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Keuka College News

Chemists Gather at Keuka

Chemists in the professional field reviewed slides of the "Art of Chemistry" exhibit by junior Kat Andonucci and Dr. Andy Robak at Lightner Library Sept. 25. (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '16)

Some 26 members of the Corning Section of the American Chemical Society attended a dinner and lecture in Lightner Library Sept. 25 on “The Art of Chemistry,” the current exhibit in Lightner Gallery featuring color photographs of chemical experiments.

It was the first time Keuka College has hosted a monthly meeting of the local chapter of the organization.

According to Tom Carroll, professor of chemistry, the Corning Section of the American Chemical Society membership includes representatives from a number of colleges and industrial companies. They meet monthly and give special awards given to outstanding college seniors each April. Last spring, Carroll was asked to host a monthly meeting this fall at Keuka, and the new exhibit became an ideal presentation.

The exhibit showcases the work of junior Kat Andonucci, who photographed experiments she conducted as a year-long independent study with Dr. Andy Robak, associate professor of chemistry. Robak has described himself as having “wacky interests” that combine artistic pursuits including photography, sculpture and painting with scientific study. He sought out a student in Keuka’s visual and verbal art program to help carry out the vision and found Andonucci, who had originally enrolled in Keuka as a biology major.

Chemists attending a professional gathering at Keuka engaged in discussion on the "Art of Chemistry" exhibit. (Photo by Stephanie Lockhart '16)

Robak served as keynote speaker for the meeting, which included time for members to peruse the photography in the gallery, enjoy a catered dinner and hear details of the experiments and exhibit in a discussion facilitated by Robak. In addition to the American Chemical Society, the Andonucci and Robak’s work has drawn the attention of Chemical & Engineering News in Washington, D.C., which published a story on the exhibit in its Oct. 1 issue and website.

According to Carroll, Keuka’s chemistry professors have been keeping busy in recent weeks. Carroll was an invited speaker at the special ICESS 2012 pre-conference workshop held at the SOLEIL Synchrotron south of Paris, France between Sept. 14 – 16.  The workshop was in honor of Prof. T. D. Thomas (Oregon State University), with whom Carroll has done research since 1972.  The workshop commemorated Dr. Thomas’s 80th birthday, and his nearly 50 years of research in the field of electron spectroscopy.

Carroll also reported that Division Chair Mike Keck is attending the Rochester meeting of the American Chemical Society this week.

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