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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Dr. Bradley

Dr. Chris Bradley presented today in our Undergraduate Seminar Series, giving his presentation titled: Reverse Alchemy: Replacing Precious Metals with Rust in Chemical Transformations. The chemical industry is currently dominated by processes which rely on expensive and toxic precious metals. The Bradley research group works on methods to transition the reactivity of these transition metals to more abundant and environmentally friendly metals, such as cobalt and iron. The seminar focused on their strategies to isolate, characterize, and study reactive cobalt intermediates believed to be essential in carrying out the desired catalytic reactions.

Jonelle Hook

Assistant Math Professor Jonelle Hook gave a presentation to students in grades 1-5 through the Fort Detrick Alliance “Think with BINK” program at C. Burr Artz Library in Frederick on March 3, 2015! This program is design for students to explore some very interesting 3D objects called Platonic solids, and then build some for themselves! These students got to learn about their structure, mathematical properties, and where they occur in nature. Finally, they got to find out whether or not the soap bubbles are always round.

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Katherine Wu

Check out Biology major Katherine Wu C’ 17 and her ode to the Grignard Reaction: 

Ode to the Grignard Reaction
O teasing thing! What mystery! With toil
Of weary men and maidens overwrought
With basic washes and golden oil
Thou, silent dust! Dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Treachery!
When old age shall this generation waste
Thou shall remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a curse to men, to whom thou say'st
"Forsake all hope, ye students - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
With apologies to John Keats...who is probably rolling over in his grave...

President Powell

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics held an ice cream social to celebrate the 11 year legacy of the University’s President Dr. Thomas Powell Feb 26th. On behalf of SNSM, representatives from each student club presented President Powell with a farewell gift that included a solar powered fountain birdbath. Dr. Garth Patterson and his new class, CHEM 310- Science of Brewing, presented the Powell’s with their first brew appropriately called the “Presidential Red Ale.” Laugher and high spirits were in the air as stories were traded from the Powell administration.

In an interview conducted by Nicholas Schreiber and Ryan Golden of the editing staff from The Mountain ECHO, President Powell was quoted about his thoughts concerning our COAD Science Building. He mentioned, “I remember when my son-in-law (a graduate student at the University of Florida) took a tour of our science buildings. When I asked him what he thought, he said they were ‘cute.’” President Powell added, “We have strong scientific programs, but we need state-of-the-art labs to support them.” Ending the interview President Powell said he was comfortable and confident that President- Elect Simon Newman shares the same thoughts and feelings.

The Powell’s have been such a heavy influence on the Mount and even bigger contribution to making the Mount a better place. They will be truly missed but never forgotten. The School of Natural Science and Mathematics wishes you luck in your next journey!

ComapThe COMAP math modeling competition is an important international competition in which students have a weekend to try to solve a tricky real-life problem.  For this year's problem, the students were asked about Ebola.  Specifically, they were told to suppose that a cure had been developed for Ebola, and they had to determine a way to get the cure where it needed to go in order to most efficiently stop the disease.  They had to consider a ton of different variables, like how the disease spreads, where to and how to send the medicine where it needs to go, how fast the medicine could be produced, etc.

Students Joe Appleton and Carmen Morales were the first presenters and explained the use of a SIR Model. This acronym was used to describe the different stages of the virus as being susceptible, infectious, and recovery. Rooshan Matih, the second presenter, used a clever “candy demonstration” to explain this model further and to show how a disease spreads exponentially through a population, starting with 1 person, and growing to infect 2, then 4, then 8, 16 , etc. Both presenters agreed that knowledge and awareness was the best way to overcome Ebola.  

Star Gazing Event

The School of Natural Science and Mathematics and the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes hosted a unique event on February 13th 2015 – an evening of stargazing. More than 50 people braved the cold to look through the Science Department’s telescopes at objects unique to the winter sky, including Comet Lovejoy, Jupiter and its moons, and the Orion Nebula. Astronomy professor Jason Young gave a brief introduction and a lesson in how to use the telescopes. “This was really incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this passion of yours with us. It was really eye opening to learn about and see what can be so overlooked. I really am looking forward to researching and taking more time to enjoy what lights our world,” said one stargazer.

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