Skip to Content

Essential Elements

November 24, 2015

Boettcher Lab Article makes cover of Chemistry of Materials

Cover artwork created by Shanna Zentner

An up-and-coming perspective by the Shannon Boettcher lab on H2O oxidation is on the cover of the November issue of Chemistry of Materials, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

The article, titled “Oxygen Evolution Reaction Electrocatalysis on Transition Metal Oxides and (Oxy)hydroxides: Activity Trends and Design Principles” by Michaela S. Burke, Lisa J. Enman, Adam S. Batchellor, Shihui Zou, and Shannon W. Boettcher, discusses new advances in understanding oxygen electrocatalysis on nickel−iron oxyhydroxides.

Read more at:

November 19, 2015

Dissertation Defense – Brandi Baldock, November 25th

Good luck to Brandi Baldock as she defends her thesis for her PhD in Chemistry!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015
10 AM in 240D Willamette



Brandi will continue on here at the UO as a post-doctoral fellow doing chemical education research with Professors Deborah Exton and Tom Greenbowe.

November 18, 2015

Dissertation Defense – Devin Merrill, November 24th

Good luck to Devin Merrill as he defends his thesis for his PhD in Chemistry!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
11:00 AM in 417 LISB

The title of his thesis is “Stability, reactivity, and constituent interaction in TiSe2-based metastable misfit layer compounds synthesized from designed amorphous precursors.”

Devin has accepted a position at Intel Corporation in Hillsboro, Oregon, starting in January.

November 17, 2015

Alum Travels to the Ends of the Earth

Alum Elin McIlhattan shares stories about her fieldwork with the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center

View of McMurdo Station from Observation Hill -  click for slide show

View of McMurdo Station from Observation Hill – click for slide show

How does a person get from a little farm in unincorporated Multnomah County, Oregon, to McMurdo Station, Antarctica?

For UO alumna Elin McIlhattan, the answer is a lot of hard work and a passion for science – as demonstrated by two University of Oregon Chemistry degrees and her current status as a PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Elin earned her UO Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 2006, followed by a Masters in Chemistry through the UO Masters Industrial Internship Program, Polymers and Coatings track, in 2007.  She is currently in her third year of a PhD program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at UW-Madison, studying polar cloud properties using satellites and models – which is how Antarctica entered the picture.

Soon after arriving at UW-Madison in 2013, a fellow graduate student introduced Elin to the scientists that work in the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center (AMRC). Having always loved fieldwork, Elin let them know that if there was ever an opening on their team, she wanted a chance to apply. That opening turned up the following season, so Elin worked to get her advisor on board, passed all the physical qualifications, and in December 2014 found herself on a LC-130 bound for McMurdo Station.

From mid-December 2014 to early February 2015, Elin worked as part of a four-member team installing new stations, updating equipment, and conducting repairs on the Antarctic Automatic Weather Station (AWS) network.  AWS is the largest network of instruments in the Antarctic, and its primary purpose is to measure Antarctica’s surface climatology.  Datasets collected by the stations, some going back 20 to 30 years, can provide researchers with essential observational records that will help identify signs of climate change in the Antarctic.  An article about Elin’s research, “The impact of polar clouds,” was recently published online in Physics Today.

When asked what she liked best about working in Antarctica, Elin said that her favorite part of the experience was the team that she worked with.

“Dave [Mikolajczyk], Carol [Costanza], and Lee [Welhouse] are all experienced scientists, but also approachable and still filled with excitement about their work in Antarctica,” Elin said. “Much of the work I did in McMurdo was not glamorous – hauling batteries and sorting hardware – but it was satisfying because I was helping to make sure everything would go right when we were able to fly out and repair stations.”

Now, station repairs might sound pretty routine, but in Antarctica, even routine tasks can turn into adventures.

Photo: repairs at Laurie II

Dave and Elin fixing the instrument boom to the top of the tower section at Laurie II.

“One highlight was our repair visit to the station Laurie II,” Elin said. “This station had not been serviced in many years, and it took a while to find. Because it was on the moving ice shelf, it was about five miles from that last GPS coordinates we had, and it had been buried nearly to the top by years of snow accumulation. It was a clear day, so the helicopter pilots felt comfortable leaving us for a few hours to do the repairs. So they helped us unload all of our tower sections and equipment, put out survival bags in case they could not return right away, and flew off to do other work. We spent hours digging out the station’s electronics and instruments, adding tower sections, putting everything back on, and running tests to make sure data was being collected and transmitted. Once we were finished, we radioed the pilots to come back for us, but they were not able to come right away. We ended up finding some large ice chunks we’d chipped off during the dig out and played a little baseball with those and the shovels. It was a successful, beautiful, and very surreal afternoon.”

After earning her PhD, Elin plans to complete a postdoc and pursue a career in a government organization such as NASA, NOAA or NCAR.

Her inspiration, she explains, is that, “In science, everyone is able to make a meaningful contribution. You don’t have to discover something brand new or make a giant breakthrough to contribute, you simply have to make progress on some small part that fascinates you. All of the small, individual contributions add up to advances as a society in understanding the complex universe around us. I’m constantly inspired by the community of scientists I am a part of, each working on their piece of the puzzle.”

And sometimes, solving that next piece of the puzzle means a visit to the ends of the earth.

by Leah O’Brien

Posted by Leah O'Brien
November 16, 2015

Marina Guenza named to ACS 2016 Physical Chemistry Division Executive Committee

UO Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty Marina Guenza has been selected as one of the Members-at-Large for the 2016 Executive Committee of the American Chemical Society’s Physical Chemistry Division.

The Physical Chemistry Division is one of thirty-two ACS Technical Divisions, each focusing on a specific field of the chemical endeavor. The Divisions provide the technical programming and scientific content of the ACS national meetings, including symposia and general sessions, workshops, tutorials, and demonstrations.



November 13, 2015

Dissertation Defense – Richard Westover, November 17th

WestoverGood luck to Richard Westover as he defends his thesis for his PhD in Chemistry!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
2:00 PM in 107 Klamath

The title of his thesis is “Synthesis of Multiple Constituent Ferecrystal Heterojunctions”

November 12, 2015

Catching up with some of our Alumni via UOWGS

uowgsClick on the photo captions below to find out what some of our Chemistry and Biochemistry alums are up to – courtesy of UO Women in Graduate Sciences’ website.



Posted by Leah O'Brien

Upcoming Physical Chemistry Seminar ~ Terefe Habteyes

Poster Habteyes

Posted by

Alum Robert Salomon, Class of 1960, in the News

Germantown resident Bob Salomon, 82, former Temple University chemistry professor and former consultant for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, now spends as much time as possible sailing his wife’s 49-foot boat.

An article in the Philadelphia, PA, Chestnut Hill Local catches up with alum Bob Salomon as he enjoys his retirement from Temple University.  Professor Salomon earned his PhD in Chemistry at at the University of Oregon in 1960.


Posted by Leah O'Brien

More Brewing in the Future for Alum Brian Coombs

Brian Coombs and Matt Van Wyk of the newly established AleSong Brewing and Blending (photo by Angelo De Ieso)

UO Chemistry and Biochemistry alumnus Brian Coombs, Class of 2011, is in the news again as AleSong Brewing and Blending opens its doors in Eugene. The new brewery will produce farmhouse, barrel-aged, and wild beers.

Read more in the Register Guard and the BeerAdvocate.

Posted by Leah O'Brien
  Page 1 of 26  Next Page »