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Science Division Seminars

[Lexington ACS Section] [University of Kentucky Chemistry Department]

Today is March 31, 2020
Our next speaker will be Geraldine Richmond from University of Oregon speaking about
"TBA - Roderick Seminar"
on April 1, 2020 in MAC 455 4PM.

Abstract - Seminar delayed due to cancellation of in-person classes this spring

Sorted by Date - Add a new speaker

Speaker Distribution from 2020 to 1973
234 Speakers total
Physical Chemists: 37, Organic Chemists: 50, Inorganic Chemists: 23
Biological Chemists: 54, Analytical Chemists: 29, Forensic Chemists: 3
Astronomy: 5, Physics: 10, Geology: 4
Geochemistry: 1, Other: 3
  • Constance Bailey, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, "Chemical Transformations with Type I Polyketide Synthases: Investigations at the Domain, Module, and Host Levels ", October 17, 2019  modify info for Constance Bailey's 10-2019 seminar
    Abstract - Type I Polyketide Synthases (PKSs), pathways primarily found in soil bacteria (such as actinobacteria) present numerous opportunities to engineer a broad range of chemical scaffolds. Due to their modular nature, there is a great ability to predict the structure of the metabolite from sequence, termed the principle of collinearity. Harnessing this biological machinery can be implemented at three different levels. First, because there is exquisite stereochemical control arising from domains which intrinsically lack high binding affinity to their substrate (due to having their substrate delivered intramolecularly), there is a lot of potential to use these domains and engineer them as standalone biocatalysts for unnatural substrates. In our laboratory, we seek to determine how to perturb small energetic differences to effect stereoselectivity, with particular focus on the ketoreductase (KR) domain. At the next level, while engineering individual domains as biocatalysts has utility, understanding the interacting selectivities of the domains that comprise a module affords the ability to engineer a broad range of valuable chemical motifs. While the promise of the PKS platform has been extensively noted, implementing the power of PKSs has been hampered by lacking a full understanding of these interacting selectivities. We seek to transfer some of the findings from our individual domain engineering experiments to implement changes and engineer the multidomain systems. Finally, we seek to produce small molecules in various host organisms, which requires understanding how these proteins behave in various heterologous hosts, and the effects on folding, precursor availability, and protein activity.
  • Geoff Coates, Cornell University, "In Pursuit of the Perfect Plastic", April 5, 2019  modify info for Geoff Coates's 04-2019 seminar
    Abstract - Society depends on polymeric materials more now than at any other time in history. Although synthetic polymers are indispensable in a diverse array of applications, ranging from commodity packaging and structural materials to technologically complex biomedical and electronic devices, their synthesis and disposal pose important environmental challenges. The focus of our research is the development of sustainable routes to polymers that have reduced environmental impact. This lecture will focus on our research to transition from fossil fuels to renewable resources for polymer synthesis, as well as the development of polymeric materials designed to bring positive benefits to the environment.
  • Dr. Erendra Manandhar, Berea College, "TBA", September 27, 2018  modify info for Dr. Erendra Manandhar's 09-2018 seminar
  • George M Whitesides, Harvard University, "Roderick Seminar 2018 - Soft Robotics", March 26, 2018  modify info for George M Whitesides's 03-2018 seminar
    Abstract - "Robotics" is a field with broad interest: it combines mechanical engineering, information science, and animal physiology with manufacturing, workforce development, economics, and other areas. The most highly developed classes of robots have been build based on conceptual models provided by the body-plans of animals with skeletons (humans, horses), and have made it possible to carry out tasks that humans and animals could not (for a variety of reasons). We are interested in robots based a different, simpler class of organisms (invertebrates: starfish, worms, octopi). Because these organisms, and the robots having designs stimulated by them, have no skeletons, they provide enormous opportunities in materials and polymer science, rather than primarily in mechanical engineering. This seminar will outline one approach to soft robots, and suggest problems and opportunities in this new field.
  • George Whitesides, Harvard University, "Reengineering Chemistry", March 26, 2018  modify info for George Whitesides's 03-2018 seminar
    Abstract - Chemistry is facing a set of very important challenges, and ones that are very different than those it has addressed in the past. This talk will outline some of the reason that the agenda of the field is changing, and how it may have to change in response.
  • Malcolm Forbes, Bowling Green State University, "Not So Free Radicals", February 1, 2018  modify info for Malcolm Forbes's 02-2018 seminar
    Abstract - In this lecture I will give an overview of time-resolved and steady–state electron paramagnetic resonance (TREPR and SSEPR) spectroscopies describe and their application in the study of radical structure, dynamics, and reactivity. I will emphasize the use of these techniques in probing chemical systems experiencing restricted translational or rotational motion. Examples of such systems include polymer coatings, structured fluids, microbubbles, nanocrystals, reverse micelles, and vesicles. The TREPR technique is useful because it detects the primary photochemical events rather than rearrangements or secondary photolysis products. Examining radicals on the sub-microsecond time scale also allows us to examine the interplay between spin wave function evolution and diffusion in confined spaces (“spin chemistry”). In the second part of my talk I will demonstrate use of TREPR and SSEPR in polymer degradation chemistry, the topology of singlet oxygen production in heterogeneous structures such as vesicles and micelles, the photochemical “skunking” of beer by sunlight, biocompatible photopolymerization reactions, and the photoreactivity of sunless tanning lotions. Finally, I will present a brief history and overview of the Center for Pure & Applied Photosciences at BGSU, highlighting our faculty, recent research results, and our facilities.
  • Johnathan N. Brantley, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, "Unmasking Latent Reactivity though Materials and Methods", September 19, 2017  modify info for Johnathan N. Brantley's 09-2017 seminar
    Abstract - The interplay between macroscopic forces and chemical reactivity has attracted significant interest, given the potential to harness this surprising phenomenon for an array of applications in materials science and synthetic methodology. Polymer mechanochemistry, wherein exogenous forces drive chemistry within polymeric matrices, has emerged at the forefront of efforts directed toward harnessing stress to access new reactivity modes. Through the combination of experiment and theory, our efforts have unveiled fundamental insights that hold promise for multifarious applications. Salient examples include mechanical cycloreversions of 1,2,3-triazoles, as well as the suppression of certain dissociative reactions under strain. Moreover, concepts from these systems could be applied to rationally design biological molecules with predictable responses to force. Moving beyond a macromolecular focus, we have explored strategies for isolating reactive intermediates in trifluoromethylative processes and probing their innate chemistry. Taken together, this work suggests exciting directions for unlocking hidden reactivity to access new chemical space.
  • Mary Robert Garrett, Berea College, "The Synthesis of Tetracenes--A Possible Route to Renewable Energy", September 14, 2017  modify info for Mary Robert Garrett's 09-2017 seminar
    Abstract - Work conducted at the University of Nottingham during Professor Garrett's one year sabbatical in 2016-2017
  • Bob Howell, Central Michigan University, "Nontoxic Phosphorus Flame Retardants from Renewable Biosources", March 2, 2017  modify info for Bob Howell's 03-2017 seminar
    Abstract - Polymeric materials are pervasive in modern society and are largely responsible for the high standard of living enjoyed by citizens of much of the world. For most applications, polymeric materials must be flame retarded. Traditionally, organohalogen compounds, particularly brominated aromatics, have been prominent flame retardants. However, these materials are stable in the environment, tend to bioaccumulate, and may pose a risk to human health. Replacements are needed. Organophosphorus compounds offer the greatest potential to fill this need. They are readily available from synthesis and are generally less toxic than their organohalogen counterparts. In particular, effective organophosphorus compounds derived from renewable biosources offer the potential for low toxicity. In addition, they are independent of price fluctuations in the petrochemical markets. A variety of phosphorus compounds based on annually-renewable biosources (starch, plant oils, tartaric acid, chitosan) have been prepared and shown to provide good flame retardancy in DGEBA epoxy resin using standard small scale tests [limiting oxygen index (LOI), UL 94 vertical burn, microcalorimetry (mcc)].
  • Ampofo Darko, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, "Principles of Strain in Synthesis and Catalysis", January 10, 2017  modify info for Ampofo Darko's 01-2017 seminar
    Abstract - The concept of strain, as discussed in terms of bond length, bond angle, and torsional distortions, has been an invaluable tool for organic chemists. Strain energies provide a way to examine compounds of unusual geometries and also offer an explanation of the driving force for certain reactions. The ability to harness the energy of strained compounds has resulted in very rapid reactions with numerous applications. Specifically discussed in this talk is ongoing work implementing the concept of strain in the design of ligands for rhodium complexes as catalysts in metal-carbenoid reactions.
  • Neil Ayres, University of Cincinnati, "Heparin inspired polymers for blood-contacting biomaterials at 11 AM in room 101", September 24, 2015  modify info for Neil Ayres's 09-2015 seminar
    Abstract - Biomaterials interface with biological systems to improve or treat these systems. The biocompatibility and performance of a biomaterial is dependent on the chemistry of the material. In our work we have focused on polymer blood-compatibility. Our primary goal has been to prepare synthetic polyureas that can mimic the function of heparin, a naturally occurring anticoagulant polysaccharide. This presentation will detail our progress in this area including the synthesis methodology we have developed, and our investigations into various structure property relationships. These relationships include the identity of pendant sugars on the polyurea and the isocyanates used to make the polymer. Recent work looking at shape memory properties will also be included. Neil Ayres received his Ph. D. in chemistry from the University of Warwick in 2003 where he worked for Prof. David Haddleton investigating surface initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP). After working as a post doc at the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Akron, and the University of Utah, he became a professor in the department of chemistry at the University of Cincinnati in 2008. He received tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 2014 and currently has research interests in synthetic chemistry of biomaterials and controlled polymerizations.
  • Kathryn Uhrich, University of California, Riverside, "BURS Plenary Talk - PolyAspirin: Invention, Innovation, Inspiration and Inclusion", October 17, 2014  modify info for Kathryn Uhrich's 10-2014 seminar
  • John Anthony, University of Kentucky, "Materials Chemistry: We care about properties, not molecules", September 30, 2014  modify info for John Anthony's 09-2014 seminar
  • Nick Marshall, Berea College, "Nature is Good at Sticky: Catechols for Surface Chemistry at 11 AM in room 106", September 9, 2014  modify info for Nick Marshall's 09-2014 seminar
  • Michael Slade, Iowa State University, "Current Efforts Toward the Asymmetric Synthesis of a 'Privileged Substructure' in Organic Chemistry", January 18, 2013  modify info for Michael Slade's 01-2013 seminar
  • Nick Marshall, Berea College, "Making Molecular Wires on Surfaces", January 11, 2013  modify info for Nick Marshall's 01-2013 seminar
  • Mary Robert Garrett, Berea College, "Investigations Towards the Enantioselective Synthesis of beta-Ketoesters at 11 in room 106", April 12, 2012  modify info for Mary Robert Garrett's 04-2012 seminar
  • Michael Best, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, "TBA", February 7, 2012  modify info for Michael Best's 02-2012 seminar
  • Frank Yepez Castillo, Berea College, "Organic synthesis at 11 in room 106", September 6, 2011  modify info for Frank Yepez Castillo's 09-2011 seminar
  • Hairong Guan, University of Cincinnati, "Nickel and Iron Complexes as Efficient and Selective Catalysts for Carbon Dioxide Reduction and Organic Synthesis at 11 in room 106", February 22, 2011  modify info for Hairong Guan's 02-2011 seminar
  • Dr. Kevin Revell, Murray State University, "TBA, (SC 106), noon", November 9, 2010  modify info for Dr. Kevin Revell's 11-2010 seminar
  • Dr. David Nicewicz, University of North Carolina, "TBA, (SC 106) 3:00pm", November 5, 2010  modify info for Dr. David Nicewicz's 11-2010 seminar
  • Jessica Price Evans, Virginia Tech, "Highly Fluorinated Diels-Alder Polyphenylenes at 3PM in room 106", May 6, 2010  modify info for Jessica Price Evans's 05-2010 seminar
  • Mary Robert Garrett, Berea College, "Enantioselective Synthesis of beta-Ketoesters via a Ketene-Claisen Condensation at 3:45 in room 210 Traylor (Art building by Phelps-Stokes)", April 9, 2010  modify info for Mary Robert Garrett's 04-2010 seminar
  • Erin Carlson, Indiana University, "Innovative Technologies for Natural Products Discovery at 3PM SC106", December 3, 2009  modify info for Erin Carlson's 12-2009 seminar
  • Jonathan Scheerer, Johns Hopkins University, "Organic synthesis in room 106 at 3PM", December 9, 2008  modify info for Jonathan Scheerer's 12-2008 seminar
  • Mary Robert Garrett, Centenary College, "Organic synthesis in room 106 at 3 PM", December 4, 2008  modify info for Mary Robert Garrett's 12-2008 seminar
  • Aaron Amick, University of California, Irvine, "Methodology Development for Use in the Synthesis of Non-Natural and Natural Products" in SC106 at 4PM", December 2, 2008  modify info for Aaron Amick's 12-2008 seminar
  • Mark D. Watson, University of Kentucky, "Organic Electronic Materials Chemistry: Structure-property studies, synthesis, and devices in room 106 at 1 PM", October 2, 2008  modify info for Mark D. Watson's 10-2008 seminar
  • Miranda Beam, University of Kentucky, "Pharmaceutical Sciences at UK", May 15, 2008  modify info for Miranda Beam's 05-2008 seminar
  • Hasan Palandoken, California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, "Organic Molecular Drug Targets for Brain Cancer Research", April 24, 2008  modify info for Hasan Palandoken's 04-2008 seminar
  • Dr. Folami T. Ladipo, University of Kentucky, "The design of catalysts for ethylene trimerization and olefin polymerization - 1:30 PM", November 15, 2007  modify info for Dr. Folami T. Ladipo's 11-2007 seminar
  • Mark Cunningham (, Atlanta Metropolitan College, "Anti-HIV Furamidine Prodrugs (2PM room 101)", April 7, 2005  modify info for Mark Cunningham's 04-2005 seminar
  • Adam Smith (, Air Force Research Lab, Wright-Patterson AFB OH, "Synthesis of Optoelectronic Materials for Organic Solar Cells (4pm in room 101)", April 4, 2005  modify info for Adam Smith's 04-2005 seminar
  • Mark Lipton, Purdue University, "Solid Phase Synthesis of Marine Natural Products, 5 PM Science Building", October 30, 2003  modify info for Mark Lipton's 10-2003 seminar
  • Debra Bautista (email:Debra.Bautista@EKU.EDU), Eastern Kentucky University, "Computational Organic Chemistry", March 4, 2003  modify info for Debra Bautista's 03-2003 seminar
  • David Wright, Vanderbilt University, "New Strategies for Fighting Malaria: Doing Good by Doing Well", October 10, 2001  modify info for David Wright's 10-2001 seminar
  • James M. Tanko, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, "t-Butoxyl Radical as a Model for Hy drogen Abstraction in Biological Systems", October 18, 2000  modify info for James M. Tanko's 10-2000 seminar
  • Charles M. Lukehart, Vanderbilt University, "Preparation of Metal Alloy Nanocrystals for Single-Source Molecular Pre cursors: Catalysts for PEM or Direct Methanol Fuel Cells", November 9, 1999  modify info for Charles M. Lukehart's 11-1999 seminar
  • Bernard A. Olsen, Lilly Research Laboratories, Lafayette, IN, "Chemical Process Developm enet", April 25, 1997  modify info for Bernard A. Olsen's 04-1997 seminar
  • Michael Wempe, University of Rochester Medical College, "New Approaches in Organic Chemistry", June 1, 1996  modify info for Michael Wempe's 06-1996 seminar
  • Celestia Pryor, University of the Pacific, "Bio-Organic Research", March 22, 1995  modify info for Celestia Pryor's 03-1995 seminar
  • Mark McMills, Ohio University, "Organic Synthesis", March 1, 1995  modify info for Mark McMills's 03-1995 seminar
  • Dave Wesley, Ashland Oil, "NIR Gasoline Analysis", January 19, 1995  modify info for Dave Wesley's 01-1995 seminar
  • Jim Lane, University of Wisconsin, Superior, "Catalytic Antibodies", May 5, 1994  modify info for Jim Lane's 05-1994 seminar
  • David Watt, University of Kentucky, "An Organic Chemists View of Geochemistry. How Organic Chemistry Can Contribute to Petroleum Exploration", March 30, 1994  modify info for David Watt's 03-1994 seminar
  • Dr. Brian McKeever, Merck & Company, "Carbonic Anhydrase and Rational Drug Design", October 23, 1992  modify info for Dr. Brian McKeever's 10-1992 seminar
  • Professor Gideon Fraenkel, The Ohio State University, "Structure and Dynamic Behavior of Organolithium Compounds", November 8, 1991  modify info for Professor Gideon Fraenkel's 11-1991 seminar
  • Dr. Karen Eichstadt, Ohio University, "Exploring Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Chemistry", December 5, 1988  modify info for Dr. Karen Eichstadt's 12-1988 seminar
  • Dr. Dorthy Gibson, University of Louisville, "Coal Conversion: A Source of Methane and Methanol", November 15, 1979  modify info for Dr. Dorthy Gibson's 11-1979 seminar
  • Joseph P. Straley, University of Kentucky, "Can Renewable Energy Replace Fossil Fuels?", January 16, 2020  modify info for Joseph P. Straley's 01-2020 seminar
    Abstract - Burning fossil fuels is increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere. This may lead to climate change. How hard will it be to convert to a renewable energy economy? I’ll discuss the issues that are involved.
  • Thomas Jarvis, Eastern Kentucky University, "The Death of Cute Ideas", November 15, 2018  modify info for Thomas Jarvis's 11-2018 seminar
    Abstract - With the development of increasingly complicated methods for studying fast events – like the motion of electrons in quantum dots or in proteins – using even faster laser pulses, it seemed for the last decade that maybe there was something far more exciting happening in plants and bacteria than we’d previously realized: maybe the strangely efficient transfer of solar energy to the centers of biochemical reactions depended on a quantum search algorithm, and maybe photosynthetic bacteria in mud at the bottom of the ocean and the oak trees outside the window had learned to harness quantum mechanics through evolutionary pressure. We’ll examine how you think you figure out something like this, how you actually figure out something like this, and what scientific rigor requires from us.
  • Jacqulyn Noronha-Hostler, Rutgers University, "The Quest for Nature’s First and Most Perfect Liquid", October 19, 2018  modify info for Jacqulyn Noronha-Hostler's 10-2018 seminar
    Abstract - Milliseconds after the Big Bang the entire universe was filled with the most perfect liquid known to humanity- the Quark Gluon Plasma. The Quark Gluon Plasma has a number of peculiar properties, for instance, it flows like a liquid where friction effects are surprisingly small and it still maintains liquid-like properties on scales as small as the size of the nucleus of an atom. Because of the expansion and cooling of the Early Universe, the primordial Quark Gluon Plasma was extremely short lived and most of its signatures were washed away as the entire universe bloomed into existence. Over the past 15 years, collider experiments have been smashing heavy-ions together at 99.9999% the speed of light in order to produce a tiny droplet of the Quark Gluon Plasma with a radius of ~ trillionth cm. The collisions reach temperatures as high as a few trillion Kelvin which are able to "melt" ions into a dense "soup" of quarks and gluons that are constantly interacting with each other. In this seminar, the motion of this "quark gluon soup" is recreated using state-of-the-art numerical simulations that describe an almost perfect liquid moving at nearly the speed of light on high performance computers.
  • Dr. Jason Fry, UVA/ORNL, "Exploring the femto-scale to cosmology with cold neutrons", September 13, 2018  modify info for Dr. Jason Fry's 09-2018 seminar
    Abstract - Studying the nature of the neutron using different probes can reveal information about the universe from the smallest to largest scales. In this talk, I will go over fundamental symmetries of physics using neutrons, utilizing all four forces of nature: strong, weak, electromagnetism, and gravity. I will emphasize how much work has been done in the field and how much work we have left to enhance our understanding of the universe.
  • Dr. Christine Nattrass, University of Tennessee, "Melting Nuclei", September 6, 2018  modify info for Dr. Christine Nattrass's 09-2018 seminar
    Abstract - Nuclei are melted in high energy collisions at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, forming a phase of matter called the Quark Gluon Plasma. This phase of matter existed shortly after the Big Bang. As it expands and cools, it refreezes, forming particles called hadrons. We determine the properties of the Quark Gluon Plasma by studying these hadrons. I will discuss how we can figure out what the properties of this Quark Gluon Plasma are by studying these hadrons. I will also talk about what it is like to be a part of a large international experiment.
  • Christine Nattrass, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, "Melting Nuclei", November 30, 2017  modify info for Christine Nattrass's 11-2017 seminar
  • Bronson Messer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, "Simulating Stellar Death on Supercomputers: Phenomenology and Observables", November 2, 2017  modify info for Bronson Messer's 11-2017 seminar
  • Thomas Ferrell, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, "TBA", September 26, 2017  modify info for Thomas Ferrell's 09-2017 seminar
  • Susan Gardner, University of Kentucky, "Dark Matter & Energy - 11 AM in SC101", November 17, 2016  modify info for Susan Gardner's 11-2016 seminar
    Abstract - The Standard Model of particle interactions, successful though it is, leaves many questions unanswered. Notably, it does not address the nature of dark matter, nor can it explain the observed cosmic surplus of matter over antimatter. The most popular models of "new physics" have been those that address these questions, by tying them to the theoretical origin of the weak interactions. However, with the Higgs discovery at the LHC and the non-observation of any other new effects, such enlargements of the Standard Model are becoming increasingly constrained. It is possible, rather, that essential clues as to its nature may first come from the appearance of light, weakly coupled new physics, which would not appear in LHC measurements, but to which low-energy, precision tests of the Standard Model are exquisitely sensitive. In this context, I will discuss an experimental anomaly in Be-8 nuclear transitions that may be interpreted as evidence for a new, weak force of some 12 fm in range. I will review the experimental evidence, its interpretation and implications, and emphasize what further experimental tests can be done to probe the experimental anomaly and its interpretation.
  • Michael Kovash, University of Kentucky, "Quantum Weirdness - 11 AM in SC101", September 15, 2016  modify info for Michael Kovash's 09-2016 seminar
  • Elizabeth Cottrell, Smithsonian Institution, "Breathing the Earth", October 19, 2018  modify info for Elizabeth Cottrell's 10-2018 seminar
    Abstract - When you hear the word “volcano,” what comes to your mind? Volcanoes are windows to Earth’s deep interior, revealing to us what lies beyond depths accessible to human exploration. Volcanoes shape the landscape, the hydrosphere, and human civilization. From natural disasters to climate change and from diamonds to Dr. Evil, we will explore volcano mysteries together.
  • Alison Graettinger, University of Missouri, Kansas City, "When magma meets water: using experiments, fieldwork, and remote sensing to unravel explosive volcanic processes", January 30, 2018  modify info for Alison Graettinger's 01-2018 seminar
    Abstract - One of the outstanding questions in volcanology is why the interaction between water and magma/lava sometimes leads to passive interactions, like the formation of pillow lava along the coast of Hawaii, and sometimes leads to violent explosions, and the production of dangerous ash and flying debris. Volcanic deposits produced by both processes provide information on the millimeter to decimeter scale interactions. Satellite imagery enables the remote observation of the deposits and landforms produced by eruptions on the hundreds to thousands of meters scale. Experiments provide an opportunity to evaluate the conditions that lead to these eruptions at the time scale of individual explosions. The incorporation of these three datasets is necessary to unravel these events and enable the evaluation of future hazards at volcanoes around the world.
  • Erkan Toraman, St. Lawrence University, "Constraining the Timing of Formation and Collapse of Mountains in North America", January 25, 2018  modify info for Erkan Toraman's 01-2018 seminar
    Abstract - Convergent plate boundaries, where one tectonic plate dives under the other plate, such as modern Indian-Asian convergent boundary forming the Himalayas, are the locus of mountain building processes (orogenesis) on planet Earth. During the growth of an orogen, the outermost layer of Earth, continental crust, gets thicker owing to tectonic shortening and mantle-derived magma. Eventually, these systems reach a critical point where mountains cannot continue to grow vertically and horizontally and start to collapse under its own weight (orogenic collapse), which signifies the end of mountain building processes. During the collapse, mid-lower crustal rocks (>10 km) exhume rapidly to the surface along large fault zones. In this presentation, I will give examples from the North American Cordillera and the Adirondack Mountains, where we applied multiple dating techniques (geochronology) to provide better constraints on the formation and evolution of these mountains and to shed light on what mid-crustal rocks record during a planetary scale mountain-building events.
  • Suzanne Birner, Stanford University, "The Earth is Like a Box of Chocolates: Investigations into Our Planet’s Mysterious Filling", January 23, 2018  modify info for Suzanne Birner's 01-2018 seminar
    Abstract - The Earth’s crust is divided into tectonic plates—large regions of oceanic and continental rock that shift relative to one another, pushing continents apart or bringing them together. When two plates move apart, new ocean floor is formed between them, as part of a volcanic process that produces a type of lava called basalt. At these plate boundaries, the solid residue of this magma production may also be exposed. These rocks, called peridotite, offer rare opportunities to study the material that makes up the Earth’s interior. In this talk, I will discuss the geochemistry of a suite of both peridotite and basalt rock samples dredged from the floor of the Southwestern Indian Ocean. In particular, I will demonstrate how the thermodynamic property of oxygen fugacity can provide insight into volcanic processes that initiate deep in the Earth’s upper mantle. I will show that, although the thermal history of peridotites must be carefully accounted for, both rock types ultimately give consistent information about the Earth’s interior. Finally, I will discuss both the implications of these results for important outstanding geologic questions, such as why the Earth has continents, as well as future research directions involving a range of geologic instrumentation.
  • David Cole, The Ohio State University, "Energy-Relevant Rock-Fluid Interactions: Where Geology, Chemistry and Physics Converge", January 31, 2017  modify info for David Cole's 01-2017 seminar
    Abstract - Throughout Earth’s crust, fluids are the principal agents in transporting and localizing the Earth’s energy and mineral resources. Furthermore, the genesis and evolution of many different kinds of rocks are influenced by the flux of fluids which act as both reaction media and reactants. Among the many different types of crustal fluids, those containing volatile carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (C-H-O) species tend to dominate, and they commonly contain hydrocarbons such as methane as both a major constituent and an important energy source, particularly in sedimentary basins. Industry exploration and exploitation of shale gas (e.g. Marcellus, Utica, Barnett formations) have refocused attention on understanding the fundamental behavior of volatile hydrocarbon – brine – rock interactions. Interestingly, recent observations of hydrocarbons emanating from non-sedimentary systems (abiogenic), such as mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems or occurring within some crystalline rock-dominated Precambrian Shield environments have challenged the view that organic rich sediments provide the only significant source of crustal hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons and associated aqueous solutions and other volatile species such as CO2 can occupy the pores or fractures of numerous types of complex heterogeneous earth materials present in the systems outlined above. This accessible porosity within rocks can span wide length scales (d as pore diameter or fracture aperture) including micro-, meso-, and macroporous regimes (d < 20 Å, 20 < d < 500 Å, and d > 500 Å, respectively, as defined by IUPAC). Porous solid matrices include rock or soil systems that contain clays and other phyllosilicates, zeolites, coal, graphite, or other carbonaceous-rich units; and weathered or altered silicates, oxides, and carbonates. A number of factors dictate how fluids, and with them reactants and products of intrapore transformations, migrate into and through these nano-environments, wet, and ultimately adsorb and react with the solid surfaces. These include the size, shape, distribution, and connectivity of these confined geometries, the chemistry of the solid, the chemistry of the fluids, and their physical properties. The dynamic behavior of fluids and gases contained within solids is controlled by processes occurring at the interface between the various phases (e.g., water-water, water-solute, water- volatile, water-solid, solute-solid, volatile-solid, etc.), as well as the rates of supply and removal of mobile constituents. The richness and complexity of rock-fluid interactions especially those involving nano-confined geometries only underscores the need to adopt a multidisciplinary approach when trying to quantify this behavior regardless of the C-H-O fluid type or the nature of the porous matrix. This presentation will touch upon some key examples of novel experimental and analytical techniques used in concert with state-of-the-art theory, modeling and simulation approaches to address these issues. In the Cole group at OSU there is a special emphasis on building synergistic links among results obtained from various advanced microscopy, neutron scattering and NMR studies which are integrated into our research portfolio with molecular dynamics modeling, to provide new phenomenological insights. The long-range goal of our research is to quantitatively link structure, dynamics and reactivity in complex mineral/C-H-O systems from the atomic to the molecular to the macroscopic levels, leading to predictive understanding of the consequences of fluid- rock interactions over the large time and length scales relevant to important geoscience ‘compartments’ such as deep sedimentary basins, tight shale, gas shale, continental and oceanic hydrothermal systems and formations targeted for CO2 storage.

Anyone interested in finding out more about these speakers or Berea College in general might contact Dr. Baltisberger via email at