What's Happening in Chemistry Circles

Issue #85

November 13, 2000

web address: http://www.chem.tamu.edu/ugrad/ugradinf.html

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

written by Dr. John L. Hogg


    The 13th annual National Chemistry Week Open House was a huge success. The event, organized by Dr. Wendy L. Keeney-Kennicutt, featured a variety of hands-on activities for students and their parents and teachers. An estimated 500 people attended the two Chemistry Road Shows performed in Room 100 and the building was filled with the sounds of children shrieking with delight at the hands-on activities. Dozens of students were rewarded with door prizes of a chemical nature. Several faculty members along with lots of staff, undergraduate and graduate chemistry students, some biochemistry undergrads and faculty and many of the students enrolled in Chemistry 116 laboratory put together a program which provided something for everyone. Financial and moral support for the event was provided by the Texas A&M sections of the American Chemical Society (Dr. Marcetta Darensbourg, chair) and the Department of Chemistry. Having organized or co-organized this event for years, I can honestly say that I thought this was the best event yet. Dr. Keeney-Kennicutt's enthusiasm and new ideas coupled with the addition of the Chemistry 116 student demos, coordinated by Greg Perez, Chemistry 116 instructional assistant, made this an exciting and very well received event. Dr. Keeney-Kennicutt and all who helped her should be very proud of their efforts. Great job guys!


    Several former students stopped by for visits over the past few weeks. On campus as recruiters for their employers were Dr. Michael Smith (B.S. 1980) representing Dow AgroSciences and Michelle Williamson (B.S. 1998) representing Dow Chemical U.S.A. Dr. Chris Bischoff (B.S. 1987; Ph.D. 1981) was in town recruiting for Celanese. He is a technical leader at the Bay City plant. He and his wife just had their fifth child (three boys and two girls). In town to visit his sister and attend the A&M-Kansas State football game was Stuart Gregory (B.S. 1994) who is with Eli Lilly. Also visiting briefly was Rene Aguiluz (B.S. 1997) who was recruiting for Andersen Consulting. Eric Bowers (B.S. 2000) was in town to visit a certain female acquaintance and found time in his schedule to stop by. He is employed with EPRI. Holly Scarborough (B.S. 1980) was in town to visit with some prospective graduate students. Holly works at Southwest Texas State University. E-mail addresses are available from me for most of these people if you would like to contact them.

Melissa Supak (B.S. 2000) finally contacted us from the University of Alabama with the following information (slightly edited) about her start in graduate school there.

"Things in the great state of Alabama are great. It's really beautiful here. Valerie and I share an apartment on top of Shades Mountain and if you take the right backroads you can get a really great vew of Birmingham in the valley. The program here has been a lot of fun also. The (forensic science) program is very science based and very versatile. I have had so much fun just within the first six weeks. Anyway, of course, if anyone is interested in forensics, you can give out my stats and I can talk to them. I also have more info on other programs around the country. And if you want specifics, just ask.

Next week I start volunteering at the state crime lab. It's located on campus. I will be doing data entry with the ballistics/firearms guy. So, far I'm really interested in every area except toxicology."

Melissa may be contacted at chemvix@hotmail.com

Julie Orf (B.S. 2000) is doing well in graduate school at UCLA and sent along the slightly edited e-mail that follows. "How are things in Texas? California's pretty good (not that I have a whole lot of time to enjoy it, but oh well!) I have my first tests in a week, and I am terrified -- I have never had a class that moves so quickly as mine right now (organic synthesis) If the man could talk any faster, he'd have to have been an auctioneer in a previous life, I think!! Teaching is going well, too. It is actually harder than last year. The class I am teaching they don't have an equivalent for at A&M. To get into general chemistry you have to take a placement exam. My kids are the ones who flunked it and know absolutely zero chemistry. It is harder than I thought to try and get the information across when they don't even have a clue, but so far it is working out okay.

I have to go work on a homework set for synthesis now, so I had better go. Talk to you later Dr. Hogg."

Julie's friends may e-mail here at: jorf@chem.ucla.edu


Sean Liddick and Leah Arrigo, both senior chemistry majors, presented the results of their undergraduate research with Dr. Sherry Yennello at the Baylor Undergraduate Research Conference on October 13. Sean was awarded first place and Leah received the third place award. Both received cash prizes for their efforts. Congratulations Sean and Leah.


Erin Ousley, senior chemistry major, was married to Trey Mangan on August 12, 2000 in New Braunfels. Trey is mechanical engineering student at A&M. He will graduate in December and enter graduate school here in January. Congratulations Erin and Trey.


Preregistration for the spring 2001 term is underway. Students should obtain a copy of the Spring 2001 Schedule of Classes and follow the registration guidelines therein. You may wish to confirm the class instructor assignments and times listed in the class schedule booklet by looking at the BONFIRE computer screen which should be more accurate since it is easier to update. I know that we had to make several changes in chemistry classes after the booklet was printed and I'm aware that many other departments do this as well.  

Chemistry majors who plan to take Chem 234 and who do not automatically qualify for honors registration must obtain a special permission slip from Dr. Hogg and present it to the Honor's Program Office in Room 101 Academic Building to register for these courses. Non-qualifying students may only do this during their normal registration period.

All B.S. and B.A. chemistry majors must take Chemistry 234 (offered in both the fall and spring semesters now) after taking Chemistry 231 (or Chemistry 237 in some cases) but only B.S. students are required to take Chemistry 334 after taking Chemistry 325. B.A. majors take the sequence Chemistry 325/326 instead. Chemistry majors must take the special section of Chemistry 228 taught by Dr. Hogg or the honor's section taught by Dr. Harding unless they have permission from Dr. Tiner or Dr. Hogg to do otherwise.

0As always, call Ms. Warren at 845-0520 to schedule an advising appointment with Dr. Tiner or Dr. Hogg. Chemistry 100 students (mostly freshman chemistry majors) have previously been advised in class but are still encouraged to set up individual appointments if they need more personal help.


INFO 209 will not be offered in the Spring 2001 semester. At this time, the College of Business does not plan to offer it over the summer, however, as with all things, this plan could change. If you have a student who needs to complete INFO 209 for their business minor, please note that to fulfill the INFO 209 requirement, the student''s home college or major department may approve or disapprove one of the following computer usage courses: AGEC 221; AGEN 109; AGLS 201; ANSC 401; CPSC 110, 120, 203, 206, 207; ENDS 270; EDTC 345; ENGR 111 and 112; HLTH 240, 430; KINE 240; PHYS 401; RENR 201; VAPH 420. The course may also be taken at a community college.

This information can also be found on the web at http://business.tamu.edu/upo/business_minor.htm.

If you have any questions or concerns about this, please feel free to contact Amerika Grewal by email or at 979-845-0811.



Several positions are available at Merck. The Physical Measurements Laboratory within the Analytical Research Department of Merck Research Labs is responsible for the characterization of the physical and chemical properties of drug substances, and the development of procedures used for the isolation/purification of the drug substance and key synthetic intermediates. A variety of methods are employed, including x-ray, thermal, particle size measurement and suitability studies.

Physical Chemist - The successful candidate will have an excellent academic record, with demonstrated laboratory research skills and the ability to work in an interdisciplinary team environment. The candidate must have a B.S./M.S. degree in Chemistry with zero to four years' experience.

The Analytical Research department makes extensive use of the separation sciences to track impurities and monitor reaction dynamics. A variety of methods are employed, including wet-chemical methods, SFC, CE, HPLC, and chiral separations.

Analytical Chemist - The successful candidate will have an excellent academic record with demonstrated laboratory skills and the ability to work in an interdisciplinary team environment. Experience in chromatography and wet analytical chemistry is desirable. A B.S./M.S. degree in Chemistry with zero to four years' experience is required.

If you are interested in any of these positions, please send your resume to:

Richard E. Thompson

Merck & Co., Inc..

PO Box 2000


Rahway, New Jersey 07065

or e-mail: richard_thompson@merck.com.


A complete listing of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates summer programs in all disciplines may be found at the following web site:


The list includes over 50 chemistry sites as well as sites in atmospheric sciences, biological sciences, computer and information sciences and engineering, earth sciences, mathematics, physics, materials, astronomy, social, behavioral, and economic sciences. Complete contact information for all programs may be found at this site and most have on-line applications. If you are interested in a summer research program you should definitely check these out. Most offer stipends in the $3000-4000 range for a 10 week program. Many offer additional funds for travel and housing. The research credit earned at these institutions may, in most cases, be transferred to TAMU and applied to your degree plan in chemistry. Hard copies of the chemistry list may be obtained from Dr. Hogg in Room 104 Chemistry.


Electronic applications are now being accepted for both the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) and Graduate Research Environmental Fellowships (GREF) projects as part of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research's Global Change Education Program (GCEP). For information on the GCEP 2001 program and to apply go to: http://www.atmos.anl.gov/GCEP/

Professor Hughbanks is interested in finding an undergraduate chemistry major to work in his lab. Contact him or Carmella Magliocchi at 845-0215 for a discussion if you are interested. You can check out some details of his research by consulting the Chemistry Department home page at www.chem.tamu.edu.

A standing display rack containing information about undergraduate summer research and scholarship opportunities has been set up by Ms. Warren in Room 104


We have information on the American Chemical Society Scholars Program for African American, Hispanic/Latino or American Indian undergraduate chemistry majors in our office. This scholarship program is for high school seniors, or college freshmen, sophomores or juniors who intend to or already are majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering or a chemically related science and who plan a career in the chemical sciences. More information may be obtain at: http://www.acs.org/minorityaffairs/scholars.html or by called 1-800227-5558 (ext 6250) or by sending an e-mail to scholars@acs.org.

Information about summer internships for minorities at the National Science Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland and health-focused internships at the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) network is available in Room 104 Chemistry also.


UTEX Industries has been a leader for 60 years in providing our customers with innovative fluid sealing solutions. Our diverse manufacturing facility is located in rural South Central Texas with easy access to Houston, Austin and San Antonio. We have an opportunity for a Chemist in our rubber processing and molding facility. Working under the direction of the Site Technical Manger, this position will be responsible for developing and improving proprietary rubber compounds and plastics, selecting, testing and implementing materials improvement programs and working with the production staff to improve current processes. We offer competitive salary and benefits in a small town, family friendly setting that is close to urban areas.

We are an equal opportunity employer.

Please submit a resume' and letter of introduction to:

C. D. Rankin

General Manager, Weimar Facility

UTEX Industries, Inc.

P. O. Box 901

Weimar, Texas 78962

or e-mail crankin@utexind.com

Becky Lew (B.S. 1997) e-mailed recently to say that she is still at Nalco/Exxon in Freeport and loving it. They are looking for a B.S. (B.A.) chemist who will graduate in December. The job will be in the QA lab and involves the use of lots of analytical instrumentation. E-mailed resumes may be sent to Diana Kleblenow at dkklevenow@nalcoexxon.com or you may fax them to 979-233-0113. The corporate plant in Sugarland is also looking for some analysts and the resumes will be forwarded there as well.


Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving twenty-five-dollar cars that get 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart, and drive on.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to re-install the engine.

5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car98", or "CarNT". However, even then you would have to buy more seats.

6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on 5 percent of the roads.

7. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car default" warning light.

8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.

9. The airbag system would ask "Are You Sure?" before going off.

10. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps, (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor wanted them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 percent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.

12. Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.