Saturday, December 1, 2012

Boston College Lecture Visit!

Every semester, the Gordon College Chapter takes advantage of its proximity to the great city of Boston and attends one of the many public lectures given at the famous schools we neighbor. On October 17, 2012, 14 members of the GCACS attended a talk given by Professor Robert Waymouth of Stanford University on “Catalysis: Enabling Science for a Sustainable Future” at Boston College. We carpooled to the college, and unfortunately encountered some difficulty finding it - GPS directions are much better than Google maps directions! Fortunately, the majority of attendees arrived on time. The lecture was interesting – Professor Waymouth is an organic chemist who’s work focuses on studying the effects of catalysts on different organic reactions, especially ones involved in green fuel production. The group left from Boston College to dine at Esperia Grill , a small, local Greek restaurant. We had a little trouble finding the restaurant, but everyone arrived in good spirits. We split off into two tables and shared a delicious meal together!  From there, we carpooled back to Gordon. It was a really fun experience, one I'm excited to have again next semester! Who knows where we'll go?

Look out! It's a hungry Texan!
American Chemists and Greek food!
Group shot!

Thank you, Esperia employees, for helping us take these pictures!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Need Safety?

Well, if you enjoy your eyes, but still want to do Chemistry, the ACS chapter  at Gordon College is actually willing to sell you safety that you can hold in your hands (or, better yet, on your face)!

For $15 a pop, you can buy Lab Safety Goggles from the GCSACS. The proceeds from these goggles will be used to:
  • Provide Scholarships for Freshmen Chemistry Students
  • Fund ACS activities
  • Send Chemistry students to ACS conferences

And other such wonderful Chemistry things.

The goggles pay for themselves in a short while (especially if you are a member of the GCSACS) , are very comfortable, and are full of chemistry #swag. If you wanna buy a set, see any of the chapter officers.

Or head to Dr. Boyd's office, where he will sell the goggles to "y'all".

 - C.J

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Green Chemistry at the Museum of Science in Boston!

Every year, the Museum of Science in Boston hosts a number of "Green" activities and events for Earth Day (April 22). A major part of these events includes a set of tables set up with "Green Science" activities for children. This year, while Biology and Physics were strangely absent, Chemistry was present en masse.

Get it? Physics wasn't there, but Chemistry had mass(e)? Knee-slapper, I know.
Our Chemistry department has sent volunteers to the Museum for Earth Day every year in what has become a tradition for us. Gordon couldn't possibly pass up an opportunity to be Chemically Green!

Not be Green? What name so?
This year, our ACS chapter organized the activities that our volunteers would perform, and nearly all of the volunteers themselves were chapter members. A few of the better loved and more common Green Chemistry education activities were chosen - the creation of biodiesel (p. 5 in the link),

With handy paper demos for explaining the chemistry of the reaction!
and a local favorite: the M&M activity (p. 9 in the link).

Children seem to like this one for some reason.
In addition, a number of volunteers from Gordon operated a separately organized Beyond Benign activity table.
Beyond Benign volunteers, including Ean M. and Owen W. of Gordon College
We left Gordon early, and arrived at the Museum at around 10:30. We set up our table with what supplies were needed, and then the kids rushed us. What kid doesn't get interested when M&M's are added to the situation?
What child wouldn't be dazzled by that smile?
We had enough volunteers that no one person was stuck doing the same activity all day; volunteers often moved from one activity to the other and could even take short breaks.

Gordon volunteers doing activities with children.
Working with the children was quite fun! They were energetic, and open to the concepts of chemistry and sustainability. They ranged from old toddlers to young high schoolers, and their parents were happy to have us work with them.

The kids seemed to like us too.
After many hours and many more children, we packed up and arrived back at Gordon around 5:30. It was a good event and a good experience that we're excited to repeat next year.

You know - provided they keep the scary stuff in the back...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Gustavus John Esselen Lecture

What is the greatest award you could ever receive?

A Nobel Prize?

A Pulitzer Prize?

An Oscer?

A Grammy?

A Green Chapter Award?

Well, while receiving any of these is a great achievement, the prize that should jump to the mind of any Northeastern American Chemist should be the Esselen Award. This award is given annually to chemists whose work has benefited society and given chemistry a good name, and is the highest honor given by the Northeast Section of the American Chemical Society. Each year, the recipient gives a lecture at Harvard University, and then accepts the prize medal and $5000.

Since the revival of the Gordon College Student Chapter of the ACS,  we have attended this event annually. This year, the recipient was Bruce Ganem, gave a talk titled "Lost (Sometimes) In Translation: Advancing Chemical Discoveries Beyond the Laboratory". In this talk, he detailed the work he had done, especially concerning how he helped some of his discoveries in lab to become actual useful consumer products. Among these was an ingenious new method for cleaning donor tissue involving super critical Carbon Dioxide. Prior to attending this event, we had dinner at Border Cafe in Harvard Square. A mixture of students attended, along with Professors Tshudy and Levy.

It's really awesome to be able to see some of the results of dedication to good chemistry. Being as close to Boston as Gordon is opens that opportunity for us.

Thank you to everyone who came!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ninth Anual Green Chemistry Lecture!

Gordon College is a very green school. I'm not just talking about the grass and trees; I'm talking about our clubs and commitments. Every trash can is adjacent to a combined materials recycle bin, and there are many recycle bins that are unaccompanied by trash cans. On top of this, a Gordon club called the Advocates for a Sustainable Future (ASF) offers composting services to students and runs a small vegetable garden on campus.

At Gordon, we drink soda so we can recycle the cans.

Recently, the Gordon College Student Chapter of the American Chemistry Society (SCACS) had the delight of receiving the Green Chapter award from the National American Chemical Society (NACS). This was awarded to us because of the large number of Green Chemistry events organized or supported by our chapter.


One of the events we support and co-organize each year are the lectures of a lecture series on Green Chemistry given by speakers from outside of Gordon. For the past 2 speakers, the SCACS has organized a dinner with the speaker at Su Chang's Restaurant in Peabody, MA. Our most recent speaker was Dr. Michael Cann from the University of Scranton on 3/1/12. He was a very passionate and powerful speaker.

Dr. Cann and Friends prepare for the lecture. Good work team.

His talk was about the basics of Green Chemistry, made understandable to non-scientists. His talk also included some modern examples of Green Chemistry being used in research and industry.

He was a very funny speaker.

He spend a lot of time on the concept of sustainability, and ended his talk with a very emotional point. He showed the audience a picture of his grandchildren, and pointed out to us that sustainability had very little to do with him, but everything to do with these children. It was a very moving declaration; he obviously loves his grandchildren very much, and he's right: sustainability preformed by us isn't for us. It's for our children's children.  

After this, two of our Chemistry faculty, Dr Cann, and a number of ACS members carpooled to Su Chang's restaurant. Among the attending students were myself, Bria P., Ruth C., Stacy S., Sophi W., Ben S., Justin A., Sarah M., and others. We enjoyed wonderful Chinese food and great conversation, discussing everything from Chemistry to farming and even deadly Japanese fish.

These events will be held every year, and the ACS hopes to be able to continue to support them. Thank you to all who came, and we welcome more to come next time!

(Dr.'s Cann, Tshudy, and Levy)



Beyond Benign students being Actively Benign.
What a winning smile!
Cute, Stacey. But revenge is sweet.....
The Official Presidential Stance (TM), pioneered by Obama himself.
Justin imitating the Official Presidential Stance (TM).
Not sure if these are green chemists...or happy undergrads...
They're Both!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

San Diego Blog

Chemists do research! And Chemists like to hang out!

So why not get 20,000+ of them together to do both?

Next week, in San Diego, there will be a national meeting of the ACS. Chemists from all over the country will come to talk about their research and simply connect with each other about the subject they love.

Because GCSA is awesome, they have graciously provided for 7 students to attend this conference. 6 of these students have all been doing Chemistry research for at least a year, and all have posters they will be bringing to the conference in order to present in the Undergraduate poster conference. The remaining student will be presenting our chapter poster as an officer of our local chapter.

These students include Bria P., Ben S., Kristen E., Ariel G., Justin A., Rachael A., and myself.

We will be running a separate blog during this trip where we will document the events and experiences that occur during our trip. Check it often! The web address is, and is open for all 7 of us to post on.

Thanks for looking at that blog!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Organic Catalysis at Harvard

There are many amazing things about the city of Boston.

We have beaches and snow; we have world famous art museums and the American Revolution started in our backyard. But, for budding Chemists, Boston has a precious resource that would be criminal to ignore.

Schools. Really big, really old, really fancy, and extremely respected schools.

I'm talking about those big names: Harvard, Tufts, WPI, BU, Emerson, MIT, Northeastern, Suffolk, the University of Massachusetts, and many more. Because of their prestige, colleges like these are regularly able to invite professors and other important people from across the country and world to speak and lecture at their schools. Even better, most of these lectures are free to attendees and open to the public. Since we're only a half hour from the city, we decided that we should take advantage of this.

So an elite team was formed to conduct an investigation. This team was ordered to peruse the schools of Boston, finding the most epic and interesting speakers and lectures that would be held in the following month.  This team of experts included myself and Stacy S., and we received quite a bit of support from the Chemistry professors and ACS officers. After two rounds of voting, the chapter decided to attend an Organic Chemistry Talk at Harvard on Feb 27th called “Reaction Design and Catalysis with Aromatic Ions”, given by Tristan Lambert of Columbia University.

There were 6 people who ended up being able to go, including two people who had never been to an ACS meeting before: Shanell P. and Alanah P. In addition to them, we were joined by myself, Justin A., Ben S., and Stacy S. We got there in the nick of time and sat down to enjoy a wonderful lecture.

 Heading out to the lecture!

Dr. Lambert spoke about the research he and his research group were conducting back at Columbia. They have been working with aromatic ions (specifically, cyclopropenium ions) and exploring their use in catalyzing common organic reactions. Because we are a chapter that is very focused on green Chemistry, we were excited to hear his concern about the atom economy and general wastefulness of common organic reactions. It was especially exciting to note that he almost never mentioned the word "green" during the lecture; he just considered this to be a common sense concern. In addition, he was able to not only catalyze these reactions with a great atom economy, his group often increased the yield and speed of the reactions they explored. All in all, it was a great and very exciting lecture.

They're on the steps of Harvard's Chemistry building. It's ok to be jealous.

After the lecture, we went to Fire and Ice, which was literally across the street from our parking (what luck!). We enjoyed a wonderfully yummy and well priced dinner, and headed back to Gordon.

 Why are they so happy?

Ahh, there's the reason. You can be jealous again.

Trips like this are slated to occur every quad, so if you know of any talks happening in Boston or would like to come with us, don't hesitate to let me know!

Thanks to the ACS for funding, and to Justin A. for being a gracious driver!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Something a little different

Hey Ya'll.

So on Feb. 25, we went out on a limb and did something a little crazy.

Bet you can't guess....

  1. Nothing blew up. One or two things might have burnt though.
  2. There was a gathering of nerds with no academic goal. (pretty crazy, right?)
  3. We literally communicated with Physics.
Here are some pictures to help you out:

Exhibit 1: Not blowing up.

It's not your first guess.
Exhibit 2: Non-academic nerds. 

Yeah, Gordon has beautiful nerds, so what? Deal with it. #StepYaNerdsUp

Exhibit 3: Communicating with Physics.

Physics in it's living state. Don't make any sudden movements.

Alright! Time's up! What did you guess?

Well, if you said "Chemistry-Physics pancake party at VP Bria's house", you're right!

We all got there around 5, and played "telephone" while the pancakes were being cooked.

 At one point, there was a Baboon with a blue bottom. No joke.

Meanwhile, the amazing VP and Friends (we're trying to get them to form a band) performed something wonderful for us to the tune of about 200 pancakes, and other breakfast foods.

 Two of the "Friends" performing with gusto.

There was great turnout, with around 20 people from all classes and from both the ACS and physics club. The total cost was small, since everyone donated a little something to help out.

Chemistry's little helpers

After the meal was served, we just hung out for a while, till someone pulled a mountain of movies out of Bria's Family Movie Stash (C).

 Madam StashHunter

We watched Captain America (chosen by popular vote and a coin toss the break the tie!), which was a great and relaxing way to end the night.

 Relaxed Chemists in their natural environment. They're a very rare specimen.

By the time 9 rolled around, the movie had finished and the atmosphere consented to a collective movement in the direction of Gordon College.

 A tired Chemist. A much more common sub-species.

So, on behalf of the ACS, thank you to everyone who came, and thank you to everyone who donated to the party effort! And most of all:

Thank You Vice President and Family for Hosting the ACS/Physics Club Pancake Party!!!

Next Pancake Party coming soon to an ACS near you!