Educational efforts and philosophy

My teaching efforts concentrate on long-term, multidisciplinary curriculum development. To this end, I developed and taught Introduction to polymer science, Chemistry of solids, an on-line course on Organic molecular conductors, Chemistry of advanced materials, and Nanomaterials. The latter attracts students from seven different academic departments, so it really builds bridges across the science disciplines. An emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations in our own work places us in an ideal position to promote cross-cutting courses like these. Introduction of new technology (such as multimedia lecture methods, network-based distance education, and introduction of modern instrumentation into the instructional laboratories) is also a high priority. For instance, thermal analysis and gell permeation chromatography equipment were incorporated into undergraduate physical and polymer chemistry courses at the State University of New York at Binghamton. I have also made major efforts to update the undergraduate physical chemistry labs at the University of Tennessee by modernizing the lab manual, the basic instrumentation (balances, uv-vis spectrometers, power supplies, and software for computational chemistry), and the facilities. At the same time, I developed labs on Theoretical thermodynamic properties prediction, Confinement effects on the optical properties of nanogold, Symmetry, structure, and properties of C60 fullerene, Polymer fluorescence and light emitting diodes, Raman scattering and symmetry of oxide battery materials, Copper oxide superconductivity, and Raman scattering for gemstone identification. The latter has a machine learning component. Moreover, I rebuilt the vapor pressure lab, the vapor-liquid equilibrium setups, and a closed-cycle cryostat for variable temperature resistivity measurements on superconductors. Finally, I am deeply committed to the education of young people through hands-on research experiences. The creative accomplishments and contributions of my high school, undergraduate, and graduate students are reflected in our many publications. Funding for some aspects of this educational work has been provided by the National Science Foundation and the University of Tennessee.

Photos from the advanced physical chemistry lab

Students measuring the optical properties of nano-gold as a function of particle size, using the results to determine trends in confinement.
Students using the stereo microscope to photograph gemstones of interest. This one might be a garnet!
Students using Raman scattering spectroscopy to reveal the properties of different gemstones. The ring in question (belonging to Kevin's great-grandmother) is indeed a garnet!