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Chemical Bond, May 2018

Chemical Bond logo

Vol. 69, No. 5, May, 2018

  • Save the Date: the 2018 STL ACS Section Picnic is Coming! 13 March 2018

    Join us for the 2018 Summer Picnic! Chemists like a party as well as the next science nerd. We’ve been doing this summer picnic thing since 2005…and we hope this year will be great!

    Date: Sunday July 8, 2018
    Time: 1-4 PM
    Location: Creve Coeur Park Heldman Picnic Shelter
    Address: 13750 Marine Ave, St. Louis, MO 63146
    RSVP here

    Look for the reservation under the name of Immediate Past Chair, Natalie LaFranzo. Bring a lawn game, your friends and family, and enjoy some BBQ and good company!

  • Inaugural: Minority Affairs UG Travel Awards 8 April 2018

    We are pleased to announce a new award program sponsored by the Minority Affairs subcommittee of the Saint Louis Section–ACS: travel expense support for undergraduate students’ travel to regional or national ACS meetings.

    Cynthia Chapple, Chair of the Minority Affairs subcommittee says it all:

    This is a chance for minority students to build networks within chemistry, understand ACS’s agenda related to diversity, and/or present their undergraduate research. Students applying for the award will be required to attend at least one event at the regional or national meeting sponsored or cosponsored by the Committee on Minority Affairs (CMA).

    The award helps cover costs including registration, travel, and accommodations, as well as poster printing if the student’s institution does not have printing facilities. The student will be responsible for upfront payment; awardees will be reimbursed up to $500 upon submission of receipts to the Minority Affairs Chair. Up to three awards will be made each year.

    Application details

    The application should include

    • Two letters of recommendation for the student
    • Abstract on research being presented (if applicable)
    • Copy of transcript with coursework/grades (does not need to be official)
    • Letter from the student describing their career goals and reasons for wanting to attend an ACS meeting, and if presenting research indicating which session of the meeting they intend to present at (no more than two pages in length)
    • Description from the Department of the financial support that they have committed to the student for travel (if any).

    The application deadline is August 15th for travel to the 2018 Midwest Regional Meeting 2018, October 21-23 in Ames, IA. You can begin the electronic application process here.

  • “Chemistry is pHun” Completes a Successful Year 26 April 2018

    Will Ridley describing the properties of Glue(p) for 2nd graders as part of “States of Matter”.

    Submitted by Will Ridley, Chemistry is pHun Coordinator

    A significant focus of the St. Louis Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) is directed toward encouraging and supporting STEM chemistry-related activities among children and adolescents. The “Chemistry is pHun” program is one of the Section’s popular outreach programs. Chemistry is pHun volunteers have historically presented hands-on demonstrations/workshops in classrooms for K-12 students based on well-developed modules.

    Chemistry is pHun experienced significant growth in the academic year 2017-2018. In addition to the Rockwood School District Partners in Education (PIE) program, presentations were given in elementary schools in the Kirkwood School District, River Bend Elementary School in the Parkway School District and Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic School in Ladue. Will Ridley with expert assistance of Melissa de Weaver and Lisa Balbes presented the “States of Matter” program 33 times in 16 elementary schools to 1312 second-grade students. In the “States of Matter” program solid, liquid, and gas states are explored, mainly of water, demonstrating the addition or release of energy in the form of heat when changing physical states. “Glue(p)”, a polymer made from Elmer’s glue and a borax solution is made to show a substance that has properties of both liquids and solids.

    ACS presenters for “Polymers are Marvelous Molecules” (left to right): Rhonda Woerndle, Anu Vummenthala, Cynthia Chapple and Amy Kerkemeyer.

    Amy Kerkemeyer and Will Ridley presented the program “Crushing Cans” to 240 students in the 3, 4 and 5 grades at the River Bend Elementary School all day STEM Fair on February 6, 2018. Seventy-two soda cans were crushed in a spectacular manner by rapidly inverting a can containing boiling water into a bucket of cold water. The condensation of the steam to liquid water results in a vacuum that smashes the can.

    “Chemistry is pHun” presented “Polymers are Marvelous Molecules” workshop as part of the Expanding Your Horizons Conference at the St. Louis Community College-Meramec, March 12, 2017. Presenters from the St. Louis Section of ACS, Amy Kerkemeyer, Rhonda Woerndle, Cynthia Chapple and Anuradha Vummenthala, described the properties of DNA, a biological polymer, and Glue(p), a synthetic polymer composed of polyvinylacetate crosslinked with borax. Three groups of twenty 7-10th grade young women then extracted DNA from strawberries and prepared Glue(p) by mixing 30 mL of 50:50 Elmer’s glue and water with 11 mL of saturated borax solution.

    Anu Vummenthala and Cynthia Chapple work with students to extract DNA from strawberries.

    A new program “Acids, Bases and the Scientific Method” developed by Will Ridley was presented to the 8th grade class at Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic School on April 3, 2018. In this presentation the students use the steps of the scientific method and hands-on titration to determine the relative content of acid in lemon, grapefruit, orange and apple juice.

    For the 2018-2019 academic year, “Chemistry is pHun” is seeking interested college chemistry students from throughout the St. Louis area, working chemists who can spare an occasional half day from work and retired ACS members with a desire to inspire and encourage an interest in chemistry-related science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among elementary students. Training is available and a schedule should be completed for the next academic year in September 2018. Please contact Will Ridley, Chemistry is pHun Coordinator, St. Louis Section of ACS, email:, cell phone: 314-920-1507, for additional information.

  • Report from Awards Night 2018 26 April 2018

    Submitted by Suzy Hartmann, Chair-Elect

    The 2018 Edition of Awards Night was held Monday, April 9, at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Brentwood. The evening honored our region’s Outstanding College Juniors, winners of the High School Chemistry Contest, and the recipient of the High School Teaching Excellence Award.

    Dr. Tony Wallner, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Webster University

    After dinner, Natalie LaFranzo, (Immediate Past Chair) welcomed the guests, and spoke about the benefits of professional networks. Suzy Hartmann (Chair-Elect) introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Tony Wallner, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Webster University. Dr. Wallner presented an overview of Webster’s new interdisciplinary science building, Browning Hall. He also offered advice to the college-seeking members of the audience, outlining college experiences that are linked to life preparedness. Among the experiences he listed were class projects, internships, extracurricular activities, and having caring professors who made students energized about learning.

    Thirty high school students were recognized for their accomplishments in the High School Chemistry Contest and seven college juniors were recognized for their outstanding achievement. Thanks to Dr. Wallner’s presentation, we now know that Webster has a Chemistry program and will be eligible to nominate a student for next year.

    The evening concluded with the presentation of the High School Chemistry Teaching Excellence Award. Elizabeth Hobbs of Washington High School was given an energetic introduction by last year’s recipient, Kathleen Dwyer.

    Congratulations to all winners and a special thank you to Leah O’Brien for her hard work in making this event run so smoothly every year. And to Jim O’Brien for his able services as a photo-documentarian. The full album of photos from the event can be viewed here.

    High School Chemistry Teaching Excellence Awardee Elizabeth Hobbs with last year’s awardee Kathleen Dwyer

  • Minority Affairs’ First Professional Development a Success! 28 April 2018

    The Minority Affairs subcommittee wrapped up their first professional development event on April 24th, where they came together and had a thought-provoking conversation on Diversity. An ACS webinar on Diversity in the Chemical Sciences was an opportunity to learn how to build their diversity IQ, laugh and make new friends.

    Come out to the next event to build your network and get involved! Minority Affairs will host its next Happy Hour on May 8th at 5:30pm at The Block restaurant in the Central West End. Come eat free food and meet new faces! See you then!

    Our growing group of chemists interested in diversity and inclusion in the chemical sciences. Join us, won’t you?

meetings and seminars heading

Board of Directors

St Louis Section–ACS Board of Directors meets the second Thursday of each month, usually at the Glen Echo Country Club (map and driving directions). Meetings are open to all members, and all are encouraged to attend. Elected officers and chairs of major committees vote on questions put to the Board; others in attendance have voice but no vote.

If you want to attend for dinner, please contact the section Chair at least a week in advance. Usual cost of the dinner is $20 ($10 for post-docs and unemployed members). Bar service and dessert are optional extras. Members wishing to become active in section activities are welcomed for their first dinner as guests of the section.

Date: May 10
Social hour, cash bar: 6:00 pm
Call to order: 6:30 pm (Board Meeting suspended during dinner service)
Future meetings: Sept 13, Oct 11

Maryville University

Seminars are approximately once a month on Thursdays, 4-5 pm. Details are available on the university’s seminar page. All seminars are free and open to the public. Contact Jason Telford for more information.

Saint Louis University

Seminars are generally on Fridays at 12 noon in Carlo Auditorium, Tegeler Hall, unless noted otherwise. Refreshments follow. For the most up-to-date information, refer to the department’s seminar page or contact Brent Znosko,

University of Missouri–St Louis

Mondays at 4 pm in 451 Benton Hall, unless otherwise specified. Refreshments 15 minutes prior to seminar time. For timely information on visiting seminar speakers, contact the Chemistry Department, 314.516.5311, or visit the seminar schedule. The department has additional seminar series which are also accessible from this page.

Washington University

Seminars are in McMillen 311 at 4 pm unless otherwise noted. For information, consult the departmental events page. Related seminars, including endowed seminar series and the WU med school biochemistry series, are linked here as well.


American Polymer Standards Corporation
8680 Tyler Boulevard, Mentor, OH 44060
Phone: 440-255-2211 Fax: 440-255-8397

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about the Chemical BondThe Chemical Bond is published at January through May and September through December by the St Louis Section–American Chemical Society. If you would like to receive email notification when each issue is posted, you can subscribe to our email list and join the “Chemical Bond reminders” group.

Correspondence, letters to the editor, etc., should be emailed to
or mailed ℅ St Louis Section–ACS, PO Box 410192, Saint Louis, MO 63141-0192

Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society and the St Louis Section–ACS

Editor Jeramia Ory 314.446.8169
Associate Editor Eric Ressner 314.962.6415
Assistant Editor & Advertising Manager Keith Stine 314.516.5346
Business Manager Donna Friedman 314.513.4388