St. Louis Section of the American Chemical Society


Chemical Bond — January 2016


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Vol. 67, No. 1, January 2016

Continuity Dinner rings out 2015

Joe Ackerman receives book and gavel, the trappings of the Chair, from Pegah Jalili

Joe Ackermran receives book and gavel, the trappings of the Chair, from Pegah Jalili

On an unseasonably warm December 10, an overflow showing (did we mention that reservations were required?) made a festive finale to the 2015 ACS-STL year.

The never-before-tried venue, Almonds Restaurant in Clayton, provided a warm and convivial atmosphere amidst diners who were there just to eat. We occupied two large tables front and center, one of which had to be extended to accommodate extra attendees. The restaurant provided several hot flatbreads to amuse our bouches during the social half-hour as well as mini-cakelets to close the meal.

In addition to a perfunctory General Meeting of the Section (because we’re required to have one, business or no business), we conducted our usual Board of Directors meeting (minutes to follow in January), and then the real Continuity business:

    Bill Doub is pleased to be honored with the 2015 Distinguished Service Award

    Bill Doub is pleased to be honored with the 2015 Distinguished Service Award; Pegah Jalili broke the news.

  • The announcement of the Distinguished Service Award winner: Bill Doub. The award is officially conferred at Awards Night in March, but we (and he) now know who, why, and when.


  • Natalie LaFranzo led the chee(rah) with her 2015 Henry Godt Memorial Lecture.

    Natalie LaFranzo led the chee(rah) with her 2015 Henry Godt Memorial Lecture.

  • Delivery of the Henry Godt Memorial Lecture by outgoing Secretary Natalie LaFranzo. If you didn’t know before, you know now that Natalie’s alter ego is Head Cheerleading Coach for the Washington University squad. Her distillation of 2015, as the Godt Lecture is usually structured, took the form of a series of cheers, complete with pom-pons.

  • Passing of the book and gavel, our equivalent of the baton. Outgoing Chair and incoming Immediate Past Chair Pegah Jalili relinquished the trappings of office to outgoing Chair-Elect and incoming Chair Joe Ackerman, who will lead the Section in 2016.

A selection of Vic Lewchenko’s candid shots and posed event markers is included. The full album can be seen at his Flickr feed.

Some, but not all, of the past, present, and future Chairs in attendance at Continuity

Some, but not all, of the past, present, and future Chairs in attendance at Continuity; Pegah gives the soon-to-be-traditional ACS Power Salute as she leaves the Chairship.


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Your Officers for 2016

The results of our Section election for 2016 officers were announced at the Board of Directors meeting on November 12. For the 1,457 of you who were not there, the 2015 officers are pleased to convey the names of those winning new positions or re-election for service in 2016.

election-results

  • Chair: Joe Ackerman
  • Chair-Elect: Natalie LaFranzo
  • Secretary: Benjamin Barth
  • Treasurer: Vic Lewchenko
  • Councilors: Lisa Balbes and Ted Gast
  • Alternate Councilor: Brent Znosko
  • Directors: Leah O’Brien, Eric Ressner, and Keith Stine

Electronic balloting was again successful at getting a larger percentage of members to the polls than was ever seen during the era of paper ballots and hanging chads.

Thanks to all who voted; we like to interpret your vote as being more than just a choice of candidates, but also an acknowledgment that you value the work the Section does. And special thanks to all who cared enough to run for positions in next year’s governance.



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Chair’s Message for 2016

As the waters recede from the December 2015 flood, our thoughts are with those families who sustained great loss of life, their possessions and homes.

The Saint Louis Section has just completed a vibrant and productive year under the able leadership of Immediate-Past Chair Pegah Jalili to whom we extend our thanks and gratitude. Local Section activities begin quickly in 2016. The Board of Directors Meeting at Glen Echo Country Club on Thursday, January 14 starts the season. Those wishing to learn about the Local Section and perhaps volunteer to assist with its various activities are encouraged to attend. Thursday, February 9 is the ACS Webinar “The role of Chemistry in Global Security” and on Tuesday, February 16 is the “Battle of the Burets”. Early March will see the “Recognition Dinner” (date/venue to be determined). It is not too early to begin thinking about nominations for the Midwest Award (nominations close March 31) and the Saint Louis Award (nominations close April 30).

While the Local Section remains strong with many committed volunteers, it is important for the long-term vitality of the Section that we recruit Saint Louis region ACS members who have not been involved as volunteers to take up roles on the Section’s various committees. I particularly wish to encourage younger chemists to become involved in Section activities. If you would like to assist in Local Section events, please contact me, or others in Section leadership positions. A listing can be found at URL http://www.stlacs.org/officers-and-committees/.

As 2016 Local Section Chair, I would be delighted to hear from you regarding any of the Local Section activities. Please do not hesitate to contact me at email address ackerman@wustl.edu.

I look forward to seeing you at upcoming Local Section events.

Joe Ackerman
2016 ACS STL Section Chair



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Washington University Chemistry Tournament (WUCT)

The Washington University chapter of the national professional chemistry fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma, is hosting the inaugural Chemistry Tournament (thus, WUCT). Teams of six high school students and one adult coach are welcome from … well … anywhere. On one day, April 2, 2016, find out if your team is the best. And better, have fun, make contacts, enjoy your visit.

trophy-1st-placeThis event is organized and hosted entirely by WUSTL undergraduate chemistry students. Complete information on the tournament format, rules, and registration materials can be found at wuct.axe.wustl.edu. Sponsors include your very own Saint Louis Section–ACS.

The registration fee is $60 per team. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are provided, but teams will have to provide their own transportation and lodging if needed. The sponsors will work with local hotels and transportation companies to provide discounted prices for participants.

For questions and more information, please e-mail the WUCT Co-Directors, Harshath Gupta and Abhishek Sethi, at wuct.washu@gmail.com. For details about the competition format, check the event flyer (pdf, 95 kB).


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Seeking Retirees Eager to Make An Educational Impact

One of the most popular outreach programs sponsored by the St Louis ACS section is Chemistry is pHun! Sheryl is seeking a retiree to take over this rewarding program or if you would like to offer some of these programs in a school district close to where you live, please contact Sheryl J Loux by email, sjloux@gmail.com or 636.237.5149 to discuss the programs. Training is available.

The twenty-four Chemistry is pHun programs in calendar year 2014 — all given by Sheryl — have had an educational impact on 822 students in 10 or more schools. Program activity for the 2014-2015 school year has started strongly this fall. The program modules offered by Sheryl are “States of Matter, “Chemistry is pHun”, “What is Matter?”, Using the Scientific Method for a Science Fair Project, and “Polymers are Marvelous Molecules” (includes DNA extraction from strawberries). Sheryl thanks Don Sartor and Amy Kerkemeyer for helping with some programs.

Kids having fun and learning; is there a better way to spend a day—for them or for you?

Kids having fun and learning; is there a better way to spend a day—for them or for you?

Kids having fun and learning; is there a better way to spend a day—for them or for you?

The “States of Matter” program was designed for elementary students and is popular for the 2nd and 3nd grades. The states of matter are explored with solid, liquid, and gas states of mainly water, demonstrating the addition or release of energy in the form of heat when changing physical states. Examples of plasma are mentioned and “Gluep” is made to show a substance that has properties of both liquids and solids.

Simple equipment and simple setup serves up “States of Matter” to a large group of kids

Simple equipment and simple setup serves up “States of Matter” to a large group of kids


”Chemistry is pHun” for eighth graders demonstrated by Amy Kerkemeyer (shown) and Sheryl Loux (program Coordinator).

”Chemistry is pHun” for eighth graders demonstrated by Amy Kerkemeyer (shown) and Sheryl Loux (program Coordinator).


The “Chemistry is pHun” program is designed for grades 4-12 and covers pH, a review of states of matter, dissolution, chemical reactions, and various polymers.

Another program for grades K-3 is “What is Matter?” where the periodic table of elements is introduced and water molecules are made with marshmallows for atoms and toothpicks representing electron bonds.

Using the Scientific Method for a Science Fair Project is designed for grades 5-8, and “Polymers are Marvelous Molecules” (includes DNA extraction from strawberries) is for grades 7-12.

Of the 822 students participating this calendar year, 610 students have enjoyed the “States of Matter” program, 160 students have enjoyed the “Chemistry is pHun” program, and 52 students extracted DNA in the “Polymers are Marvelous Molecules”.


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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 $21 ($12 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: Jan 14

Future meetings: Feb 11, Mar 10

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 Jim Edwards, jedward5@slu.edu.

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.


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about the Chemical Bond

The Chemical Bond is published at www.stlacs.org 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.

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