G. William Daub, 1978, Seely W. Mudd Professor of Chemistry
B.A., Pomona College; Ph.D., Stanford University
Another year of big changes. In addition to taking a sabbatical semester this spring, I have been moving my office and lab from the second floor to the first floor. This means …. I am cleaning out my office! It has been 16 years since the facilities and maintenance people moved my office without my supervision. The place never did get organized. I am now remedying that as I move down a floor. Alumni who return will not recognize the place.
Over the past year I have been working on the committee that is implementing a new Core Curriculum for the College. Portions of the new core will be piloted as early as fall 2009 and spring 2010. Among the major changes in the new core will be increased electivity for students (they will be able to have one entirely free elective during each of the first three semesters) and more opportunities for interdisciplinary work. The new core will include trimmed offerings in math, chemistry, and physics, and it will feature a half course in writing and a new lab described as a “Choice Lab”. The new writing course will have an 8:1 student to faculty ratio and will be taught by members of all departments, not just Humanities, Social Science and the Arts. The Choice Lab will be offered by all departments in some form or another and will be interdisciplinary in nature. The chemistry portion of the core will be reduced by 1.5 units of lecture and one semester of laboratory, and Choice Labs are anticipated to include a chemistry-biology lab and a chemistry and the environment lab.
On the family front, my eldest son, Eric, just defended his PhD dissertation at UCSB and will be starting a postdoc in geophysics related studies at Los Alamos Labs in September. He continues to run and brew excellent beer. My second son, Brian, is finishing his third year as a physics graduate student in physics at MIT. He will continue his experimental work this summer at the University of Kentucky. He recently detected “carbon recoil”, but I do not think it was organic chemistry he was looking at! My third son, Michael, is finishing his first year of graduate study in mathematics at Berkeley where he is (most likely) studying number theory. I thought kids learned numbers in the 2nd or 3rd grade …. it must be that “new math” stuff. Bringing up the rear, Mary Beth will be a junior chemistry major (finally, a chemist) at Williams. She even likes organic synthesis and will do synthesis research this summer. My wife, Sandy, continues her pediatric practice of 27 years and now officially knows more about computers than I do.
Best wishes for a successful and happy 2009 and 2010!
Karl A. Haushalter, 2003
B.A., Rice University; Ph.D., Harvard University
The Haushalter Lab was buzzing with activity this past year as we had six students working hard to unravel the biochemistry of protein-nucleic acid interactions. Our long-standing interest in DNA repair in chromatin continues and this torch was carried for 2008-2009 by Daniel Garcia ('10), Caitlin Olmsted ('10), and Ethan Sokol ('10). This year also marked the debut of two new exciting avenues of research. Hannah Savage ('10) used her computational skills to develop a mathematical model for the damage recognition mechanism employed by DNA glycosylases -- my first venture into mathematical biology. Christina Snyder ('09) and Vik Shivaji ('10) initiated a project to study APOBEC3G, a cytidine deaminase that functions in the defense of human cells against retroviruses including HIV. Christina and Vik's work with APOBEC3G followed an initial study began by Karen Chiu (Williams, '10) and Alex Torres (Harvard, '11) during the previous summer.
The APOBEC3G project in my research lab is part of a growing personal and professional interest in HIV-AIDS. In the fall, I taught the first full-scale version of the HIV-AIDS integrative experience course which had been piloted in spring 2008. Students in the course studied the molecular details of the virus-host interaction and wrestled with the complex ways individuals and societies respond to this pandemic. For their service learning project, the students presented a week-long series of events in December to mark World AIDS Day and to raise money and awareness for HIV-AIDS. In addition to the HIV-AIDS class, I had the opportunity to teach first-year chemistry, the senior chemical biology seminar, and our first semester organic chemistry course. In the organic course, I introduced a peer-teaching model and was pleased to have the capable assistance of Andrew Chung ('10), Jonathan Litz ('09), Tarun Narayan ('10), and Ethan Sokol ('10).
At home, I continue to be amazed at how fast my daughter Laura is growing up. She just turned six years old and her current interests include ballet, Broadway musicals, math, and Polly Pockets. My wife Jenny is teaching kindergarten at Mt Baldy Elementary and making plans for our upcoming family trip this summer to France where most of Jenny's extended family lives.
On a final celebratory note, I am pleased to report that the College has decided to promote me to the rank of associate professor with tenure. I would like to thank all of my current and former students, colleagues, supporters, mentors, and family who helped me reach this important milestone. This promotion bestowed upon me is really a recognition of the important work which we accomplished together. I look forward to serving many more classes of Harvey Mudd students.
Adam R. Johnson, 1999
B.A., Oberlin College; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
During academic year 2008-2009, my professional life has focused on the usual, (teaching classes, managing my research program) and the unusual (spending WAY too much time on online video conferencing for my ionicviper.org website). I was a member of the team that wrote a diversity essay for the colleges upcoming reacreditation, I was on the “new writing course” development committee, and I am one of the 5 faculty members for the new writing course to be piloted this coming fall.
I taught analytical chemistry for the third time in the fall, including the popular fish tank lab. In the spring, I taught inorganic with lab, and for the first time, a section of chem 58 (carbons lab!). I really enjoyed teaching the introductory synthesis lab, and hope to do it in the future.
On the research front, I had between three and five students in my group for the past six semesters. They keep me very busy. I like having a large group, but it remains a real challenge for me to stay on top of things. We finally brought a big project to completion (the 2nd generation ligand project) and expect our paper to appear in Tet. Asym. very soon. We continued our epic struggle to make improvements in our asymmetric hydroamination, resulting in some great new “tantalizing” results using Tantalum catalysts. I won’t spoil the punchline, so expect to see one or two brief reports coming from work in the lab this summer!
My most exciting professional activity continues to be the online social network of inorganic chemists that has grown out of funding from the Mellon Foundation and now funded by the NSF-CCLI program. The Interactive Online Network of Inorganic Chemists (IONiC, appropriately spelled with element symbols) was developed by faculty from eight undergraduate institutions across four time zones. For this academic year, the sun has truly never set on the group, as one of us is on sabbatical in Australia! The approximately quarterly face-to-face meetings are some of my most stimulating intellectual activities. We again hosted a session at the Spring ACS meeting, and sponsored several social events. If you haven’t already, check us out at http://www.ionicviper.org. We have recently begun a regular column in the Journal of Chemical Education highlighting some of the great teaching and learning activities on our website.
This report wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my family. Wendy still teaches violin (a lot) including gigs with the San Bernardino and Redlands symphony orchestras. She is also doing a lot of international travel as part of her training to become an Alexander technique instructor. Natty really enjoyed 2nd grade. He continues to enjoy ballet, and this year added piano and soccer. Mia is finishing up her last year of preschool and is looking forward to going to kindergarten in the fall. She is doing ballet and piano as well. Mom and Dad are pretty busy carting the kids around. I have continued runngin ½ marathons up and down California; I have started doing trail races (15k and 22k so far, with a 15 miler set for early June). I am scheduled to run both the St. George marathon (November 2009) and the Pasadena marathon (February 2010).
Kerry K. Karukstis, 1984
B.S., Duke University; Ph.D., Duke University
2008-2009 marked my 25th year at the College! Where has the time gone? My teaching schedule hasn’t changed much over the years with PChem in the fall and General Chemistry and Biophysical Chemistry this past spring. I’m a devoted tablet user for classes with everything that I write on the tablet downloaded for later electronic viewing- no more chalk! Re-do pchem homework problems and the one-problem pchem final still remain…. The year ended with a terrific surprise - receiving the Joseph B. Platt Chair in Effective Teaching - a wonderful recognition of my efforts both on campus and nationally through the Council on Undergraduate Research. Thank you to all of my students - past and present - you have inspired me over the years and kept me eager to do all that I can to help us learn together.
My research is focused on using steady-state fluorescence and both optical and fluorescence microscopy to characterize phase diagrams of “green” surfactants in water and in “green solvents” such as ionic liquids. VH and I have a joint project funded by the National Science Foundation to support these investigations. I had the wonderful honor of delivering this year’s Presentation Days Keynote Address. My talk ws entitled “Taking Undergraduate Research from Good to GREAT: Pivotal Junctures in the Undergraduate Research Enterprise”. I took the opportunity to highlight some of the defining moments in the history of Harvey Mudd College that have propelled our undergraduate research enterprise on its journey from good to great. I also suggested the next steps that the College should take to retain its pre-eminence in undergraduate research and remain at the forefront of the undergraduate research landscape. Most importantly, I had a chance to express my thanks to HMC students - past and present - you’re pivotal in shaping faculty research programs and in enabling the College to achieve a tremendous national reputation for outstanding collaborative student-faculty research. THANK YOU!
My life would not be complete without travel! Research conferences, my NSF-ADVANCE collaborative grant, the Council on Undergraduate Research, and just plain relaxation took me to Vancouver Island; Warsaw, Poland; Seattle; Salt Lake City; Washington, D.C.; Hope College in Holland, Michigan; Paris, France; Haverford College outside Philadelphia; and the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN, just to name a few of the places visited during this past year.
Finally, my dog KC and I continue our walks all over the campuses and Claremont in search of entertaining critters. The chickens at Pitzer, the rabbits on the East Field at HMC, the mallard ducks at Pomona, the geese at a neighbor’s house, the coyotes in the Santa Ana Botanical Gardens bordering my yard - no day is complete without visiting these creatures. As Joseph Priestley said, “Pleasure in small things: what delight!”
I wish you all the best and hope that you will keep in touch!
Gerald Van Hecke ’61, 1970
B.S., Harvey Mudd College; Ph.D., Princeton University
Academic 2008-2009 in the fall was filled with pchem lab, Industrial Chemistry, and C161 Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics. My spring assignment was C52 Group Theory, Quantum Chemistry, and Spectroscopy [G,Q&S] and Lasers in Chemistry. I also directed two seniors in a glass blowing reading course-it is amazing how good you can become blowing ring seals when you make lots of them!
A couple of old hands graduated this year leaving a large void in the lab for the summer and next year. Josh Cobb and Aurora Pribram-Jones finished up their senior year and are now looking for new adventures in the real world. Also Judy Hines returned from Trinity College Dublin to work on alkyl galactoside phase diagrams for her senior thesis after working with Professor Karukstis and me in the summer of 2007.
The spring sophomore intro to research program saw new recruits Thomas Avila ’11 and Arthur Vasek ’11 sign on to resurrect the pzieo-optic coefficient project and construct an apparatus to measure the Rayleigh ratio of several liquids especially toluene. Also joining the group for this spring was Cassie George ’11 who started learning the ropes of the alkyl sugar-water phase diagram project.
The summer promises to be exciting and busy since the Karukstis/Van Hecke joint project looking to study green surfactants funded by the NSF will support four summer research students. Add to these four students others supported by NSF REU funds will make for a laboratory full of activity – and little rest for the mentors.
For the past two years I have attended the spring and fall National ACS meetings to work with the ACS Examination Committee refining the diagnostic undergraduate chemical knowledge exam, aka DUCK. The examination is now available and the committee work finished. Those of you teaching at PUIs might considering using the examination with your graduating chemistry majors. The examination is not your typical multiple choice ACS examination but is designed to test the ability of a knowledgeable senior chemistry major to apply to chemical reasoning to a real life problem.
Most tasks have the possibility of consuming all available time and my duties as Associate Dean of Faculty of Administration, Coordinator of Undergraduate Research has demonstrated that for the last three years. Again this summer there will be on the order of 170 students engaged in research across all departments mentored by 45 or so faculty. Exciting times for all involved.
Alumni Association activities continue to occupy a significant portion of “free time” by working the Board of Governors of the Alumni Association as a member of the Admissions Committee and member of the Selection Committee. This year I also took on the role of Treasurer = Chair of the Alumni Fundd committee. Probably many of you have received some sort of communication from me basically asking for money. Please continue to be generous – alumni contributions really do count in the big scheme of things. To those of you out there who helped staffing high school college nights, thank you again. The Selections committee by the way is responsible for suggesting Honorary Alumni, Outstanding Alumni, Hall of fame Athletes, and a new recognition Lifetime Recognition Awards. Check out the Alumni web site. Volunteers and suggestions for honorees are always welcome.
Hal Van Ryswyk, 1986
B.A., Carleton College; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison
It really feels good to get back to your own lab after a year away! On the other hand, not having MALDI-TOF MS and a state-of-the-art SEM just down the hall takes a little readjustment of attitude… Nonetheless, dye-sensitized solar cell research is alive and well at HMC, focusing on zinc porphyrins adsorbed on zinc oxide nanotubes. Seniors Nancy Eisenmenger, Ryan Pakula, Steven Pankratz, and Trevor McQueen built a solar simulator, synthesized new dyes, grew nanowires of ZnO, and assembled working solar test cells. Senior Glennis Rayermann and junior Tarun Narayan worked on the more mature metal-metal coupling project in osmium porphyrin dimers. The entire group presented a poster at the inaugural Gordon Research Conference on Renewable Energy: Solar Fuels held in Ventura in February—they were the only undergraduates there!
Hal taught in the first-year General Chemistry course in the fall, taking on the thermodynamics section. He also participated in a special topics course cross-listed in engineering, physics, and chemistry. Titled Materials Science of Energy Conversion and Storage, the course featured twenty-four junior and senior students from a range of majors and featured HMC Chemistry alumnus Eric Toberer as instructor. Under the capable leadership of Bill Daub, the Lead Project visited its third elementary school, Mountain View in the Claremont Unified School District. At this point the project has mapped soil lead levels on school playgrounds adjacent to the San Bernardino freeway, Arrow Highway, and Foothill Boulevard (old U.S. Route 66). Spring marked the twentieth time teaching advanced analytical chemistry and the associated laboratory. Laboratory projects this year focused on food and drugs, including extracting cocaine from high-denomination currency, determining if someone is a smoker by looking for metabolites of nicotine in their hair, determining the various alpha and beta bitter acids in hops, and testing for leaded paint on toys submitted by interested Claremont Colleges faculty and staff.
On the home front, daughter Liesl finished her second year of graduate work in neuroscience (she’s now ABD!), while Claire spent her junior year of college abroad studying dance, splitting time between Middlesex University in London and the Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo, Italy. Given the choice of visiting her in London in December versus Tuscany in March, you might guess which trip her parents made! Charlotte returned from sabbatical to teach elementary music and strings in the Claremont Unified School District.
David A.Vosburg, 2005
B.A. Williams College, Ph.D. The Scripps Research Institute
My fourth year at HMC included my first delightful foray into teaching biochemistry. In the class, I combined several of Karl Haushalter's interactive case studies with some NSF-sponsored Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) activities that are being developed by a pair of biochemists at Seattle University. In the lab course, students purified and characterized the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase from chicken breast and then pursued their own ideas with the enzyme for the final three weeks. Teaching organic chemistry is lots of fun, too, of course!
Four of my former senior thesis students contributed to our biomimetic synthesis of the antifungal natural product davanone; this work was recently published in Organic Letters. Our success has led us to explore other applications of our biomimetic cyclization reaction and also to seek an even shorter synthesis of davanone. Recent grant support for this project has come from the Christian Scholars Foundation, the Merck-AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program, and a Beckman Scholarship for Kanny Wan ‘11.
Our synthetic efforts towards the endiandric acids continue, and we think we are discovering a nice, modular route to polyenes using protected boronic acids. Andrew Chung ‘10 won an ACS Organic Division Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship to work on this project. Our computational collaborations with Bob Cave on the endiandric acid polycyclization cascade have yielded some interesting results that we hope to report soon.
My group continues to develop new green experiments for teaching laboratories. We have submitted manuscripts for a mild, enzymatic preparation of the flavorant divanillin and an asymmetric, organocatalytic synthesis of the anticoagulant warfarin. We are currently exploring other biomimetic and bio-friendly syntheses of biologically active molecules for use in HMC labs and elsewhere.
Two long-awaited papers were finally published in 2008, including a protein NMR article in Nature from my postdoc work at Harvard and a description of my organic synthesis course in the Journal of Chemical Education.
On the home front, my wife Kate is enjoying her work with the Mudd-Scripps InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and our son Nate turns three this summer. We are in the process of adopting our foster daughter Isabella, who was born in November 2008. Nate loves her, and we do, too! Kate and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary with a trip to Glacier National Park while my parents watch the kids.
Kimberly Young, 1989
It's been a fun year working with our new chair, Hal. Like Bill, he's enjoyable to work for and I considered myself very blessed to hold such a GOOD job with such great people to work beside. In today's market, to hold a good job AND enjoy it as well is, indeed, worthy to speak of! As we step forward to a "greener" world, a lot of our communication is now on the web (e.g. Annual Report) or facebook. Facebook is our newest, fun place to catch up ... it's brand new, and we're looking to expand our group, "Harvey Mudd College Chemistry." Please log on and join. (www.groups.to/hmcchem) You can also update your alumni status on the web. (www.hmc.edu/chemalumupdate)
On a personal note, my girls are now 17 & 15 ... and, yes, one is driving! Cynthia loves her new-found freedom, is working part time at Synegen (with Dr. Baker) and will be a senior this coming semester. She's still deciding on her "future" plans. She is very creative and artsy and might follow her passion for MAC and become a make up artist. My rising sophomore, Jessica, will try out for the high school cheer squad next year. She took a six-week history class this summer to get that yearly requirement out of the way, and will now enjoy a class of her choice when school starts. She still has a strong interest in cooking, and is quite talented in the kitchen. Of course, we all love it when she bakes!! Me, well, I just make sure my girls are where they need to be, have what they need to have, and all the other requirements of parenting. At the same time, we have increased our "pet" family to four cats, and still tend to our geriatric doxie (who is almost 16 years old.) However, she's still quite "spry" for an old girl! I've become quite a "handy woman" learning electric repairs, installing ceiling fans and light fixtures, replacing toilets and flooring, and figuring out a miter box!