by Andy Franz
On April 30, 2016, the Department of Chemistry at the University of the Pacific held its 67th Annual ACS-BBQ for approximately 140 alumni and friends in attendance. The Sacramento Section of the ACS generously supported the event, which featured Dr. Tami Spector, professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of San Francisco. Her talk was titled “Chemistry and Contemporary Visual Art” and illuminated examples in which chemistry and chemical concepts were used by artists in their works. Contrary to traditional examples of how chemistry plays a role in art (i.e. archeology, dating, forgery and detection thereof, conservation, restauration, etc.), Dr. Spector educated the audience on artist’s interpretation of chemical concepts and the materialization of such interpretations in works of art. The piece of art is not necessarily interesting until one understands the story of how the piece came about and was realized. For example, a very modern artistic rendition of a chemical concept was that of a multi-array of LED-lights that drew their electrical power from the electrochemical reaction taking place in the ground soil of an abandoned surface mine. Nature provided chemical energy that was visualized by the art installation. The talk was very well received and interesting to a broad audience ranging from traditional chemists all the way to the non-chemist and lay-person.
Prior to the presentation, the department honored its outstanding students including the recipients of the Undergraduate Awards from the ACS Analytical Division and from the ACS Organic Division. This year’s outstanding graduating senior was Amanda Spieckenreuther (B.S. Biochemistry). Bianca Nguyen received the Paul Gross Award in Organic Chemistry. Four students were recognized with the endowed Emerson Cobb Award, namely Bianca Nguyen, Marcos Beltran-Sanchez, Johnson Liu, and Jessica Denning. The CRC-Freshman award went to Latimer Harris-Ward.