When the COVID-19 pandemic forced UW–Madison’s in-person instruction online in 2020, undergraduate and graduate research students encountered a massive obstacle in their learning: How would they perform their research if they were unable to go into their labs? Michael Aristov, a 5th-year graduate student in the Berry lab in the Department of Chemistry, pivoted to another one of his interests when the pandemic impeded his research. He decided to build augmented reality models to aid chemistry education.
Although art and science are often viewed as unrelated ventures, over the years their coexistence has been realized as more compatible than immiscible. Graduate students from the Department of Chemistry, through their recently established art and literary magazine, are advocating for this interdisciplinary approach and the benefits it renders. The Benzine, besides being a great pun, is a platform for the Chemistry community to share their art, build a sense of community and alleviate stress.
If you’ve ever been on an amusement park ride, been scared suddenly, or maybe even had to address a large crowd when you were nervous; you’ve likely felt your heart start to thump faster even though you weren’t exerting a lot of energy. What happened was a certain chemical compound called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) activated pacemaker ion channels, which caused an increase in electrical activity that led to your heart beating faster.
Stand on the ocean’s shore and take a big whiff of the salt spray and you’ll smell the unmistakably pungent scent of the sea. That ripe, almost rotting smell? That’s sulfur. Marine plankton breathe more than 20 million tons of sulfur into the air every year, mostly in the form of dimethyl sulfide (DMS). In the air, this chemical can transform into sulfuric acid, which helps produce clouds by giving a site for water droplets to form. Over the scale of the world’s oceans, this process affects the entire climate.
Lawrence F. Dahl, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at UW–Madison, passed away unexpectedly on March 20, 2021, at the age of 91. He was preceded in death by his son, Chris Dahl and is survived by his wife of 63 years, Prof. Emerita June Lomnes Dahl and two sons, Lawrence Dahl and Eric Dahl, all of Madison, and grandson Lawrence Samuel Hendon-Dahl.
Chemistry graduate students Christopher Dade (Forest) and Ashley Ogorek (Martell) have been selected for the Department of Defense’s National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (ND- SEG) fellowships, which for three years offer a monthly stipend, travel budget, health insurance and pay tuition and fees.
Christian Gomez, an undergraduate researcher with the Martell group, received an ACS Bridge Travel and Career/Professional Development Award, which helped him attend his first scientific conference – the ACS Meeting & Expo in Atlanta. The award supports underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students by funding conference attendance and career and professional development.
Dr. Pam Doolittle has been promoted to Distinguished Faculty Associate by performing at a level of proficiency, gaining extensive experience, knowledge, and skills, and providing guidance and training to peers and other staff.
The Department of Chemistry chose two recipients for the James W. Taylor Excellence Teaching Award – Prof. Timothy Bertram and senior instructional technology specialist Dr. Rachel Bain.
Stephanie Santos-Diaz, an advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education, and a postdoc at the Department of Chemistry, recently started an Instagram account that is intended to be an empowering resource for underrepresented populations in the STEM field. Six months after her first post in October 2020, the STEMpowerment Instagram page has gained more than 200 followers, and has shared over 40 posts. Santos-Diaz explained that the Instagram page is a way to acknowledge her community and help them to overcome potential barriers.