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The Chemistry Department offers a robust series of seminars and talks throughout the academic year and summer, featuring distinguished scientists from industry and academe.

Events: Boston College Shows Chemistry Magic at AAAS Family Science Days

Family Science Days, a free event open to the general public, is a yearly production of the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

During this year’s event, Boston College chemists put on a stage show called “Chemistry Magic” that left no seat empty in the Hynes Convention Center Exhibition Hall. In the form of skits, faculty members and graduate students demonstrated polymer synthesis, visible effects of chemical reactions (release of gas and change of color), and chemical kinetics. In one of the skits, under the demands of a customer, a bartender successively changed water into “wine”, “milk” and “beer” by pouring the liquid from one glass to another. In another skit, a genie showed off his grandfather’s “clock in a flask” (iodine clock reactions).

At their exhibit booth, the enthusiastic children were provided with hands-on experiences by the following research groups:

Byers group: touching polymer materials (bouncing balls!) and learning their properties.
Tsung group: making magnetic nanoparticles and moving them around with magnets.
Wang group: using lamps to power toys with solar panels and playing with a hydrogen-powered toy car.
Weerapana group: seeing wild type and mutant C. elegans (or “worms” to the kids) under the microscope.

See photos of all four exhibits at Family Science Days >>

According to AAAS, 3,647 people registered for this year’s Family Science Days (not including conference attendees or media that may have stopped by).

Spring/Summer 2013 Seminars

The Chemistry Department at Boston College presents dozens of speakers each year from leading universities, industrial corporations, and the private sector. All talks are held at the Merkert Chemistry Center and are open to members of the scientific community. We invite you to join us:


January 8, 2013
O'Malley Lecturer
Professor Philip A. Cole
, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
“Exploring the Language of Protein Post-translational Modifications”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

January 22, 2013
Professor Gregory Fu
“Metal-Catalyzed Coupling Reactions of Alkyl Electrophiles”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

February 21, 2013
Dr. De-En Jiang
, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee
“From Benzene to Graphene and Things In Between”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

February 26, 2013
Professor Gojko Lalic
, University of Washington - Seattle
“New Methods for Hydrofunctionalization of Unsaturated Compounds”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

March 14, 2013
Professor Yuhuang Wang
, University of Maryland
“Propagation Chemistry on sp2 Carbon Lattices”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

March 19, 2013
Professor Eli Zysman-Colman
, Université de Sherbrooke, Canada
“Illuminating Iridium: From Visual Displays to Solar Cells”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

March 20, 21, & 22, 2013
Boston College University Lecture Series in Chemistry
Professor Dennis A. Dougherty
, California Institute of Technology

March 20, 2013
“Chemistry on the Brain: Understanding the Nicotine Receptor”
4:00 - 5:00 PM, Merkert 127

March 21, 2013
“The Cation-π Interaction: A New View of Benzene, Phe, Tyr, and Trp”
4:00 - 5:00 PM, Merkert 127

March 22, 2013
“Chemical-Scale Studies of Neuroreceptors and Ion Channels: What Have We Learned?”
2:30 - 3:30 PM, Merkert 127

View the Poster for Professor Dougherty's University Lecture Series

April 2, 2013
Professor Daniel J. Weix
, University of Rochester
“No More Nucleophiles: Direct, Selective Cross Coupling of Electrophiles”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

April 4, 2013
Professor Irwin Oppenheim, MIT
“Entropy in Systems away from Equilibrium”
4:00 PM, Merkert 124

April 9, 2013
Dr. Grier Wallace
, Abbvie Bioresearch Center, Worcester, Mass.
“Agonists of S1P1 for Immunology: A Medicinal Chemistry Perspective on Asymmetric Synthesis”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

April 11, 2013
Professor Dr. Andreas Hirsch
, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
“Chemical Functionalization of Synthetic Carbon Allotropes”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

April 16, 2013 - CANCELLED
Professor Erin Carlson
, University of Indiana
“Chemical Probes to Explore and Inhibit Bacterial Pathogenesis”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

April 18, 2013
Professor Thomas Keyes
, Boston University
“Statistical temperature molecular dynamics (STMD) and generalized replica exchange (gREM) algorithms for enhanced sampling of biomolecules and first order phase transitions”
4:00 PM, Merkert 129

April 30, 2013
Professor Eric Ferreira
, Colorado State University
“Accessing and Harnessing Metalated Intermediates Toward Synthetic Utility”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130


July 12, 2013
Professor Yoshito Tobe
, Osaka University, Japan
“Indenofluorenes: Stabilized Quinodimethanes with Singlet Biradical Characters”
4:00 PM, Merkert 130

Boston College Chemistry Department
Merkert Chemistry Center, 2609 Beacon Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3860