An exciting discovery from an incorrect hypothesis

A hypothesis can be a scientists’ best-educated guess about how an experiment might turn out or why they got specific results. Sometimes, they’re not far off from the truth. Other times, they’re wrong. Being wrong isn’t always a bad thing. Often, it means that the researchers get to discover something new and exciting. This exact scenario happened when the Burstyn and Buller lab decided to work together on a project.

Chemistry graduate students use virtual ‘zine to bridge gap between arts and science

Although art and science are commonly viewed as two completely unrelated ventures, over the years, their coexistence has been realized as more compatible than immiscible. Graduate students from the Department of Chemistry, through their recently established art and literary magazine, are advocating for this interdisciplinary approach and the benefits it renders. The Benzine, besides being a great pun, is a platform for the chemistry community to share their art, build a sense of community and alleviate stress.

UW–Madison to celebrate spring commencement with graduates-only ceremonies at Camp Randall

After a year in which students faced many challenges, University of Wisconsin–Madison leaders are pleased to announce plans to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for spring 2021 graduates at Camp Randall.

The university is planning two ceremonies on Saturday, May 8 — one for undergraduates, the other for all graduate degree candidates.

Collaboration helps UW-Madison Chemists quickly evaluate technologies to clean the air

Individuals and businesses are scrambling to find new ways to protect themselves from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. With this interest, the effectiveness of new technologies that promise to improve indoor air quality has taken center stage. University of Wisconsin–Madison chemists have accepted the challenge of evaluating those technologies and the work is moving quickly, thanks to the lab’s partnership with HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) specialists at Johnson Controls.

Bertram and Bain Receive James W. Taylor Excellence Teaching Awards

The Department of Chemistry has chosen two recipients for the James W. Taylor Excellence Teaching Award – Professor Timothy Bertram and senior instructional technology specialist Dr. Rachel Bain. Like many events in the past year, the departmental gathering to present the award looked quite different. Rather than holding a large gathering on campus, the award ceremony was held over Zoom.

Prof. Susanna Widicus Weaver brings a love of chemistry and expertise in astronomy

Vozza Professor of Chemistry Susanna Widicus Weaver arrived at UW–Madison in May to conduct research in prebiotic astrochemistry and on how life may form with the evolution of stars and planets. Weaver received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Illinois Wesleyan University (2000) and her Ph.D. in chemistry at California Institute of Technology (2005). She most recently was a professor of chemistry at Emory University.

Chemistry students win numerous awards

It was a busy year for awards, despite the constraints of a pandemic. In May, the Department of Chemistry celebrated students, faculty and staff with an online awards and graduation event called Celebrating Student Success. Because of generous donors, the department was able to give almost $500,000 in student support. See the winners of department and other awards below.

Thesis-writing program shares joy of scientific research

Several years and tens of thousands of words into writing their doctoral dissertation, you’d think few graduate students would sign on to write even more. And yet over the last decade, dozens of University of Wisconsin–Madison students have done exactly that. They’ve chosen to add one more chapter to their thesis, distilling years of hard-won scientific knowledge into prose understandable by the broader public, something rarely found in a dense document typically written for other scientists.