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The University of Sydney



ISSUE 19, 2011


An International Year of Chemistry is a peculiar thing. Maybe the public perception of chemistry needs a makeover, but from an insider's point of view every minute of every day of every year is just chock full of chemistry. The clichés line up to roll of the tongue. What in the world isn't Chemistry? Chemistry is everywhere. Chemistry is elementary. Chemistry: the Central Science. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate (ouch!).

We have a few upcoming events to mark this particular chemical year, including some school holiday lectures from Peter Rutledge in partnership with the Macleay Museum's Quest for Red exhibit. In October our major event is an evening of molecular gastronomy featuring Hervé This and renowned Sydney chef, Martin Benn. Hervé This is a physical chemist and one of the two acknowledged inventors of molecular gastronomy. His PhD thesis at Université Paris VI was entitled "Molecular and Physical Gastronomy." He is the inspiration for people like Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrià and their experimental kitchens, and the heir to a line of inquiry-driven cooks and authors like Harold McGee and going back to Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin.

So much of molecular gastronomy is about using intermolecular forces and self-assembly to control the look, texture and taste of something we anticipate enjoying consuming. Philip Ball's 1994 book on the emerging shape of chemistry, Designing the Molecular World, described this kind of molecular engineering as A Soft and Sticky World, and it is often now called nanostructure, or included within the term "complex fluids." Throughout most of the 20th century it was called Colloid Science. I was privileged to attend a symposium in June honouring one of the world's great and inspirational teachers in this field, our own school's A/Prof Bob Hunter. Bob's numerous books, ranging from introductory colloid science through to advanced monographs, have educated more than one generation of industrial and academic researchers. His two-volume opus Foundations of Colloid Science recently celebrated a silver anniversary, and this provided a convenient excuse for the many of us whose work has been inspired by Bob to look back and celebrate his impact. Much of Asaph Widmer-Cooper's work on nanoparticle assembly described in this issue is an example of Bob's legacy two generations on - manipulating intermolecular forces to organise colloidal systems into new kinds of structured materials with a very wide range of current and future applications (usually inedible ones in his case).

Kind regards,
Greg Warr  |  Head of School |  School of Chemistry

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Inorganic and bioinorganic symposia
A one-day symposium and dinner was held on the 29 June to honour the late Emeritus Professor Hans C. Freeman. Special guest speaker was renowned chemist, Professor Harry Gray from the California Institute of Technology, USA. In another first, the school hosted the inaugural NSW/ACT RACI student symposium in inorganic chemistry on the 30 June. Read more here.
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Bob Hunter legacy
A legacy of Associate Professor Bob Hunter, Honorary Associate Professor and former head of School, was honoured by the RACI at a special meeting in June. Read more here.
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Building microstructures on nano-sand
John Moraes is a postgraduate student in the School of Chemistry. Already this year John has won Tech on Tap - a science communication competition giving PhD students and researchers the opportunity to explain their research, and how it will benefit society, in 2.5 minutes. Read John's profile here.
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The sculpture you can't see
Emeritus Professor Len Lindoy and his team are at the forefront of cutting edge work creating complex and beautiful molecular structures that, until recently, could only be made at a life-size scale. Read more here.
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Manuel Aroney - A celebration
Chemistry alumnus Manuel Aroney passed away on 15 February, 2011. To celebrate Manuel's remarkable life a reception was held in the Nicholson Museum on the 28 June. Read more here.
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Hanoi, the old and the new
Dr Ron Clarke visited Vietnam in May to give a lecture course on chemical thermodynamics to the first class of bachelor students at the newly established University of Science and Technology Hanoi (USTH) in Vietnam. Read more here.
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E/Prof Noel Hush elected to National Academy of Sciences

Dr Adrian George and Dr Don Radford win VC's award

PhD student, John Moraes wins Tech on Tap

Citation for Dr Peter Rutledge

Dr Chris Ling receives Teaching Citation for Excellence

A/Prof Sebastien Perrier elected a Fellow of the FRSC

$20 million Australian Biofuels Institute

Final awards recognise nation's best educators

Dr Chris McErlean wins the 2011 Selby Research Award

Associate Professor Adam Bridgeman appears on Catalyst

*2011 Chemistry Achievements

For a full list of 2011 Chemistry Achievements, including what our students have been up to, please click here.


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  |  Molecular Gastronomy Lecture
Tuesday, 25 October | 6:00-8:00pm
An explosive night of Molecular Gastronomy featuring Professor Hervé This, Chef Martin Benn and Adam Spencer. As this event has been extremely popular, please RSVP to Anne Woods at anne.woods@sydney.edu.au by Wednesday, 12 October, 2011. For more information please click here.
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Upcoming seminars*
Wednesday, 12 October | 9am | Chemistry LT2
Professor Lei Liu, Tsinghua University, China
Friday, 14 October | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Professor Krishnan Raghovachari, University of Indiana
Friday, 21 October | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Dr Richard Mole, ANSTO Bragg Institute
Friday, 28 October | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Professor Steve Pyne, University of Wollongong
Friday, 4 November | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Dr Colette Boskovic, The University of Melbourne
Friday, 11 November | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Professor Paul Burn, University of Queensland
Wednesday, 16 November | 9am | Chemistry LT2
Dr Andrew Dove, University of Warwick, UK
Friday, 18 November | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Professor Kim Dunbar, Texas A&M University, USA
Friday, 2 December | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Dr Craig Butts, Bristol University
Friday, 9 December | 11am | Chemistry LT4
Dr Rachel O'Reilly, Warwick University, UK


Chemistry seminars are held throughout Semesters 1 and 2 on Wednesdays (9am in Chemistry Lecture Theatre 2) and Fridays (11am in Chemistry Lecture Theatre 4) unless otherwise stated. If you would like to be notified of these weekly seminars and other weekly chemistry news and events please email Anne Woods and she will add you to the electronic mailout. Alternatively you can visit Upcoming Seminars. Seminars are also advertised on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter pages.


To keep up-to-date with the latest news and events in the School of Chemistry visit ChemNEWS and EVENTS.


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The School of Chemistry would like to take this opportunity to thank Alumni and Friends for their very generous donations. Your support continues to make a profound impact on our various programs.

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Chemistry news
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ChemNEWS Editor, Dr Mat Todd, sat down with ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dr Asaph Widmer-Cooper, to talk about Asaph's research in the School of Chemistry. Read more here.

In late 2012, 100 years of Organic Chemistry as a formal discipline at The University of Sydney will be celebrated. Read more here.

A Legacy of Associate Professor Bob Hunter, Honorary Associate Professor and former head of School, was honoured by the RACI in June. Read more here.

Copyright 2011 School of Chemistry, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia. Phone +61 2 9351 4504
ABN 15 211 513 464 CRICOS Number: 00026A

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