Kim Cossey. I’m an organic chemist in the dept of Chemistry & Physics. My research focus is organic synthesis, which just means using store bought chemicals to make more complex molecules. The biggest employer of chemists like me are drug companies. I got my Ph. D. from Penn State and am originally from Oklahoma.
Ideas for courses.
a. Drugs & Health care. For the chemistry end, I would use drugs as a platform to talk about how molecules’ shapes and electronics affect reactivity. Could also expand discussion into how drugs are metabolized. Relate drug development processes (synthesis, production into large scale, and human testing) to rising costs of prescription drugs & health care. Who will pay the costs (consumers, companies, government)?
b. Science behind alternative energy sources (hybrid vehicles, biofuels, solar, etc.) This would include the basics of how current energies work (fuel, coal, etc.) Could be linked with Environmental. WHY we need these alternatives. Long-term concerns, how chemists and biologists are contributing to new technologies and cleaning up pollution. (sidenote: did anyone see the Discovery special about large-scale removal & burying of CO2) CRAZY! Could also be linked to national and global environmental policies. Who makes the “rules” and what influences the choices of what energy types become available.
c. Chemistry of art. Focuses more on the material science angle of chemistry. Some ideas: what paints are made of and their interactions with surfaces, how removing paints vs. cleaning paintings work, chemical analysis used for art forensics