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Communiqué: The Department of Chemistry's 2012 Mid-Year Update

Welcome to the Department of Chemistry's electronic newsletter, Communiqué, with updates on recent happenings in the department.


We have many ways for you to keep in touch with what's happening in the Department of Chemistry. Check out our website home page. Join our Facebook group. Follow us on Twitter. Or join the chemistry group on LinkedIn. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.

Supporting the Department of Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry is one of the oldest and most prestigious departments at the University of Minnesota. Founded in 1904, the Department of Chemistry ranks among the nation's top 20 doctorate-granting programs. With the support of alumni and friends, chemistry faculty members annually provide more than 11,000 students with exceptional educational experiences in major sub-fields of chemistry, and opportunities to conduct innovative and collaborative research with a global impact. Donations to the department ensure continued scientific and technological advances as we work to address and solve the biggest problems that face our world. Now more than ever, private support for our students, faculty, and research is making a difference. Please check out our giving page for additional information.

What's new in the Department of Chemistry

We've had some changes in the Department of Chemistry over the past six months. We are pleased to welcome William Pomerantz to the department as an assistant professor. We are excited about a new pilot program with Dow Chemical Company to improve safety awareness and practices in our labs. Check out these stories and other Department of Chemistry news on our website. View all news articles.

Dow to share lab safety expertise with chemistry department
The Dow Chemical Company and the University of Minnesota are expanding their strategic partnership by launching a first-ever pilot program to improve safety awareness and practices in the university's chemistry and chemical engineering labs. Read More

Alumni news

The Department of Chemistry is proud of its graduates and the work that they do in the world. Check out the profile of Laurie Breyfogle, a recipient of the American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee Rising Star Award. Read about alumna Jeannette Brown who has written a book profiling the accomplishments of African American women chemists. Please send us news about your accomplishments and awards. Information can be sent to Communications Coordinator Eileen Harvala at Read more about our alumni.

Student honors, awards, and accolades

Our undergraduate and graduate students received a number of honors and awards in 2010-11, testifying to the quality of education, teaching, and research in the Department of Chemistry. Read about our college and national fellowship award honorees, our top student researchers, and other scholarship and award recipients. We also have information on our 2010-11 bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degree recipients. In addition, photos from our undergraduate and graduate graduation receptions are available on our Facebook page. View All Award Articles for Students & Faculty.

Seven graduate students receive doctoral dissertation fellowships
Seven Department of Chemistry's top doctorate students have received 2012-13 Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (DDF) program awards. Read More

Faculty & Staff awards

Our faculty and staff members have received several prestigious awards, including a new Merck Professorship in Chemistry, a Royal Society of Chemistry Chemical Dynamics Award, a President's Award for Outstanding Service, a 2012 Poly Fellow, and a Wigner Award. Department of Chemistry faculty and staff members continue to be some of the most distinguished teachers and researchers at the University of Minnesota. View all award articles for students, faculty, and staff. View All Award Articles for Students & Faculty.

Siepmann appointed Merck Professor of Chemistry
J. Ilja Siepmann has been appointed as a Merck Professor of Chemistry for a five-year term starting, July 1, 2012. This is one of five departmental professorships that recognize and reward the Department of Chemistry's most distinguished faculty. Read More

Bonnema receives President's Award for Outstanding Service
Stanley Bonnema, retired Department of Chemistry senior administrative director, has been honored with a 2012 President's Award for Outstanding Service. Read More


Our scientists continue as pioneers in breakthrough research in a number of areas, ranging from new methods to generate reticulated nanoporous polymers to differentiating between trivalent lanthanides and actinides. Some of the research has been published in prestigious science journals. Read more about our research.

Bicontinuous Nanoporous Plastics by a Simple Process
In an article in the journal Science, Myungeun Seo, Ph.D., describes a method to generate reticulated nanoporous polymers using a simple process that holds tremendous promise for many applications in nanoscience and technology. Read More


Outreach to young people, engaging them in chemistry through hands-on experiments, demonstrations, and interaction with professors and graduate students, is a priority for the Department of Chemistry. We offer a range of outreach activities such as demonstrations at area schools, special workshops, chemistry camps for middle school girls, and the popular Energy and U weeklong shows that literally exploded with 9,000 students coming to campus. Read more about our outreach efforts. Photos of this year’s outreach activities are available on our Facebook page.

Kaboom: Energy and U brings 4,500 students to campus
With additional presenters and shows, reorganized demonstrations, new music, and extended outreach to students in the seven-county metro area, the popular Energy and U program explodes, May 14-18. More than 4,500 students are expected. Read More

Volunteer opportunities

There are many ways for Department of Chemistry alumni to stay involved and help with programs that benefit students, ranging from becoming a mentor to supporting outreach efforts. We have additional information on our volunteer page.