Meeting September 24th

September 2019 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
Union University, Jackson TN
Carl Grant Events Center

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Dinner 6:00 pm
Meeting 7:00 pm

Dinner: Sliced Roast Beef or Herb Crusted Chicken, Salad, Cheesy mashed potatoes, green beans, and Chocolate Explosion w/ ice cream
Price: $10 (students $5)

Program: “From Bean to Cup: A Chemist’s Perspective on Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee” by Dr. Josh Williams, Union University

Probably starting in Ethiopia, coffee has been cultivated and consumed by humans for over a thousand years, and coffee is now one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world. Coffee brewing methods vary widely as well, but they all have something in common. Brewing coffee, by any method, is ultimately the process of extracting soluble compounds from the solid coffee bean material into the solvent (water). This is, fundamentally, a chemical process. Utilizing chemical ideas and principles can help us to understand this brewing process more deeply and learn to optimize the different brewing variables to achieve what any serious coffee drinker wants – a better cup of coffee. The primary purpose of this very practical presentation is to give non-chemists in the general public a clear understanding of the entire coffee brewing process, and it is designed to be understandable by anyone, regardless of their chemistry background. So, bring a coffee-loving friend and come learn how a little chemistry can help you make a better cup of coffee.

Speaker Biography
Dr. Williams earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Augustana College in Illinois, and then a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Oregon. He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Pacific Northwest National Lab in Richland, WA, working on epitaxial growth of metal oxide superlattices for photochemical activity. He gained expertise in graduate school and his post-doc in using x-ray analysis methods to characterize thin films, which led to an industry position in Research and Development at Intel Corp. in Portland, a position as an Applications Scientist for an x-ray analysis equipment manufacturer, followed by a position as Chief Scientist in an x-ray analysis equipment manufacturing start-up company. He began teaching in higher education in 2008, and has been at Union since 2011. His current research interests include analytical instrument design and fabrication, exploring guest/host relationships in dye- inclusion crystals, and chemical education.


In the News: Kentucky Lake Local Section wins two ChemLuminary Awards

This year, the Kentucky Lake Local Section was selected as a finalist for four ChemLuminary Award(s).  Winners were announced at the ACS Fall 2019 National Meeting & Expo on Tuesday August 27th in San Diego, CA.  The section secured two awards:

The ChemAttitudes Partnership Award

“The Kentucky Lake Local Section conducted 5 hands-on science events, serving over 500 children across their rural region using the Let’s Do Chemistry kit. They partnered with Discovery Park of America to offer a free chemistry program; with the University of Tennessee Martin STEM Center to ensure that science had a prominent role at Martin Elementary School’s Family Fun Night; and with the ACS Student Chapter at Tennessee Martin to host a chemistry merit badge clinic for area Boy Scout troops.”

Outstanding Performance by a Local Section – Small Size Category Award

“Being a small section in a rural area is particularly challenging because members may have to drive upwards of 100 miles (each way) to attend meetings, activities, and events.  The Kentucky Lake local section met this challenge—and maintained good attendance—by rotating programming through four regional locations and providing consistent, high quality programs that engaged students, academic, and industrial members.”

Congrats to everyone who made these awards possible!

You can read more about this year’s ChemLuminary awardees here.

Meeting April 18

April 2019 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
Perkins Restaurant
15301 South 1st St, Milan, TN

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Dinner 6:00 pm
Meeting 7:00 pm

Dinner:  Order off the menu
Price: $10 (students $5)

Program: “Chemistry of Paper” by Dr. Joseph Mahoney, Buckman International


Meeting February 8th

February 2019 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
University of Tennessee at Martin
Watkins Auditorium, Boling University Center
Martin, TN

Friday, February 8, 2019

Dinner 6:00 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm

Program: “The Disappearing Spoon”
Sam Kean

Speaker Bio:


Sam Kean spent years collecting mercury from broken thermometers as a kid, and now he’s a writer in Washington, D.C. His stories have appeared in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and Psychology Today, among other places, and his work has been featured on NPR’s “Radiolab,” “Science Friday,” and “All Things Considered,” among other shows. “Caesar’s Last Breath” was named the Guardian Science Book of the Year in 2017, while “The Disappearing Spoon” was a runner-up for the Royal Society book of the year. Both “The Violinist’s Thumb” and “The Dueling Neurosurgeons” were nominated for PEN’s Literary Science Writing Award.

The presentation will be followed by a book signing in the Welcome Center.

Children are welcome and will attend a special Science Center during the program.

Meeting January 24th

January 2019 Kentucky Lake Section Meeting
Murray State University
1212 Jesse D Jones Hall
Murray, KY

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Dinner 6:00 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm

Dinner:  Massaman (chicken) and panang (Vegetarian) curry, jasmine rice, fruit tray, cookies ($10, $5 for students)

Program: Phosphines as Mild Reducing Agents:  Synthesis of Alkenes from Alkynes
Dr. Rachel Whittaker, Assistant Professor at Murray State University

Few mild and selective alkyne reduction methods have been reported, but the resulting alkenes are important functional groups found in many biologically and industrially useful compounds. Thus, a mild and tunable partial reduction of alkynyl carbonyls was developed, utilizing readily available phosphines as the reductants. Tuning of the reaction conditions allowed for either the cis- or trans-diastereomer to be formed with high selectivity. These reaction conditions demonstrated good functional group tolerance and high yields.

Speaker Bio:

Rachel grew up in Cartersville, GA before obtaining her B.S. degree in Biochemistry from Abilene Christian University in 2011. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 with Professor Guangbin Dong working on rhodium-catalyzed C-C activation. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor at Murray State University where her research is focused on the development of mild redox methodologies.

Children are welcome and will attend a special Science Center during the program.