Chip Nataro, Lafayette College's blog

2 May 2018

Symbols in element names

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

Perhaps you noticed the poll about element symbols in names and were curious as to the answer. Well, given the need for a new BITeS post and my ability to think at this point in the semester, here are the answers. As a refresher, the question was, how many elements have element symbols in the middle of their names? For elements with an odd number of letters in their names the symbol must be the middle letter while for elements with an even number of letters in their names the middle two letters must be a symbol. I've made the symbols bold and inserted captial letters where appropriate.

2 Nov 2017

I'm Tired

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

Let's face it, it's that time in the semester. The students are sick. They are handing in exams and papers and you just want to run them through an autoclave. Throw on top of that all kinds of other work. This week for me has included 3 sections of gen chem exams, reading through approximately 100 abstracts for our sessions at ACS this spring, and reading through about 100 submissions for various on campus funding opportunities for a committee I am on. So, the fact that I need to get a BITeS post together is not making things easier.

17 Oct 2017

Shedding our skin

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

Every snake sheds its skin at some point and we here at VIPEr are no different. While we are thrilled about our latest NSF grant and excited to continue to grow this community, the leadership council also recognizes that the winds of change are blowing. By the end of this grant we hope to see some changes in the composition of the leadership council that will bring in people with great new ideas. We want to get a start on that process now by inviting members of the community to become more active in the day to day maintainance of the VIPEr website.

1 Sep 2017

The Name Game

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

It's that time of year when there are lots of eager young faces looking at me in my general chemistry lecture. And with those faces comes a long list of names that I have to try and attach to those faces. Of my many faults, perhaps the worst is my ability to remember names. I am very bad at it, especially when I get more than one new name at a time. An additional complication is that I only see these students on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so the long layoff really hurts.

15 Aug 2017

Papers for Pedagogy

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

About 1 year ago I was invited to attend an editorial board meeting for Organometallics. It was incredibly interesting to be on that side of the discussion and I got a lot out of it. For me, the most significant was the hatching of an exciting new idea about teaching--a virtual issue with a VIPEr theme. I was very excited that the editor-in-chief of the journal, Paul Chirik, was supportive of this idea and I knew that I needed to make this happen quickly.

17 Jul 2017

You've come a long way baby, or have you?

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

Going to a Gordon Research Conference, I expected I would come back and write a BITEs post about some of the great chemistry I saw and how I was inspired to do a million different experiments. While that is partly true, the conference proved to be extremely educational in a way I did not expect. It started early in the conference when a tenured faculty member at a research university told a story of how older male colleagues would whistle at her on days she was a bit more fancily dressed.

27 Jun 2017

Technology for research?

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

We're right in the midst of summer research season and around the chemistry department at Lafayette that can only mean one thing, video scavenger hunt time. As a department we try and do one fun event a week with the students. That can be things like a movie, mini-golf, bowling, etc. 14 years ago I came up with the idea of creating a photo scavenger hunt for the students and it was quite a hit. This morphed into a video scavenger hunt 11 years ago. From its humble beginnings it has grown quite significantly.

12 Apr 2017

I left my sanity in San Francisco

Submitted by Chip Nataro, Lafayette College

As usual, it was an exciting and exhausting ACS meeting. Our sessions were good. The poster session seemed to be pretty well attended, but I admit, it was hard to judge that based on the location of our posters. For the second straight year I had hotel issues; last year it was a power outage and this year an evacuation due to the fire alarm going off. We had an excellent social gathering at the Pin-Up thanks to Anne Bentley. I even got to sneak off to Oakland to see an Angels-A's game.


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