Professor of Chemistry
Chemistry - Delocalized Hydrocarbon Dications, Antiaromaticity
My research interests are in the preparation of hydrocarbon dications which may be antiaromatic, as well as in the use of those dications in the synthesis of novel polycyclic aromatic compounds. More detailed information can be found in my research description
New students are welcome to join my group as early
as their first semester at Trinity. Many students have successfully done
this in the past and I have also had beneficial research collaborations with
high school students. . Those interested in more information are encouraged
to stop by my office.
Information of interest to my current research students can be found at: lab information
The chemistry curriculum at Trinity is unusual in that it begins organic chemistry in the second semester of the first year, with the normal year sequence concluding in the first semester of the second year. The biologists like this because the students taking Cellular and Molecular Biology and I, as an organic chemist, like it because students who have completed the first year at college, and therefore the first semester of organic chemistry, are able to be productive researchers in the summer after that first year. I firmly believe that an early exposure to research is extremely valuable to students in making effective career decisions and am pleased that the curriculum facilitates this.
My primary activities are in the organic sequence, Chemistry 1319 and
2320, and in the associated labs, Chemistry 1119 and Chemistry 2220. The
first laboratory focuses on the techniques of organic chemistry; the second
on the use of those techniques in synthesis. The goal of the second semester
lab is to help the students become independent in the lab; to that aim, the
majority of laboratory experiments are open-ended, with each student in a
section working on a project that is similar to his or her neighbors but
with different reagents. Thus, each student must rely on his or her observations
in lab, rather than the experiences of his or her neighbor. Students are
routinely involved in off-line processing of NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance)
spectra for each experiment, which means that the students process and analyze
the NMR data on their experiments which has been obtained by a student technician.
This removes the routine aspects of data collection from the students and
makes it possible for each student to learn the more sophisticated aspects
of data processing and analysis.
Most recently, I have become involved in a non-science majors class titled Chemistry and Crime. We analyze for drugs using spot tests and thin layer chromatography, for evidence of the fuels used in arson sites with GC/mass spectrometry, look at crime scene DNA using PCR (polymerase chair reaction) and gel electrophoresis, and characterize our fingerprints and visualize those of a criminal with Super Glue. Best of all, we do blood spatter analysis and visualization of blood with luminol and other reagents. The class appears to be a great hit.