March 2010


Date April 23, 2010
Location University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
Host: Dr. James Demas
Phone: (434) 924-3343
E-mail: demas @
Speaker: Dr. Charles Grisham
Topic: "Bizarre Biochemistry"



James Madison University
May 20-22, 2010


The 88th Annual meeting of the Academy will be held at James Madison University in Harrisonburg on May 20-22. Titles for papers should be sent to the Secretary of the Chemistry Section by Friday, February 12, 2010. Papers will be scheduled for presentation on May 21. There will be a Poster Session that will run from May 20 through May 21. To submit a paper, send the title and author(s) to Dr. Thomas C. DeVore, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, MSC 4501, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807; (540) 568-6672; devoretc @ Note that the presenting author must be registered for the VAS meeting and at least one author must be a member of the Academy. Paper abstracts will be due at the Annual Meeting. Full information about paper submission and about Academy membership can be found on the Academy’s website:


The Virginia Section will hold its annual poster session at the Friday, April 23 meeting at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The emphasis is on student research, especially work done by undergraduates. If you have a student who wishes to present a poster, please contact Dr. James Demas at demas @ or call (434) 924-3343.

Faraday Discussion 146
Wetting Dynamics of Hydrophobic and Structured Surfaces

April 12 - 14, 2010
Jefferson Hotel
Richmond, Virginia

      The aim of this meeting is to convene scientists from experimental and theoretical disciplines to discuss a number of highly topical and controversial issues related to wetting and dewetting at hydrophobic surfaces.
      The current interest in superhydrophobic surfaces has led to a conceptual widening of the term "hydrophobicity". Non-wetting of a surface may be achieved not only by minimizing the surface free energy, but also via an appropriately tailored surface morphology. As a consequence, even low-energy liquids may dewet a surface and hydrophobicity becomes a more general "lyophobicity". Wetting dynamics at both smooth and structured surfaces is involved in a range of surface phenomena, including contact angle hysteresis, adhesion, surface forces, self-cleaning and the boundary conditions for fluid flow.
      This very active area of current research has major cross-disciplinary implications, and a number of theoretical, modeling and experimental results are in urgent need of clarification and resolution if we are to understand better the properties and behavior of extended and structured hydrophobic and lyophobic surfaces.
      Physical chemists, biologists, materials scientists and nanotechnologists will benefit from attending this meeting, and its printed discussion.

Themes: Superhydrophobic Surfaces; Dynamic Transitions; Liquid-Vapour Interfaces
and Nanobubbles; Heterogeneous Surfaces

Speakers:   Peter J. Rossky, The University of Texas at Austin; Frank H. Stillinger, Princeton University; David Quéré, ESPCI, France; Thomas J. McCarthy, University of Massachusetts; Elisabeth Charlaix, University of Lyon, France; Julia M. Yeomans, University of Oxford, UK; Benjamin Widom, Cornell University; Jacob Israelachvili, University of California, Santa Barbara; Bruce J. Berne, Columbia University

Conference Sponsors:   American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry and Division of Physical Chemistry and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

Conference Co-Chairs:   Dr. Hugo K. Christenson (University of Leeds, UK), Professor Alenka Luzar (Virginia Commonwealth University)


Mar. 26 - Dr. Marco F. Ellis, Northwestern University,
“The Use of Alloplastic Implants in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery”

Apr. 2 - Professor James Anderson, Harvard University

Apr. 9 - Professor Jennifer Doudna, University of California - Berkeley,
 “Dicer and Beyond:  Regulatory RNA Processing and Function” (BURGER LECTURE)

Apr. 16 - Dr. Linda Birnbaum, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences,
“Halogenated Flame Retardants: Does the Benefit Justify the Risk?”

Apr. 23 - Professor Ka Yee Lee, University of Chicago,
“Beyond Wrinkling: Stress Relaxation in Surfactant Monolayers and Other Thin Films”

Chemistry colloquia are held at 4:00 p.m. in Room 304 of the Chemistry Building. The complete colloquium schedule is on-line at


Mar. 25 - Dr. Howard Fairbrother, Johns Hopkins University
Apr. 1 - Dr. Keith Ellis, Virginia Commonwealth University
Apr. 8 - Dr. Jacob Klein, Weismann Institute of Science, Israel
Apr. 15 - Dr. Hugo Christenson, University of Leeds
Apr. 22 - Professor Michael Klein, Temple University,
“Nothing Amuses More Harmlessly that Computation....”
Apr. 29 - Dr. Lynn Penn, Drexel University

The seminars are held at 4:00 p.m. (note the change in time) in the Kapp Lecture Hall, Room 1024, in the Mary E. Kapp Wing of Oliver Hall, 1001 West Main Street in Richmond. The public is invited. For more information, call (804) 828-1298.


     The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at James Madison University currently offers ACS certified degrees in chemistry, biochemistry, materials chemistry, and chemical education, as well as non-ACS certified degrees in chemistry and chemical-business. A critical aspect of our undergraduate teaching philosophy is the involvement of undergraduates in research projects. The summer of 2010 will mark the nineteenth year that the summer research program has been funded by being designated as an NSF-REU site. In 2008, the JMU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry received a Department Development Grant from the Research Corporation to further integrating undergraduate research into the curriculum at large public institutions.

     In May 2005, the department moved into a new state-of-the-art building on East Campus that it shares with physics. This facility currently houses over $2.5M in state of the art chemical instrumentation that is routinely used by students in their classes and for research. The two most visible components of our instrument holdings are the Shenandoah Valley Regional NMR Facility and the JMU Regional Undergraduate Laser Facility. The NMR facility has a 300 MHz, a 400 MHz, and a 600 MHz NMR that are also available to off campus users. The laser facility has been used to educate faculty from across the United States on ways to integrate lasers into their laboratory programs. Other notable instrumentation available for use by students includes numerous specialized FTIR’s, a range of thermal analysis instrumentation, a variable temperature powder X-ray diffractometer, atomic force microscopes, and a scanning electron microscope.

      JMU has two very active award winning student chemistry organizations: The JMU ACS Student Affiliate Chapter and the Gamma Kappa Chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma (the professional Chemistry fraternity).


The WCC of the Virginia Section will again sponsor a chemistry career discussion panel for students interested in careers in the chemical sciences. The panel will be held on Friday, April 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm in The Gallery in Georgiadis Hall at J. Sargent Reynolds Community College, Parham Road Campus, 1651 E. Parham Road, Richmond, VA. Speakers representing chemistry careers in teaching, research, business, and the law will share their career stories and answer questions. All interested students are invited, and light refreshments will be served. For more information or directions, contact Ann Sullivan, asullivan @ or 804-523-5777.


On January 22, 2010, nearly 60 persons heard Dr. Foster Agblevor from Virginia Tech speak on the “Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass to Fuels and Chemicals.” The Section meeting was held at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. Dr. Stephanie Mabry presided. She presented a Past-President pin to Ken Chapman, outgoing Chair of the Section. Dr. Jeffrey Seeman provided some information on the Archimedes Initiative and showed a brief video that is part of this effort to interest young persons in science through science fair activities. Dr. Cheryl Baldwin introduced the speaker. Thanks to Yezdi Pithawalla and Stephanie Mabry for organizing this meeting and to the Science Museum of Virginia for hosting the Section.

Dr. Foster Agblevor

Attendees at the
January 22 meeting

Dr. Jeffrey Seeman


Left-to-right:   Ken Chapman, Past-Chair; Stephanie Mabry, Chair-ElectYezdi Pithawalla, ChairKaren Carter, Vice Chairnot shown: Trish Lauck;  Secretary
Brad Norwood, Treasurer


The ACS and the Virginia Section will be celebrating Earth Day again this year. The 2010 theme is “Plants—The Green Machines.” Earth Day was first officially recognized on April 22, 1970 as a way to demonstrate support for a healthy environment and raise awareness about environmental issues. The ACS joined the Earth Day celebration in 2003 and there have been annual Chemists Celebrate Earth Day (CCED) events every year since then. This year’s events will include:

  • a celebration on April 17 at the Midlothian Campus of John Tyler Community College;
  • an illustrated poem contest; and
  • an Earth Day competition for student affiliate chapters.

See the articles below for details of these activities. Check this website for general information on Chemists Celebrate Earth Day:


The Virginia Section will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 17 with a full schedule of activities at the Midlothian Campus of John Tyler Community College. “Celebrate the Earth” will be part of a free community festival known as Fool for Art. The CCED activities will operate from 10:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. There will be many hands-on opportunities relating to the Earth. John Tyler’s Midlothian Campus is located at 800 Charter Colony Parkway, just off the Woolridge Road exit of Route 288. Full directions can be found on the John Tyler website:   Dr. Kristine Smetana is coordinating the CCED event and needs volunteers to help out. Contact her at ksmetana @ or at (804) 706-5143.


Students in grades K through 12 are invited to enter the CCED 2010 Illustrated Poem Contest by writing and illustrating a poem using the theme “Plants: The Green Machines.” The poem may be in any style as long as it is no more than 40 words. The illustration must be created by hand using crayons, watercolors, other types of paint, colored pencils, or markers. Winners will be selected in four different grade categories: K-2; 3-5; 6-8; 9-12. The first-place winner in each category will receive $200; second place gets $100. Contest entries should be delivered to the Virginia Section CCED Coordinator at this address:   Dr. Kristine Smetana, John Tyler Community College, 13101 Jefferson Davis Highway, Chester, VA 23831. Entries must be received by March 31, 2010. Full contest information and rules can be found on the CCED website:


ACS student affiliate chapters at colleges and universities are invited to enter the CCED 2010 competition. Student chapters are encouraged to produce an activity for elementary school students to illustrate the 2012 theme about recycling. Entries must be original hands-on activities and must be received by the ACS in Washington by April 22, 2010. Each student affiliate may submit only one entry. First place receives $500; second place $250. Full contest information and rules can be found on the CCED website:  


      This question was asked in the February Bulletin: Between 1993 and 2006, the Summer issues of the Bulletin featured cartoons drawn by a member of the Virginia Section. The “artist” was very active in the ACS, serving as Chair of the Section, representing the Section as a Councilor, chairing a national ACS committee, and receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the Virginia Section. Who did those 13 humorous drawings?   Charles E. (Eddie) Thomas was the artist in residence for those 13 years. Eddie was Section Chair in 1988.

A new question: Ms. Leah Jacobs is shown here playing the harp at a Virginia Section (this may have been the only time that this instrument was ever played at a Section meeting).   Where and when was this meeting? Some additional hints: Ms. Jacobs was a junior Mass Communications major at the University hosting the meeting. She is a native of York, Pennsylvania. The meeting began with a Social Hour that featured Virginia wine and Virginia apple juice. A highlight of the meeting was the presentation of two door prizes –  Ms. Dorothy Stevens received a package of Virginia apple products and Mr. Mike Pearson took home the grand prize, an original oil painting by Joanne Happ.


Judges and meeting chairs are needed for the 69th annual meeting of the Virginia Junior Academy of Science (VJAS), to be held at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, May 20, 2010. About 750 students from grades seven through twelve will present papers and report on original research work. If you would like to contribute to this celebration of science by young persons, please contact Susan Booth, VJAS Director, at susanscience @ or at (757) 874-3349. Judges are needed in Agriculture & Animal Science, Animal Behavior, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Consumer Science, Earth & Space Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Genetics & Cellular Biology, Mathematics, Medicine & Health, Microbiology, Physical Science, Physics, Psychology, Statistics, and Zoology.

SERMACS 2011 - Charting Chemical Connections

The Virginia Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) will host the 63rd Southeastern Regional Meeting of the ACS (SERMACS 2011) during October 25-29, 2011. The theme of the meeting is “Charting Connections in Chemistry”. The Local Organizing committee has members from the Virginia Local Section but we need more volunteers to help with this meeting. Some of the areas where help is needed include: Website Maintenance, Registration, Hospitality, and Volunteer Coordinator. Under the Programming subcommittees we need volunteers for Local Arrangements and AV, Women’s Committee, Younger Chemists Committee, Educational Activities, Awards and Diversity, Employment/Career Workshop, Social/Non-technical, Workshop Coordinator, Tour Coordinator, Local Events Coordinator, and Symposia Coordinators. Please contact General Chair Joe Pompano: joe.pompano @ or Program Chair Ann Sullivan: asullivan @ for more information about submitting a symposium or volunteering. General information on SERMACS 2011 can be found on the SERMACS website:


      The photograph is from 1992. It was taken at a Section meeting held in March of that year at Longwood College (now Longwood University). The gentleman is a long-time member of the Virginia Section, having served in many offices, including that of Section Chair (1970). He received the Distinguished Service Award in 1976 and now resides with his wife Ann in Hopewell. The lady was the wife of the speaker at the Section meeting in March, 1992. Her husband was a renowned medicinal chemist. At the time of the meeting he was Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia. The American Chemical Society’s award in medicinal chemistry is named for him.
       The “mystery person” in the February issue was Mary Virginia Carson, recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Science Teaching in 1969. She was then the chairman of the Science Department at John Handley High School in Winchester, Virginia.