Assistant Professor of Chemistry Camille Jones has been awarded a two-year, $198,000 National Science Foundation grant for the development and evaluation of a course in solid state chemistry for seniors majoring in chemistry and chemical physics. The course will be the first of its kind among Hamilton’s peer institutions.
The grant will allow Jones and co-principal investigator Tabbetha Dobbins, assistant professor of physics at Louisiana Tech University, to design a course in which students use solid state chemistry and computational methods to develop intuition based on quantitative thinking rather than the qualitative approach to understanding materials that has been the standard in the undergraduate curriculum. Included in the plan will be the development of projects for student-led research groups that will involve synthesis, structure, experimental characterization and theoretical modeling. The funding includes summer research stipends for three students.
Also included in the grant is $100,000 for the purchase of state-of-the-art instrumentation including a differential scanning calorimeter and a thermogravimetric analyzer, as well as computers and computational software for the physical chemistry laboratory. Lab-based projects for the course will be built around important questions in solid state chemistry that require the use of the calorimeter, the analyzer and computer modeling programs.
During the development process, the course will be evaluated by Hamilton chemistry and physics faculty as well as by faculty from other institutions. The results of the project will be reported in student and faculty presentations at American Chemical Society and other conferences and the computational and lab experiments will be published in peer-review journals.