Committee Membership Information

Study Title:

Communicating Chemistry in Informal Environments

Study Director:

Dr. Mark A. Ratner - (Co-Chair)
Northwestern University

Mark Ratner describes himself as a theoretical materials chemist. Arguably the youngest of the chemical sciences, materials chemistry is concerned with how chemical interactions control and determine the properties of materials. Throughout his career, Ratner has aimed to develop models to define a theoretical language for how the molecular structures of a material are manifested in its physical properties. His work has focused on several areas including charge transport (1, 2), ion transfer (3), nonlinear optical behavior (4), and quantum dynamics (5, 6). Electron-transfer reactions, so fundamental to life, underlie biological processes such as photosynthesis, cytochrome p450 reactions, and cellular respiration as well as materials processes such as electrochemistry and corrosion. "It's one of the most important reactions in chemistry, which is why I've spent 30 years on it and will spend the rest of my life on it," he said. Born in Cleveland in 1942, Ratner graduated from Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) in 1964 with an undergraduate degree in chemistry. He obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL), did postdoctoral work in Aarhus and Munich, and taught chemistry at New York University (New York) from 1970 until 1974. Later he served as a visiting professor with the National Sciences Research Council at Odense University (Odense, Denmark). Currently, Ratner is the Co-Director of the Initiative for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN), and is the Lawrence B. Dumas Distinguished University Professor at Northwestern University, where he served as chair of the chemistry department on two separate occasions, 1988-1991 and 2009-2012. Ratner also served as associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1980 until 1984. He was nominated to the National Academy of Sciences in 2002. Ratner has also received two honorary ScDs from Hebrew University in 2005 and the University of Copenhagen in 2010.

Dr. David A. Ucko - (Co-Chair)
Museums + More, LLC

David A. Ucko shares his experience advancing informal science learning as president of Museums + more LLC. He also serves as vice president on the Visitor Studies Association board. At the National Science Foundation, he was section head for Informal Science Education and then deputy director and acting division director for the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings in the Senior Executive Service. There, he initiated the NRC Learning Science in Informal Environments study, the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education, the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, and the Framework for Evaluating Informal Science Education Projects. As founding president of Science City at Union Station, Ucko led development of a themed, immersive science center as linchpin for the $250+ million transformation of Kansas City's historic landmark. As vice president for Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry and deputy director for the California Museum of Science and Industry, he produced major exhibitions such as "Everyday Chemistry," "Technology: Chance or Choice?," and "My Daughter, the Scientist." Ucko was a Presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate to the National Museum Services Board, and chaired the Advocacy and Publications Committees of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. He authored two college chemistry textbooks while on the faculty of Antioch College and the City University of New York. Ucko is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He received a B. A. in chemistry from Columbia (S. J. Lippard) and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from M.I.T. (F. A. Cotton).

Dr. Joseph S. Francisco
Purdue University

Joseph S. Francisco is the William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and Chemistry at Purdue University. Dr. Francisco completed his undergraduate studies in chemistry with honors at the University of Texas at Austin, and he received his Ph.D. in chemical physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983. After spending 1983-1985 as a Research Fellow at Cambridge University in England, he returned to MIT as a Provost Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Francisco has received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar Award. In 1993, he was a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, which he spent at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. In 1995, he received the Percy L. Julian Award for Pure and Applied Research, the highest research award of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers. He was selected to be a Sigma Xi National Lecturer from 1995 to 1997. In 2007, Purdue University presented Dr. Francisco the McCoy Award -- the highest research award given to a faculty member for significant research contributions. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2010 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The German government selected Dr. Francisco for an Alexander von Humboldt U.S. Senior Scientist Award, and the University of Bologna, Italy, appointed him a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies. He is professeur invit� at the Universit� Paris-Est, France; a visiting professor at Uppsala Universitet, Sweden; and an honorary life member of the Israel Chemical Society. He has been a member of the Naval Research Advisory Committee for the Department of the Navy (appointed by the Secretary of the Navy, 1994-1996). Dr. Francisco was appointed atmospheric and ocean science editor for Pure and Applied Geophysics from 1998-2001. He has also served as a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of Spectrochimica Acta Part A, Journal of Molecular Structure: Theochem, and The Journal of Physical Chemistry. He is a co-author of the textbook Chemical Kinetics and Dynamics, published by Prentice-Hall and translated in Japanese. He has also published over 400 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of atmospheric chemistry, chemical kinetics, quantum chemistry, laser photochemistry, and spectroscopy. Dr. Francisco was president of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers from 2005-2007, and served on its Board of Directors from 2003-2007. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Council for Chemical Research, on the Executive Board of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, and on the Board of Directors for the American Chemical Society from 2009-2011. He was elected president of the American Chemical Society for 2010. President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Francisco a member of the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science for the term 2010-2012. Tuskegee University awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, in 2010.

Ms. Mary Kirchhoff
American Chemical Society

Mary Kirchhoff is Director of the American Chemical Society Education Division, and previously spent three years as Assistant Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute. She received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and joined the Chemistry Department at Trinity College in Washington, DC following graduation. Mary spent nine years at Trinity College, where she served as Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She became involved with green chemistry when she received an AAAS Environmental Fellowship to work with the U.S. EPA's green chemistry program. Mary is a co-author with Paul Anastas and Paul Bickart on Designing Safer Polymers, and co-editor with Mary Ann Ryan on the ACS' Greener Approaches to Undergraduate Chemistry Experiments.

Dr. Michael Stieff
University of Illinois at Chicago

Michael Stieff is an assistant professor of learning sciences and chemistry at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received a Ph.D. in learning sciences and an M.S. in chemistry from Northwestern University, where he was awarded a Spencer Dissertation Year Fellowship Award for his research on human problem solving in undergraduate organic chemistry. His research examines sex differences in organic chemistry problem solving, the interaction of spatial ability and chemistry expertise, and the development of visualization software for teaching chemistry. With a grant from the National Science Foundation, Stieff and his colleagues are studying how physical models help (and hinder) students in organic chemistry. This work has led to the finding that molecular models only benefit learning when students are able to physically handle models, and that teaching methods that only display models can negatively impact student achievement. To address such limitations, Stieff is developing gesture-recognition interfaces that permit students to "handle" molecular models in virtual simulations. Stieff also directs The Connected Chemistry Curriculum project, which involves the development and evaluation of molecular visualizations for teaching high schools. This project aims to improve the achievement of urban science students through activities that involve inquiry explorations of virtual chemical reactions. Stieff has been published in Cognition & Instruction, International Journal of Science Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching and other journals. He has served as an assistant professor of science education at the University of Maryland-College Park, and he has taught general chemistry at the secondary level and organic chemistry for the City Colleges of Chicago.

Dr. Julia Y. Chan
Louisiana State University

Julia Chan is a professor of solid state and materials chemistry at Louisiana State University. Her research focuses on the single crystal growth of novel intermetallics and oxides. Her research interests involve synthesis of materials that exhibit metal-to-insulator transitions, mixed valence, highly correlated electronic systems, superconductivity, and materials for energy conversion. Dr. Chan's awards include the NSF Career Award, the American Crystallographic Association Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award, the Baylor University Outstanding Alumni Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the Iota Sigma Pi Agnes Fay Morgan Award, and the American Chemical Society Exxon Mobil Faculty Fellowship in Solid State Chemistry. She was one of 12 scholars profiled in a 2002 C&E News series on "Women in Chemistry", highlighting women making an impact in the chemical sciences. She is currently the editor of Journal of Alloys and Compounds and serving on the Editorial Board for Chemistry of Materials. Dr. Chan earned her B.S. degree in chemistry from Baylor University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. After her Ph.D., she spent 2 years as a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Dr. Luis Echegoyen
The University of Texas at El Paso

Luis Echegoyen is the Robert A. Welch Chair Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso since August, 2010. He was the Director of the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation from August, 2006 until August, 2010 where he was instrumental in establishing new funding programs and research centers. He was also a Professor of Chemistry at Clemson University in South Carolina, where he maintained a very active research program with interests in fullerene electrochemistry, monolayer films, supramolecular chemistry, and spectroscopy; endohedral fullerene chemistry and electrochemistry; and carbon nanoonions, synthesis, derivatization and fractionation. He served as Chair for the Department of Chemistry at Clemson from 2002 until his NSF appointment. Luis has published around 300 research articles and more than 40 book chapters. He was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003 and has been the recipient of many awards, including the 1996 Florida ACS Award, the 1997 University of Miami Provost Award for Excellence in Research, the 2007 Herty Medal Award from the ACS Georgia Section, the 2007 Clemson University Presidential Award for Excellence in Research, and the 2007 University of Puerto Rico Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was just selected as an ACS Fellow for 2011. Luis is a coveted speaker who has to his record over 300 scientific invited lectures and presentations. Luis was born in Habana, Cuba in 1951. His family moved to Puerto Rico in 1960, where he spent his formative years. He received a BS in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a research scientist at Union Carbide Corporation in Bound Brook, New Jersey. Realizing that his vocation was in academic research and teaching, he returned as Assistant Professor to the University of Puerto Rico in 1977. Luis was invited to serve as Program Officer in the Chemical Dynamics Program at NSF in 1981, and he held a simultaneous Adjunct Associate Professor position at the University of Maryland, College Park. He moved to the University of Miami in 1982, where he served as Associate Professor and Professor for 18 years. While at Miami, he took two very rewarding sabbatical leaves: one to Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France in 1990, where he collaborated with Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, 1987 Nobel Price Winner in Chemistry, and a second one to the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland in 1997, where he worked with Professor Francois Diederich. Luis maintains active research collaborations with researchers in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, and all across the US. Luis has been continuously funded since the start of his academic career, and is proud to have directed the research of a very large number of undergraduate and graduate students in Puerto Rico, Miami, and Clemson, all of whom have gone on to successful academic, professional, and industrial careers.

Dr. Bruce Lewenstein
Cornell University

Bruce V. Lewenstein (A.B., general studies in the humanities, 1980, University of Chicago; Ph.D., history and sociology of science, 1987, University of Pennsylvania) is Professor of Science Communication in the Departments of Communication and of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA. He works primarily on the history of public communication of science, with excursions into other areas of science communication (such as informal science education). He has also been very active in international activities that contribute to education and research on public communication of science and technology, especially in the developing world. In general, he tries to document the ways that public communication of science is fundamental to the process of producing reliable knowledge about the natural world. Among his major accomplishments, from 1998 to 2003, Lewenstein was editor of the journal Public Understanding of Science. He was co-chair of a U.S. National Research Council study, Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits, edited by Philip Bell, Bruce Lewenstein, Andrew W. Shouse, and Michael A. Feder (2009). In 2012, he was the first Presidential Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (Philadelphia), where he worked on issues of public engagement. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2002, and in 2011 served as chair of the AAAS's section on societal implications of science and engineering. He is co-author of Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Michael M. Sokal, and Bruce V. Lewenstein, The Establishment of American Science: 150 Years of the AAAS (Rutgers Univ. Press, 1999), editor of When Science Meets the Public (Washington, DC: AAAS, 1992, now available online at the AAAS website), and co-editor of David Chittenden, Graham Farmelo, and Bruce V. Lewenstein, eds., Creating Connections: Museums and the Public Understanding of Research (Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press, 2004). He has been an active evaluator of informal science education projects, especially in areas of "citizen science".

Mr. Lawrence Bell
Museum of Science

Larry Bell has worked in the Education and Exhibit Departments at the Museum of Science in Boston since 1971 where he has served as Education Associate, Director of Exhibit Research and Planning, Head of Exhibits, Associate Director, Vice President for Exhibits, and Sr. Vice President for Research, Development and Production. He was instrumental in the formation of the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative, a collaboration of eight science centers nationwide. Through a series of National Science Foundation grants from 1986 to the present, he developed a new model for science center exhibits employing contructivist learning experiences to provide visitors with practice in scientific thinking skills. Currently he is engaged in the early stages of a strategic plan for informal technology education at the Museum and heads the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network, a major NSF initiative to raise public awareness, understanding, and engagement with nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. He received a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Earth and Planetary Science from M.I.T. in 1971.

Dr. Diane Bunce
Catholic University of America

Diane Bunce received a B.S. in Chemistry from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY, a masters in science teaching from Cornell University and a PhD in chemical education from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. She is a full professor of chemistry and the Patrick O'Brien Chemistry Scholar at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC where she has taught since 1985. Diane has served as the founding feature editor and then as the associate editor for chemical education research for the Journal of Chemical Education since 1996. She has published articles on how students learn chemistry and the mismatch between how we teach chemistry and how the brain operates. The books she has edited on chemical education research include The Nuts and Bolts of Chemical Education Research and Investigating Classroom Myths through Research on Teaching and Learning both published by the American Chemical Society. Diane has also served as one of the original authors of the American Chemical Society's high school chemistry textbook (ChemCom) and undergraduate nonscience majors' textbook (Chemistry in Context). Diane is the recipient of the American Chemical Society 2012 Pimentel Award for Chemical Education.