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Research as a Driver of Educational Innovation: Some Reflections on the Outreach Program of an NSF Collaborative Research in Chemistry Project Dennis H.

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Presentation on theme: "Research as a Driver of Educational Innovation: Some Reflections on the Outreach Program of an NSF Collaborative Research in Chemistry Project Dennis H."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research as a Driver of Educational Innovation: Some Reflections on the Outreach Program of an NSF Collaborative Research in Chemistry Project Dennis H. Evans Department of Chemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (USA) Supported by NSF, CHE

2 …or, how I spent my summer vacation (seriously)

3 J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1984, 106,

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5 National Science Foundation Collaborative Research in Chemistry “Coupling Redox Processes to Drive Chemical Reactivity: New Catalysts for Hydrogen Production” Principal Investigators: Dennis H. Evans, Richard S. Glass and Dennis L. Lichtenberger, Department of Chemistry, University of Arizona The science: …To overcome these obstacles, this proposal derives inspiration from Nature. Hydrogenases are naturally occurring enzymes that couple low potential redox reactions to generate hydrogen. Iron-only hydrogenases utilize a cheap and abundant metal and operate in ambient conditions. The active site in the enzyme is a diiron center. The scientific challenge is to couple low potential redox reactions with reduction of a diiron center, an energetically unfavorable process. The proposed solution is to electronically couple a functional diiron system to a low potential redox ligand, and then drive the energetically unfavorable electron-transfer from the redox ligand to the diiron system by coupling it to an irreversible chemical reaction, that is, protonation and generation of H 2 …

6 The outreach: …be mentored in the skills essential for multidisciplinary team approaches to problem- solving. A program to inspire underrepresented high school students to pursue careers in science, which takes advantage of Tucson’s large Hispanic and long- standing Native American populations (two minorities woefully underrepresented in science), is an integral part of this endeavor.  SUMMER PROGRAM IN HYDROGEN RESEARCH FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS June 5-July 14, 2006

7 The CRC Hydrogenase Team Synthesis: Professor Richard Glass(Co-PI) Dr. Jinzhu Chen(Postdoc) Dr. Rudresha Kottani(Postdoc) Ms. Uzma Zakai(Graduate Student) Mr. Matt Swenson(Graduate Student) Electrochemistry: Professor Dennis Evans(Co-PI) Dr. Greg Felton(Postdoc) PES/Computations: Professor Dennis Lichtenberger(Co-PI) Ms. Tori Moser(Graduate Student) Mr. Taka Sakamoto(Graduate Student) Mr. Aaron Vannucci(Graduate Student) Mr. Ben Petro(Graduate Student)

8 The NSF “Nugget”:

9 Hydrogenase Active Site X = OH¯ or H 2 O; Y = O or N

10 Ms. Uzma Zakai

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12 Cover Art for Inorganic Chemistry — are we ready for this?

13 He 1 close comparison Ionization Energy (eV) Ms. Tori Moser, 2006

14 SUMMER PROGRAM IN HYDROGEN RESEARCH FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS June 5-July 14, 2006 Recruit high school students and teachers for a six-week program of research in the CRC laboratories Concentrate on Tucson high schools (e.g., Sunnyside High School is >80% Hispanic) Students and teachers will receive a stipend; 5 days/week, 8 hr/day Form teams of two students and one teacher The teams will work with the faculty, postdocs and graduate students in the CRC on projects of direct importance to CRC At the end, each team will write a report and prepare a presentation

15 Questions Will anyone apply?(25 students; 3 teachers) Qualifications?(Excellent) Will the students understand?(Mixed) Will teachers want to spend the summer with students?(No problem) Shall we start with a week of lectures on the hydrogen economy, relevant chemistry…? (Bored them to death) Shall we have exercises to introduce the students to laboratory techniques? (Essential) Will the laboratory projects be interesting? (They loved it) What will motivate them?(Feeling that they are helping the project)

16 Questions or comments concerning this website can be addressed to Taka Sakamoto or Ben Petro. Last Updated:Taka SakamotoBen Petro Thu Nguyen Sabino High School William Pickeral University High School Sarena Debaca Sunnyside High School Stefan Romero Sunnyside High School Jessica Peña Desert View High School Delissa Fimbres Palo Verde High School

17 Wilma Amero Pueblo Magnet High School Tim Barry Salpointe Catholic High School Mark Calhoun Sabino High School The projects and presentations: Amero, Nguyen, Peña: Optimization of chemical synthesis of quinones Barry, Debaca, Romero: Development of an electrochemical method of preparing quinones Calhoun, Fimbres, Pickeral: Computational study of a new hydrogenase mimic

18 Adding Quinone To Backbone Before UV light After UV light.20 grams of iron backbone,.19 grams of quinone, and 250 mL of THF. The UV light was on for a total of 7.5 minutes.

19 This is not supposed to happen This is supposed to happen Starting at Neutral pH with 70 Coulombs to complete Reaction Color is Red At about 30 coulombs and an Acidic pH Instantaneous Color Change to Green Team: Barry, Debaca, Romero

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21 So what did we learn? The students had very minimal prior laboratory experience, but they loved the lab We shouldn’t start with a week of lectures The teams are capable of developing their own ideas (electrosynthesis of quinones was suggested by Tim Barry) Six graduate students and one postdoc were assigned to work with the participants. This was of crucial importance Our expectations of prior knowledge of chemistry were unrealistically high

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