Flavors of Chemistry a Big Success

The Flavors of Chemistry event was a success on several levels: it honored members of the Sacramento Section, it brought together members of three different sections, and everyone learned about and tasted coffee, olive oil, and chocolate.

Dean Tantillo, chair of the Sacramento Section introduced the Sacramento Section honorees.

Dr. Jonathan Alspach, a 50-year member of ACS,  spent the majority of his career at the Registration Branch of the California Department of Pesticide Regulation as a senior environmental scientist in a regulatory capacity. He currently evaluates the chemistry of new pesticide active ingredients.

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Dr. Jonathan Alspach (left) and Marc Foster, Chair Elect of ACS Sacramento Section

Dr. Joyce Takahashi, a 60-year member of ACS, spent the majority of her career teaching chemistry and doing research at UC Davis.

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Dr. Joyce Takahashi (left) with Marc Foster,

Our Chair, Dean Tantillo, was elected a an ACS Fellow in 2017.

two people standing together

Dean Tantillo (left) with Marc Foster

Dr. Mako Masuno was honored as our ACS Sacramento Section Volunteer of the Year. He was recognized for his work in coordinating the Local and National Chemistry Olympiad Exams for the Sacramento Section since 2012. The most recent Local Olympiad had 73 students who took the exam, the largest Local Olympiad yet!

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Mako Masuno (left) and Marc Foster

Mr. James Hill was awarded the ACS Sacramento Section 2017 Jan Hayes High School Teacher Award. He currently teaches Honors Chemistry and International Baccalaureate Chemistry at Mira Loma High School in Sacramento. In his time there since 1997, Mr. Hill has advised and led the Mira Loma Science Bowl team to the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl competition 18 times and won the national title 5 times.  In addition, he is also the Director of the Sacramento Regional Science Olympiad, Science Department Chair at Mira Loma, and regularly works with students to prepare them for the U.S. High School Chemistry Olympiad.

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James Hill

Dr. Bill Ristenpart was the first featured speaker. He spoke about, “Using Using Chemistry to Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee”. In his presentation he discussed several important variables in brewing coffee: water quality, water temperature, water to coffee ratio, amount of coffee grinding, and brewing time. All of these combine to allow the perfect level of extraction from the coffee beans with out the coffee being too weak or two strong.

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Bill Ristenpart

Selina Wang was the next speaker. She integrated olive oil tasting into her presentation. It turns out that more “perfect” olive oils are more pungent, a feeling you get in the back of your throat. Most Americans prefer olive oils that are less perfect and more musty.

Person standing at podium

Selina Wang

Attendees smell the olive oil during the smell/tasting.

The final speakers were Dr. Howard Peters and Mrs. Sally Peters. Their presentation was very entertaining and informative. They brought several samples of chocolates as well as cacao beans in various stages of processing. At the end of their presentation, they gave away several prizes including a 10 pound chocolate bar.

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Sally Peters (left) and Howard Peters (right) with the prize winners from the give-away after their presentation

Thank you to our sponsor, Agilent Technologies, and thank you to all of those from the Sacramento Section who volunteered to help.

Author: Bill Miller

Bill Miller is the Chair of the Sacramento Section of the ACS. He also teaches chemistry at Sacramento City College.

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