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Science

Professor of Chemistry Receives NSF Grant in Physical Chemistry

(Kalamazoo College)

Dr. Jeffry Bartz, Associate Professor of Chemistry, received a $220,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) early this summer. The NSF awarded the grant to fund his research proposal in physical chemistry, which uses innovative photodissociation techniques to examine atomic properties of certain reactions.

Dr. Jeffry Bartz, Associate Professor of Chemistry, received a $220,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) early this summer. The NSF awarded the grant to fund his research proposal in physical chemistry, which uses innovative photodissociation techniques to examine atomic properties of certain reactions.

The grant is under the NSF’s Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) program. Becoming active August 1, this grant will continue to fund the research for 3 years. The grant will be used to pay laboratory work and travel expenses to present the researcher’s findings in national conferences.

For two decades, Bartz has written grants in an effort to assemble the laboratory in which he currently operates. A few changes to the planned laboratory have been made since the idea’s conception. Some of the changes were risky but yielded great rewards for the enduring vision.

“No one has ever observed direct evidence that, in the photodissociation of certain metal containing compounds, the metal NO bond bends before it breaks,” said Bartz.

With the use of a new position sensitive detector, the research team was able to do just that for the first time in 2008.

Currently, Bartz is attempting to answer a consequent question proposed by Aidan J. Klobuchar ’12: how can molecular orientation be measured using photodissociation? Such research goals have been fueling many Senior Individualized Projects as students delve deeper into the heart of physical chemistry.

According to Bartz, A major ambition with these kinds of research projects is to familiarize students with laboratory work, and help them assess it as a possible career path.

The Chemistry department has been facing many challenges in acquiring grants for research. “We have to pick problems that not too many people are interested in, and are easy enough for us to be able to do here with the infrastructure,” said Bartz.

An anonymous external peer review group considered the proposal, and research being done by Bartz ambitious for the size of K. In addition to the spatial and monetary restrictions of K, the assistance of undergraduate students represents another obstacle for the chemistry department to overcome.

Bartz believes that his group of “talented, fearless” students satisfies the work that full-time graduate students would have done.

The group—consisting of Bartz, Jeremy Lantis ’16, Mara Birndorf ’16, and Marlon Gonzales ’17—worked during the past summer. An abstract of their findings is due October 20.

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Professor of Chemistry Receives NSF Grant in Physical Chemistry