Education: I was born in Durban South Africa and graduated with a BSc Hons degree from the University of Natal in Durban. I worked as a chemist in the pigmented polymer industry for a few years before deciding to further my education. At that stage I moved to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel where I completed a PhD in organic chemistry. I then moved to the University of Houston for postdoctoral work with the late Dr. Jay Kochi after which I accepted a position on the faculty of Missouri State
University (then known as Southwest Missouri State University). Over the past 15 years I have taught all levels of organic chemistry as well as chemistry for non science majors and the chemistry of art. I have published several papers on chemical education.
Chemistry Research: My research is divided into two major areas both of which involve the synthesis of small organic molecules most suited to undergraduate student research. One of my major focus areas is the development of novel ligands for the complexation of transition metal cations. The long range goal of this research is the development of ligands for the specific removal of metal cations from waste and/or the sensing of metal cations. My second major focus is crystal engineering which includes the exploration of weak intermolecular interactions. I have published more than 70 peer reviewed publications including two book chapters and have been awarded funding by the National Science Foundation as well as the Petroleum Research Fund.
Speaking Engagements: I have been an invited speaker at most of the regional universities in the MidWest as well as both national and regional meetings and symposia. Most recently I have been invited to talk at the Biennial Conference on Chemical Education in Fall 2012 and will present a talk on the subject of chemistry and art at the National American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia in Fall 2012. This past year I developed a Chemistry in Art intersession course for chemistry majors. I also presented a seminar, to an open audience, entitled “The Interplay between Chemistry and Art”. This was well received by students, faculty and university administrators. In fact,chemistry majors were particularly excited to be exposed to the role of chemistry in art.
Art: Art has been a lifelong hobby of mine and I have had works of art paintings and ceramics accepted in juried regional and national art exhibitions. Most recently, I have had two ceramic pieces accepted into the 19th Biennial San Angelo National Ceramic
Artists pigments, dyes and mediums through the eyes of a chemist.
The link between chemistry and art will be explored with particular emphasis on the
development of pigments and dyes through the ages. This will start with cave art and move to an
overview of the extraction of organic colorants like Madder Red from natural sources and the use
of inorganic minerals like cinnabar. This will be followed by the early, often serendipitous,
discovery of the syntheses of inorganic and organic colorants in particular Prussian blue and
mauveine. Some of the crude early syntheses of large quantities of pigments will be described.
The close relationship between the isolation and availability of transition elements like chrome
and cadmium and the preparation of a wide variety of brightly colored inorganic pigments and
their use by Gauguin and Matisse amongst others will be highlighted. Similarly, the
development of synthetic organic chemistry and new organic colorants will be explored.
Particularly interesting decomposition processes of both organic and inorganic colored
compounds will be highlighted. Examples include the light-induced deterioration of several of
the American artist, Mark Rothko’s paintings as well as the decomposition of emerald green
forming toxic arsine gas. The impact of polymer science on painting mediums will also
addressed. The paper will close with brief a look at the role of the chemistry of colorants in
evaluating the provenance of artwork.
Chemistry in the service of art.
This presentation will touch on several different aspects of the interplay between chemistry and
art. Firstly, the role of inorganic and organic synthesis in the preparation of colorants will be
described from a historical perspective. The early, pre-industrial age synthesis of inorganic
pigments and the extraction of organic pigments will be presented as will the preparation of
modern organic and inorganic pigments. The application of analytical tools, like infra-red, ultra
violet and Raman spectroscopy as well as X-ray analysis of pigments and media to analyze
paintings will be highlighted. The use of analytical chemistry to determine the age and or
provenance of paintings will be contrasted with art historian analyses of paintings. Finally,
interesting tales of forgeries and their scientific detection will be described.
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