numerical and scientific methods which are used in the computer simulations. The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to computation in chemistry which will be a foundation for further study and work in this area. Computer architecture, fundamentals of working in the LTNIX environment, and the FORTRAN programming language will be described. Representative numerical methods for simple, but basic, problems and the implementation of these methods in computer programs will be studied. There will also be application of quantum chemical methods, using standardly available computer software, to determine atomic and molecular properties as described above.

The course will consist of lectures combined with the hands on use of computers for both programming assignments and assignments applying existing programs to specific chemical problems. Computer assignments will be carried out on SGI workstations which will also be available for use outside of the regular computer lab periods.

Prerequisites needed to enroll:

(1) Experience using a programming language such as BASIC, FORTRAN, or C.

(2) Familiarity with the application of quantum mechanics to simple atoms and molecules.

(3) Calculus and familiarity with Taylor Expansions and some matrix algebra.

Dr. Paul Bagus, a visiting scientist, is interested in offering this course in the spring 1999 semester if there is sufficient interest. He is willing to consider several course formats for lectures and labs based on student interest. These are:

(1) a 3-credit course with 2 lectures per week and one two-three hour lab per week

(2) a 2-3 credit course with 1 lecture per week and one two-three hour lab per week.

(3) a 2-credit course with 1 lecture per week and one two-three hour lab per week.

If you are interested in enrolling in this course for the spring semester please contact Dr. Bagus at 845-1407 as soon as possible and also contact Dr. Hogg. We are trying to quickly assess the amount of interest in such a course but need to do this within the next week (by October15).