|Unexpected "Superman's origins!" crystal formation of a desired product in a fraction left unattended after column chromatography by Karen Brown '08 in the Vosburg lab|
Dear Harvey Mudd Chemists:
Welcome to our fifth Harvey Mudd Chemistry Department Annual Report. It has been an exciting year in the life of the College and the changes have influenced chemistry significantly. Major college events in the past year include the arrival of Maria Klawe, the fifth president of Harvey Mudd College, and college-wide strategic planning process. As the strategic planning process nears completion this spring and summer, a guide for the development of the college for the next 10-20 years will be in place.
Some major topics that appear to be emerging from the strategic planning process include the importance of undergraduate research, community outreach and sustainability. Chemistry is certainly well positioned to engage these topics. The department has always maintained that research is one of the best ways to teach chemistry. Additionally, the department has recently implemented a new first-year laboratory program that involves service learning. Lastly, the topic of “green chemistry” has been an important movement in recent years and it dovetails nicely with sustainability issues.
Additional changes in the first-year laboratory that have been phased in this past fall incorporate the full implementation of service-learning where our students engaged Vista del Valle Elementary School students in Claremont in science and environmental topics. Highlights of this process include sessions where Harvey Mudd first-year students worked with the students to deliver a graphing lesson, describe the scientific method, explain how lead came to occur in local soils (from tetra-ethyl lead in gasoline), develop a hypothesis with the students about how lead levels might vary in the adjacent park, help students sample the soil in the park, and report back the results of the analysis of the soil samples. The process was full of challenges, however we were pleased by the results of this “alpha test” of the project, which has been funded by a grant from NSF.
The 2005-2006 academic year was another exciting one for undergraduate research. There are senior theses (four of them are Joint Chemistry-Biology majors), numerous underclass research projects, and 27 summer research students. Funding for these students came from a variety of sources including NSF-REU, ACS-PRF, NSF, AAAS-Merck, NIH, HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute), the Beckman Foundation, and the Dreyfus Foundation. In addition, 10 students traveled to Atlanta for the 2006 Spring ACS Spring National Meeting to present posters. As usual, our large contingent attracted a lot of positive attention from
Here’s hoping that your electrons all transfer, your batteries all charge, your checks all clear, your peaks get resolved, and your taxes get done in 2007!
With warm regards,