Chem 409 - Spring 2021

Dr. Frank Cheng, 003 Renfrew Hall, 885-6387,, Cheng Web Site

Office Hours: M&W 2:00-4:00


This course will introduce you into aspects of chemistry and science not covered in formal courses. The expectation for this course is your attention and attendance.

Grade Scheme  Attendance 50% (-5% for each absence), Participation 10%, Seminars 40%

A - 90-100%, B - 80-89%, C - 70-79%

Electronic devices policy – Please limit your use of these devices in this class. A NY Times article on laptops in the classroom.

Seminars must be approved topics can be obtained from your research, jobs or from publications such as Chemical and Engineering News, Chemistry World, Science News, Science, Science Daily,  or American Chemical Society. They should be PowerPoint presentations of 20 mins with Q&A. UI PPT Templates


Job searches: Chemical and Engineering News Career and Employment Archives, C&EN Jobs, Chem Jobber, National Lab Jobs


Tentative Schedule


January                14           Introduction – ACS Salary Survey,

                              21           Seminar by Instructor – Claudio HetzD. Mark HegstedDan Shechtman - Katalin Karikó

                              28           Seminar by Instructor: Cold Fusion Incident -Wikipedia - C&E News - 2013 60 Minutes 1991 PBS

February              4             Seminar by Instructor - GUITAR

                              11          How to give a good presentation in the sciences. (1, 2, 3) Life based on arsenic. (1, 2), Glyphosates. DNA Forensics. Chip Shortage, Chip Shortage 2.

                              18           Student Seminar 1

                              25           Student Seminar 2 – Ammonia as a fuel. What about NOx? NOx pollution.

March                  4             Student Seminar 3 - PFAS, Health Effects, Wikipedia,

                              11           Student Seminar 4

18           Spring Break

                              25           Student Seminar 5 mRNA Vaccines, Katalin Karikó (link 2), Non-toxic LED’s, Band Theory

April                      1             Student Seminar 6

8             Student Seminar 7

                              15           Student Seminar 8

                              22           Student Seminar 9 Iridium and Dinosaur Disappearance *Luis Alvarez Paper * K-Pg Boundary, Science Advances 2021, ICP-MS

                              29           Oral COVID inhibitor, Lipid Nanoparticles for RNA Vaccine Delivery,  Wikipedia, Link 2,  Video,

May                      6             Dead Week                       

Links from Previous Semesters.


2019 Links, Process Chemistry Jobs, What is Process Chemistry (2)? Free Textbooks, “Forever” Chemicals, Perfluorooctanoic acid, Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, In Drinking Water, RNA Editing, What is RNA?, Diagram, Genetic Code, Fluorescent Probe for Nerves, Stir Bars and Catalysis, Iron nanoparticles kills leukemia cells, Free Radicals DNA Damage, At NIH, Inflammation and Chronic Diseases, Why inflammation? Bakelite, Trailer, What is a 401k?, Simple 401k Calculator, Organic Chemistry and the Brain, Antifreeze Proteins, Video, Wikipedia, As Ice Cream Preservative, Alzheimer’s Reversed in Mice, Epigallocatechin gallate, Ferulic acid, Smart Windows, Red Meat Allergies, Alpha-Gal, Chemotherapy Drug Capture, Doxorubicin toxicity, Diagram, Retraction Watch, Arsenic in DNA, 2010 Paper, Employment RatesBLSBLS2Pharma Research - Statin DrugsNPRStatins and Calcium, Microplastics, Origin of the plastic, Engine Oil, Synthetic Oil. How does it work?, Fischer-Tropsch Process, Ancel Keys, Ronald Krauss, Gary Taubes.


2018 Links Nitrogen SplittingN2 bond strengthTricolsanWikipedia - MOF CR - MOFSigma AldrichWater FiltrationScience Magazine - Li-Ion batteryYoutube (17:30) - Li reservesSeawaterMOFNa Ion batteryInventor - Youtube - Avg. 401k balance by age *401k needed to retire - Shape Shifting PolymersSelf Healing Polymers (video) – Self Healing Glass (Science Mag) - Geologic Diamond FormationCarbon Phase DiagramSynthetic Diamond -  Costs (2) – Boron Doped Diamond - Video New Antibiotic - 3D printer emissionsVOCsABSHydrogen from SeawaterMushroom ToxinNerve Agent - NovichokMalathion - Recycling renewablesLead Acid Battery Recycling (youtube)

2017 Links Employment 2017 World Chemical OutlookSalaries Europe Seeks Chemists

Retraction Watch * Wikipedia * Nature *Sydney Brenner

A few decimal places off. * As in DNA * DNA

Seminar by Instructor * Metallic Hydrogen - Fake News?

Iridium and Dinosaur Disappearance *Luis Alvarez Paper * K-Pg Boundary * Yucatan Crater* Stable Helium Compound. * Waste from Greek yogurt *Link 2 * What is COD?

Triangulene (link) *Brazilian Red Berries * Gore-Tex (Wikipedia) (Youtube)

Extraction of Uranium from Seawater * I-131 Plume in Europe * Wikipedia * Slow Release N fertilizer * Haber-Bosch Process * Carl Bosch *  Haber Process WWI

Anti-fungal agent * Silver in Water Purification * Silver Antibacterials * Researchgate *  Mildred Dresselhaus * Amyloid Busting Drugs What happens when you bet on the wrong hypothesis?

Crude Oil Analysis *  AgingFree Radical Theory of Aging *  Oil Sponge * Food Poisoning Detector * Catnip -- Caffeine

Missing Metallic Hydrogen Sample

Natural Preservatives * Phenolic Iron Chelators * My Hypothesis * Rancidification * Fenton’s Reagent * Cardiovascular Diseases * Inflammation

RB Woodward *  Woodward Group Meeting * IM Kolthoff * Algae as a Carbon Source * Algae Biodiesel (Wikipedia) * Economics

Desulfurization * Wikipedia *Sulfur and GUITAR *Ammonia

Employment Prospects for 2015 * RSC July 2, 2015

Li Ion battery in 787 - Time Magazine

Gov’t Role In Science * Phosphorous Recovery  Is There Really a Shortage? * Reproducibility in Life Sciences  Nature *News Story * New Antibiotics * AFM  3-D force microscope * Why Li Ion Batteries Fail

Li Ion Battery Problems    Theory of Operation

C&E News Mycotoxins   Wikipedia *Mycotoxins in History   Wikipedia  Detection * Alfatoxin   In Peanuts  Detection * A failure in the scientific method * NSF reprimand, Science Paper Retraction, Flint Pb Problem, Google Search Lead Phosphates

 2-D silicon, Top 50 Chemical Companies, Bad Forensics, ACS recommendations on Forensic Sciences, Zeise’s Salt, Cisplatin Links (1, 2, 3). * What is a 401k? The employer match. S&P500. Mutual Fund. Mutual Fund Expenses. Shiller P/E Ratio. Returns. Shiller Nobel Prize. Yale Web Site, DNA Twists

Non-invasive Analysis * Fake Antimalarial Drugs * Glucose Analysis Link 2 * Invasive Blood Glucose Analysis Link 2 Link 3 Link 4 * NAS Strengthening Forensic Sciences, Retraction of RNA nanoparticle paper, Zika Virus, Zika Virus

C&E News A Hg Chelator *  A Paper Retraction * 2002 Nobel Prize Winner Sydney Brenner * Strapped Scientists Abandon Research and Students * James D. Watson’s Advice

Bad Science

-        Different Learning Styles

-        Student Evaluations Of Teaching Effectiveness: What do they say about extent of student learning? Quantitative Studies 1, 1a, 2, 2a, 3 (chapter 3), NAS recommendations Page 4 Executive Summary.

Quality of American College Grads, ETS, Washington Post * Lack of Innovation

Chemistry Enrollment Trends * Ph.D. to professor * Chemical Industry and Gas Fracking Boom * Lack of Reproducibility in Sciences

Brookings Institute University Rankings * Avg. 401k balance by age *401k needed to retire

C&E News March 4, 2013 - Turning Ideas into Drugs. - Peptide Drug * What is a peptide? * Why are peptide drugs uncommon? Absorption Degradation. *A peptide drug. key words: idiopathic racemization.

LNG, Shale Boom, Lower 48 Shale Gas, Worldwide, Economist, How much NG? Phosphorous Runoff *Liver Toxicity in Drug Candidates, Acetaminophen * Process Chemist Job Opening, What is Process Chemistry