News

7/19/2017

By Dave Melanson

Robby Pace, a chemistry graduate student, working at UK CAER.

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research’s (CAER) Biofuels and Environmental Catalysis Group has received a $2 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant to develop new emissions technology for low-temperature gasoline.

The project is titled “Research and Development of Novel Adsorber Technology to Address Hydrocarbon and Nitrogen Oxide Emissions for Low Temperature Gasoline Applications.” As part of the grant, UK CAER will be partnering with the University of California, Berkeley, Purdue University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Ford Motor Company.

This research project seeks to solve a problem with vehicle emissions. As internal combustion engines become more efficient, their

7/18/2017

A team of scientists at the University of Kentucky and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been awarded a National Science Foundation grant to develop a prototype of a battery utilizing chemical components prepared at UK. Professors Susan Odom and John Anthony (UK Chemistry) synthesized new organic compounds as donors and acceptors for a type of battery called a redox flow battery (RFB), currently of great interest for large-scale energy storage. In collaboration with James Landon (UK CAER) and Fikile Brushett (MIT), the team will investigate the operation of the new materials in a prototype.

This PFI: AIR Technology Translation project focuses on incorporating high concentration organic electrolytes for redox flow batteries (RFBs) into functional, high-voltage, stationary batteries. RFB have advantages for electrical grid-scale energy storage options, including

6/29/2017

By Lori Minter

The University of Kentucky has released its Dean's List for the spring 2017 semester.  A total of 6,412 students were recognized for their outstanding academic performance. 

To make a Dean’s List in one of the UK colleges, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.6 or higher and must have earned 12 credits or more in that semester, excluding credits earned in pass-fail classes.  Some UK colleges require a 3.5 GPA to make the Dean’s List.

The full Dean's List can be accessed by visiting: www.uky.edu/PR/News/DeansList/.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you

6/22/2017
Cu2O (right) that undergoes photocorrosion compared to Cu2O/TiO2 (left) that operates under a Z-scheme to reduce CO2. Credit: Ruixin Zhou

UK Chemistry Researchers Develop Catalyst that Mimics the Z-Scheme of Photosynthesis

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 22, 2017) — A team of chemists from the University of Kentucky and the Institute of Physics Research of Mar del Plata in Argentina has just reported a way to trigger a fundamental step in the mechanism of photosynthesis, providing a process with great potential for developing new technology to reduce carbon dioxide levels.

Led by Marcelo Guzman, an associate professor of chemistry in the UK College of Arts and Sciences, and Ruixin Zhou, a doctoral student working with Guzman, the researchers used a synthetic nanomaterial that combines the highly reducing power of cuprous oxide (Cu2O) with a coating of oxidizing titanium dioxide (TiO2) that

6/5/2017

By Shana Hutchins and Jenny Wells

It’s a material world, and an extremely versatile one at that, considering its most basic building blocks — atoms — can be connected together to form different structures that retain the same composition.

Diamond and graphite, for example, are but two of the many polymorphs of carbon, meaning that both have the same chemical composition and differ only in the manner in which their atoms are connected. But what a world of difference that connectivity makes: The former goes into a ring and costs thousands of dollars, while the latter has to sit content within a humble pencil.

The inorganic compound hafnium dioxide commonly used in optical coatings likewise has several polymorphs, including a tetragonal form with highly attractive properties for computer chips and other optical elements. However, because this form is stable only

5/25/2017

Middle school students are awed when they get the chance to turn a banana into a percussion instrument at the 2017 Expanding Your Horizons STEM workshop for girls.

Sometime during the transition from middle school to high school, girls often find their early interest in science and math steered in other directions, often toward careers that fit comfortably into a box of more “traditional” women’s roles. A recent daylong workshop at the University of Kentucky sought to stem that tide by introducing 120 Kentucky middle school girls to a challenging STEM career.

A multidisciplinary project, Expanding Your Horizons, focused on countermanding some of the possible reasons that girls’ interest in the sciences flag at a certain age, such as peer pressure or a lack of female role models. During the workshop, the young students met many female

5/22/2017

By Jenny Wells

The University of Kentucky’s #IAmAWomanInSTEM project has awarded scholarships to 11 UK students for project proposals that promote STEM education and careers for women.

Females are less likely than their male counterparts to pursue an education in the STEM disciplines, which include science, technology, engineering and math. The #IAmAWomanInSTEM initiative, which launched at UK last year, seeks to change that by recruiting hundreds of female student ambassadors who are encouraging the study of STEM and health care among women at UK, and empowering them to persist in those fields.

“As a public research institution and the state's flagship, UK has an important role in promoting graduation of women in STEM majors,” said Randolph Hollingsworth, assistant provost and advisor of the program

5/15/2017

Two NASA Kentucky grants were awarded to support research in the Chemistry Department. Prof. Beth Guiton received funding for using single-atom resolution and in situ Imaging to determine the structure of thermoelectric materials in real-time. Profs. Susan Odom and John Anthony received funding for the development of a low temperature redox flow battery prototype for space applications.  Both projects were funded via NASA KY’s Research Infrastructure Development (RIDG) mechanism.

5/12/2017
Artwork depicting the oxidation of aromatic molecules emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels. Photo Credit: Liz Pillar-Little

Aerosol particles suspended in the air of urban environments typically reduce visibility, interact with sunlight by scattering and absorbing radiation, and lower air quality. In addition, these tiny particles can also contribute large pollution plumes, called “brown clouds”, which have been observed to originate over South Asia in recent years and undergo long distance transport by the wind to reach other continents. The particles in brown clouds are composed by an unhealthy and variable mix including ozone and organic molecules found in smoke.

Artwork depicting the oxidation of aromatic molecules emitted during the combustion of fossil fuels. Photo Credit: Liz Pillar-Little

 

A laboratory study entitled “Oxidation of Substituted Catechols

5/12/2017

By Shana Hutchins and Jenny Wells

The authors observed in real-time the transformation of a HfO2 nanorod from its room temperature to tetragonal phase, at 1000° less than its bulk temperature. Nanorod surfaces and twin boundary defects (pictured here) serve to kinetically trap this phase.

 

It’s a material world, and an extremely versatile one at that, considering its most basic building blocks — atoms — can be connected together to form different structures that retain the same composition.

Diamond and graphite, for example, are but two of the many polymorphs of carbon, meaning that both have the same chemical composition and differ only in the manner in which their atoms are connected. But what a world of difference that connectivity makes: The former goes into a ring and costs thousands of dollars, while the latter has to sit content within a

5/11/2017
Kayvin Ghayoumi receiving an award during the 2017 Regional Undergraduate Chemistry Research Poster Competition

In recognition of his contributions to the field of environmental chemistry Kayvon Ghayoumi is honored with the Division of Environmental Chemistry 2017 Undergraduate award from the American Chemical Society. Ghayoumi earned a B.A. in Chemistry at the University of Kentucky this Spring. His interest in Environmental Chemistry started while taking CHE 565 taught by Dr. Marcelo Guzman, who later became his research supervisor. For his research in collaboration with Assistant Professor Marcelo Guzman and graduate student Evie Zhou, Ghayoumi tackled a current problem studying the photocatalytic reduction of carbon dioxide on nanocomposites that operate under a direct Z-scheme mechanism. Ghayoumi will be starting law school this coming Fall at George Washington University and plans to apply his chemistry knowledge to specialize in both patent and environmental law.

5/5/2017

At the Graduation Celebration & Student Awards Ceremony, held Friday, May 5, 2017, in the Jacobs Science Building, several undergraduate and graduate students were recognized.

 

Undergraduate Awards:

Freshman Chemistry Award: Jacqueline Kowalke

General Chemistry Excellence Award: Nathaniel Morgan, Grace Anderson

Hammond Leadership Award: Amir Kucharski

Hammond Undergraduate Service Award: Jumanah Mahmoud

William Meredith Riggs Award: Aaron Snell

Nancy J. Stafford Award: Sarah Gobel

Thomas B. Nantz Memorial Scholarship: Christian Powell

Paul G. Sears Scholarship: Ashley Weaver, Benjamin Stewart, Connon Rhodes

Dr. Hume and Ellen Towle Bedford Scholarship: Thuy Nguyen

David W. and Eloise C. Young Scholarship: Ebubechi Adindu, Cody Robinette

Paul L. Corio Scholarship: Logan Gilland, Sarah

5/2/2017

Prof. Allan Butterfield, Prof. Susan Odom, and Dr. Kim Woodrum were honored in the Teachers Who Made a Difference Program on April 29, 2017. The University of Kentucky College of Education sponsors this program as a way to honor educators who have made profound impacts on the lives of their students. 

5/2/2017

Bin Sun was selected as one of fifteen recipients of an all-expense-paid workshop on the Computational Physiology of Excitable Tissues. The workshop meets for two weeks in Oslo, followed by another two weeks in San Diego. Bin is a graduate student in the research group of Prof. Peter Kekenes-Huskey. Bin’s research pertains to modeling electrokinetic transport in nanoporous media and signal transduction in proteins.

4/27/2017

By Gail Hairston

Robert B. Grossman, professor of chemistry at the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been re-elected to serve as faculty trustee on the university’s Board of Trustees. His new three-year term will end June 30, 2020.

Grossman edged out his closest competitors in the final round of voting, which concluded with strong voter turnout at noon Wednesday, as 37.6 percent of the eligible voters cast a ballot. Of the 837 votes cast, Grossman won 437, including 310 first-place votes. His closest competitor, Patrick McGrath, received 333 total votes. Margaret Mohr-Schroeder had 244 first place votes.

“First, I want to express my appreciation for the willingness of all the candidates to serve the university,” Grossman said.

Grossman said he intended to continue “to help keep the board focused on the academic issues facing the

4/25/2017

Four faculty members from the Chemistry Department received recognition for awards received from the College of Arts and Sciences for their efforts in teaching, mentoring, outreach, and service in an  Faculty Awards Ceremony to recognize their accomplishments on Tuesday, April 25 at 3:30 pm in the W.T. Young library auditorium. 

From the chemistry department, Dr. Lisa Blue received an Outstanding Teaching Award, and Prof. Peter Kekenes-Huskey received an Award for Innovative Teaching  In addition, an Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award was presented to to Prof. Susan Odom, and the Distinguished Service and Engagement Award was presented to Prof. Anne-Frances Miller.

4/25/2017

By Jenny Wells

Susan Odom, assistant professor of chemistry in the UK College of Arts & Sciences and EYH organizer, assists a student workshop leader.

Research in science and math education tells us that as early as elementary school, girls begin to feel alienated and insecure about the subjects. As a result, a statistically low number of women choose to study or enter career fields in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as the STEM fields).

To address these insecurities, a team of faculty, staff and students at the University of Kentucky will host "Expanding Your Horizons" this Saturday, April 29 — a conference that encourages middle school girls to consider STEM studies. Between 100-150 girls from around Kentucky are

4/17/2017

By Jenny Wells

Beth Guiton, professor of chemistry, and Susan Odom, assistant professor of chemistry, in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, have been selected as Scialog Fellows by the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement.

As fellows, Guiton and Odom will participate in Scialog: Advanced Energy Storage, a program involving early career rising stars, beyond postdoctoral appointment, interested in pursuing collaborative, high-risk, highly impactful discovery research on untested ideas applicable to creating breakthroughs in energy storage. The program has a format in which participants are encouraged to engage in dialogue and form new research teams, often multidisciplinary and composed of both theorists and experimentalists.

4/17/2017

By Gail Hairston

The last event of the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences’ Civil Life Panel Series’ spring season is slated noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, with two follow-up panel discussions later the same day. The topic is “Science Speaks.”

Allan Butterfield, Alumni Association Endowed Professor of Biological Chemistry; Andrea Erhardt, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences; Bruce Webb, professor of entomology; and David Weisrock, associate professor of biology, will gather for a lively discussion at noon in the UK Athletics Auditorium of the William T. Young Library.

They will discuss what it means

4/15/2017
Examples of atmospheric particles. Left: clouds over Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. Right: fog over Cincinnati, Ohio. Credit: Alexis Eugene

Atmospheric aerosols such as smoke, fog, and mist are made of fine solid or liquid particles suspended in air. In the lower atmosphere aerosols play a major role in controlling air quality, as well as in scattering and absorbing sunlight. This interaction of aerosols with light varies widely and depends on their complex chemical composition that rapidly changes under the governing highly reactive conditions found in the atmosphere. Importantly, the mysterious formation of carbon-containing atmospheric particles has intrigued atmospheric scientists during the last decade. This issue demands a thorough understanding of the mechanisms of atmospheric reactions as tackled in a new laboratory study entitled Reactivity of Ketyl and Acetyl Radicals from Direct Solar Actinic Photolysis of Aqueous Pyruvic Acid published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

Examples of

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