News

6/10/2021

The Chemistry Department honors the amazing contributions of the LGBTQ+ community to the field of Chemistry. For more information on LGBTQ+ Chemists, please visit the following link.

LGBTQ+ chemists you should know about

6/7/2021

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 7, 2021) — The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board have named Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) a recipient of the Fulbright Specialist Program award. As part of the program, Santillan-Jimenez will complete a project at the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté in France. The project aims to exchange knowledge and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions and communities both in the U.S. and overseas through a variety of educational and training activities within engineering education.

”While a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship has given UK the chance to develop novel interdisciplinary

5/26/2021

By Danielle Donham

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 26, 2021) — Two University of Kentucky faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences are recipients of The Graduate School’s distinguished annual awards for exemplary research in the last four years and outstanding contributions to graduate student mentoring and graduate education.

Michael D. Bardo, professor of psychology in the Department of Psychology, is the 2021 recipient of the Albert D. Kirwan Memorial Prize. The prize is bestowed each year to a faculty member in recognition of their outstanding contributions to original research or scholarship, with an emphasis on work produced

5/13/2021

Looking for a new way to motivate her students to prepare for the spring final exam in CHE 105, Dr. Erin Peters, an instructor in the Department of Chemistry, seized on the idea of an outdoor office hour. Being outside, with the usual masking required for everyone on-campus, would be consistent with University policies, and it would provide students with a chance to abandon their usual study areas and get some fresh air.  But paper and other writing materials are inconvenient or too small.  So, Erin solved the problem by providing sidewalk chalk (multi-colored, of course) and the sidewalk outside the Jacobs Academic Science Building proved to be an ideal chalkboard.  Yes, it could have been a little warmer, but that did not chill the spirits of the students who found it an ideal way to prepare for the final exam later in the day.  It was not only chemistry students who came for help

5/11/2021

As a 6th grade student in his hometown of Greencastle, Indiana, Jack Steele realized that his life ambition was to be a chemist and, when time came to go to college, he pursued a BA in chemistry at DePauw University. Following his graduation as a card-carrying chemist in 1964, he opted to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky, working on electrochemistry with Prof. Donald H. Williams.  While he considers himself a coordination chemist, his coursework and research reflected broad interests – from electrochemistry to biochemistry.  Dr. Steele has said that Professors Don Sands and Joe Wilson of UK Chemistry were “without a doubt” the best teachers he ever had. 

After receiving his doctoral degree in 1968, Dr. Steele accepted a postdoctoral position at the Washington State University with Dr. Ivan Legg.  In addition to working on his research projects, he taught large-

5/10/2021

 

By Jenny Wells-Hosley and Brad Nally

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 7, 2021) — If you ask Matthew Farmer what inspired him to pursue a degree in chemistry, his answer is simple:

“My childhood.”

Farmer, from Harlan, Kentucky, would often play outside as a child, exploring his surroundings and observing how things worked in nature. For him, it wasn’t enough to be told that something “just happens” — he had to know the mechanisms behind why it happened.

“I became interested in chemistry because it deals with the minutia of how things interact with other things, and also themselves,” Farmer said. “Chemistry is the best way to explain how things happen at the ground level, and then work your way up.”

Farmer grew up

5/5/2021

By Alicia Gregory

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2021) — The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees at a May 4 meeting announced that two College of Arts & Sciences faculty members have received University Research Professorship Awards.  These awards recognize excellence in research and creative work that addresses scientific, social, cultural, economic and health challenges in our region and around the world.

The faculty members are Anne-Frances Miller, professor of chemistry and biochemistry; and Carol Mason, professor of Gender and Women's Studies and English.

The University Research Professorships were established by the UK Board of Trustees in 1976 to recognize outstanding research achievements. The

4/22/2021

By Interim Dean Christian Brady

A Brief, Brilliant Life
Susan Anne Odom, PhD November 16, 1980 - April 18, 2021

This week brought news of a tragic accident that took from the University of Kentucky family a brilliant young scholar. Dr. Susan Odom, Associate Professor of Chemistry, died April 18, 2021 in her home. A native of Paducah, Kentucky, Susan had a passion for science from an early age. She graduated from the University of Kentucky with a BS in Chemistry in 2003, earned her PhD from Georgia Tech, having been a visiting graduate student at the University of Oxford, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Susan joined our faculty in 2011, becoming an associate professor in 2017. She quickly became a favorite among students, winning the “Teacher Who Made a Difference” award in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017.

4/13/2021

By Vice President for Research Lisa Cassis

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Chad Risko has accepted our offer to be the new Faculty Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.  Dr. Risko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky (UK).

He received his PhD at the Georgia Institute of Technology under the direction of Professor Jean-Luc Brédas, undertook postdoctoral research with Professors Mark Ratner and Tobin Marks at Northwestern University and has been at UK since 2014.

Dr. Risko’s research blends principles from organic and physical chemistry, condensed-matter physics, and materials science to develop theoretical materials chemistry approaches to better understand and design materials for advanced electronics and power

3/10/2021

The Chemistry Department honors the amazing contributions of women to the field of Chemistry. For more information on Women in Chemistry, please visit the following links.

ACS Celebrates the Achievements of Women Scientists in American History (ACS)

Meet the Amazing Women of Chemistry (c&en)

These women scientists should have won the Nobel (c&en)

3/3/2021

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

A research study led by the University of Kentucky Department of Chemistry has discovered a new way to dramatically boost the performance of electrically conductive polymers. The discovery is considered a significant step forward in the development of organic thermoelectric devices, which can convert waste heat into useful electric energy. 

Conductive polymers, which are electrically conductive plastics, have the potential to transform current electronic devices, such as smart watches, by powering the devices based on the user’s body heat. They are also attractive for converting waste heat from coal-fired power plants or heat from a car’s engine into electricity.

“One day, organic thermoelectrics may be used to power smart watches and other wearable electronics, eliminating the ever pressing need to

2/18/2021

The Chemistry Department celebrates the contributions of Black Chemists during Black History Month. For more information on specific scientists, please visit the following links.

Trailblazer's 2021: We've been here all along

Appearing in Volume 99, Issue 6 of CE&N, by Paula Hammond. An issue that "celebrates the work and legacy of Black chemists and chemical engineers at all career stages, throughout the US, in their own voices." | February 22, 2021

Black chemists you should know about

c&en

2/9/2021

Electrically conductive polymers have the potential to transform the form factor of current electronic devices and enable novel applications, such as mechanically flexible and stretchable wearable electronic devices. Conductive polymers could even be incorporated into flexible thermoelectric devices to power these wearable devices based on the user’s body heat. In the paper led by Zhiming Liang of the Graham group entitled “n-type charge transport in heavily p-doped polymers” (available here: https://rdcu.be/cc2C5) the Graham, Risko, Strachan, Mei (Purdue), and Podzorov (Rutgers) groups uncover how the charge-carrier polarity can change in heavily doped π-conjugated polymers to enable both n-type and p-type thermoelectric materials to be made from the same polymer-dopant combination.

Electrical conductivity in conjugated polymers has been researched for decades, in part led

2/9/2021

Alum Michael Goodman graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from Vanderbilt University in 2018. Prior, he graduated from the University of Kentucky, College of Arts & Sciences with a Chemistry BS in 2011 and completed a post-doc at University of California, Davis.

This interview is part of a series conducted by the department called, “UK Chemistry Alumni: Where Are They Now?” This interview was coordinated by Dr. Arthur Cammers.

When did you Graduate with what degree?

I graduated from UK in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry.

What are you currently up to?

I have recently started a position as a Staff Scientist at Vanderbilt University, working in the lab of Dr. Chuck Sanders in the Department of Biochemistry. After doing a postdoc with Bruce Hammock at

2/8/2021

By Angela Garner and Facundo Luque

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 5, 2021) — A partnership among The Graduate SchoolInternational Center, the Center for English as a Second Language, and the Graduate Student Congress at the University of Kentucky produced a robust seven-week virtual program during Fall 2020 for international graduate students planning to begin their studies on campus in Spring 2021. 

The program, called GradCATS (Graduate Community and Academic Transition Series), introduced new graduate students to UK and the Lexington area, built a sense of community among incoming

1/8/2021

By Carl Nathe and Kody Kiser

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 8, 2021) — What will the future of energy storage look like? Whether it be batteries for electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, tablets and smart watches, or for electric cars and hybrid vehicles, or for units that play an integral role in the operations of major power plants, researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) are working to speed the development of the next generation of more efficient and safer battery technology.

The CAER investigates energy technologies to improve the environment. Researchers contribute to technically sound policies related to fossil and renewable energy.

Staffed by professional scientists and engineers, CAER

12/8/2020

This article previously appeared in Chemical and Engineering News on November 16.

Paul G. Sears, 96, died September 12 in Lexington, KY.

"Paul, a World War II veteran, served in the US Army Air Corps as a tail gunner on a B-17, which was shot down; he was a prisoner of war for 19 months. After the war, he completed his degrees and performed research for 2 years at Monsanto. He then joined the University of Kentucky faculty and became widely recognized for his research on nonaqueous solvents. He taught at all levels, influencing the lives of more than 7,000 students, and received several great-teacher awards. He was inducted into the College of Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2013 and was the faculty representative on the board of trustees for 9 years."

- Steven W. Yates, friend and colleague

Most

11/19/2020
By Morris Grubbs Thursday

LEXINGTON. Ky. (Nov. 19, 2020) — The University of Kentucky's GradResearch Live! hosted the 3-Minute Thesis competition online this year. The 24 research presentations by graduate students and postdocs garnered more than 9,500 total views on YouTube.  Among them were several graduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences. 

The competition challenges presenters to tell their research story in three minutes or less using one static slide to an imagined audience of nonspecialists. This is the eighth year the UK Graduate School has offered the competition, which has until now

11/13/2020

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

When it comes to portable electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops, tablets or smart watches, how often do we feel frustrated because the battery is about to die, or because it doesn’t last as long as it did a few months ago?

Chad Risko, an associate professor of chemistry and affiliated faculty researcher at the Center for Applied Energy Research at the University of Kentucky, says this simple context shows the value in creating better batteries. But it is not just small portable electronics that need more robust, and differentiated, energy storage.

“Electric and hybrid vehicles are becoming more omnipresent, and here we need batteries that are lighter in weight, safer and can store ever more energy,” Risko said. “Further, as our nation’s energy

10/29/2020

Alum Kayvon Ghayoumi, JD, graduated with a law degree from George Washington University Law School in 2020. Kayvon is from Louisville, KY. He graduated from the University of Kentucky, College of Arts & Sciences with a Chemistry BA and a minor in Biological Sciences in 2017.

This interview is part of a series conducted by the department called, “UK Chemistry Alumni: Where Are They Now?” This interview was coordinated by Dr. Arthur Cammers.

What made you decide to apply to UK?

I came to UK for several reasons, including, scholarship opportunities UK offered, UK’s in-state tuition, and so that I could stay close to home without being too close to home.

You were originally a biology major... What made you want to study chemistry?

In high school I took

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