Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Summer of Chemistry Fun for a Cool Chemistry Chick

Alyssa Banotai, class of 2014 at Bryn Mawr College is spending the summer on campus conducting chemistry research.

Her research entails (from her blog post)

During the past school year, my research focused on the synthesis of starting material, arylacylsilanes with varied substituents on the silane. Although organic synthesis is interesting and offers many learning opportunities as well as occasions to exercise creativity, I am excited to put my starting material to good use. 

This summer, my research will be focused on the cross-coupling via palladium catalysis of arylacylsilanes (my starting material) with bromobenzene to form benzophenones (Rxn 1). In fewer scientific terms, a small amount of palladium will be used, in the presence of water, to bring two compounds together and make new carbon-carbon bonds. An interesting complication arises with the presence of water: water is necessary for the palladium catalysis, but it also aids in an unwanted competitive reaction where the arylacylsilane is converted back to benzaldehyde (Rxn 2). 

It is my goal to monitor the desired and competitive reactions using kinetic studies to determine which arylacylsilane affords the greatest conversion to product with the least conversion to benzaldehyde.

If you are thinking about a career in chemistry, do yourself a favor and investigate the women's college with chemistry programs, like Bryn Mawr College. 

Below is information about the Bryn Mawr College Chemistry Department.(from the BMC Web site)

Bryn Mawr’s Chemistry Department has a more than century-long tradition of combining high quality, visible research programs with excellent teaching – a tradition the department is committed to continuing this century. The chemistry department seeks to provide a supportive and rigorous curriculum at the undergraduate and graduate level to students having diverse preparation and diverse goals.

The chemistry major program of study includes introductory and advanced courses in the core areas of biological, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. Advanced courses are informed by the research areas of bioinorganic, nanomaterials, medicinal, computational, organic materials and nucleic acid and protein chemistry.

Additional STEM Majors offered at Bryn Mawr College include: Astronomy, Biology, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Geology, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physics, and Psychology.

Known for their academic programs, Bryn Mawr College is a women’s college and is located in Bryn Mawr, PA.

About Bryn Mawr College (from the BMC Web site)

"Bryn Mawr is one of the world's most distinctive, distinguished colleges. Every year 1,300 undergraduate women and 400 graduate students from around the world gather on the College's historic campus to study with leading scholars, conduct advanced research, and expand the boundaries of what's possible.

A Bryn Mawr woman is defined by a rare combination of personal characteristics:

  •     An intense intellectual commitment
  •     A purposeful vision of her life
  •     A desire to make a meaningful contribution to the world.
These attributes create a spirit that is palpable on campus. It is visible, too, in the lives of Bryn Mawr alumnae, women who have become leaders in a wide range of fields, including those in which women are traditionally underrepresented.

We hope that this energy is tangible in these Web pages, and we encourage you to come to campus and experience it for yourself. It is what makes us proud to be Bryn Mawr."

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