Sunday, February 23, 2014

Benefits of Chemistry in Our Lives

Benefits of Chemistry in our Lives - a Presidential Symposium (PRES Track)

Six ACS Presidents talk about essentiality of chemistry to human civilization

When: Monday March 17, 2014 #ACSdallas morning session 8am-11:30am
Location:Sheraton Dallas Room:Austin Blrm 2

Organizers: Donna Nelson, Attila Pavlath
Presiders: Attila Pavlath, Donna Nelson
Duration:8:00 am - 10:20 am    
Pres Time   Pub #Presentation Title 

8:00 amWhy is it important to maintain the public image of chemistry? Thomas Barton 

8:10 amContributions of chemistry to energy and transportationWilliam F. Carroll 

8:35 amConversations on chemistry and the environment: Engaging chemists and the public Bassam Z Shakhashiri 

9:00 am 10 Communication and entertainment without chemistryAttila Pavlath 

9:25 am 11 Bio-responsive molecules: Formidable weapons in medicine's arsenalNed Heindel 

9:50 am 12 How chemistry has improved our food supplyElizabeth Ann Nalley 

10:15 am Concluding Remarks

Cape Cod Regional STEM Strategy

I attended the Cape Cod Regional STEM Strategy meeting Thursday afternoon February 13, 2014 hosted by Cape Cod Community College. This meeting was organized by the Southeastern Massachusetts STEM Network. Although currently a part of the SE Mass STEM Network, the Cape and Islands is preparing to get their own STEM network. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the Cape Cod Regional STEM Strategy. We first got involved with the SEMASS STEM network in 2011 just after the Principal of a Plymouth, MA school attended our Cape Cod Science Cafe K-12 Healthy Kids event at the Sandwich Public Library. As a result of the press for the Healthy Kids Science Cafe we were contacted by the SE MASS STEM Coordinator, Katherine Honey to get involved in the SE Mass STEM Network. Since 2012, we have regularly attended regional meetings including the STEM Expo in 2012 and the STEM EXPO 2013 representing both PID Analyzers and the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society.

I sent a couple tweets during the Cape Cod Regional STEM Strategy and used the hashtag #CCRSS

Katherine Honey provides the welcome and kicks off the meeting portion of the event.

Bob Cody, Dean of STEM and Workforce at , discussing the Cape Cod Regional Plan at meeting. Bob spoke about the commitment of "building the Regional STEM network that we want built".

L to R: Susan Quick, Asst Superintendent and Steven Lamarche, Superintendent, Bourne Public Schools at

Susan Quick: Bourne Public Schools were inspired to start looking at by a group of teachers.

We then broke into five groups. Katherine had arranged for group facilitators in advance of the event. I was happy to serve as a facilitator.

The next Cape Cod Regional STEM Strategy Meeting will be hosted again by Cape Cod Community College on Friday March 14, 2014 from 1pm-5pm. Educators, business people and other interested community partners are invited to attend and participate in this Regional STEM initiative.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2013 NESACS Public Relations Outreach Events: family, educators, students and business professionals

NESACS has been named a finalist in the 2014 ChemLuminary Award category at the ACS National Meeting in San Francisco August 12:
  • Outstanding Continuing Public Relations Program of a Local Section
The NESACS outstanding continuing public relations program reached 25, 900 members of the general public in 2013 at 12 highly publicized outreach events using a variety of PR channels such as print news media, public television and social media to promote these events specific to families, educators-only, students-only and business professionals.

Family science outreach events: Of this number, 23, 500 were reached as a result of family science outreach programming including existing programming that we initiated contact with the organizers to be a part of, we were specifically invited to participate in and/or that we ourselves as NESACS organized for NCW or CCED events. 

1)The American Association for the Advancement of Science AAAS Family Science Days in cooperation with the ACS Division of Small Chemical Businesses at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA February 16 and 17, 2013. (3,700 attendees over two days).  

2) Science on the Street at the Museum of Natural History in Brewster, MA. NESACS was a "hands-on activity exhibitor" on March 23, 2013. This was the first in a continued annual event. We will be participating again in 2014. (500 attendees).

3) Cambridge Science Festival Science Carnival on Saturday April 13, 2013. NESACS Younger Chemists Committee staffed a table outside on the tennis courts at the Cambridge Public Library featuring the effect that acids and bases have on the body and how scientists use pH to learn about chemicals and liquids around us (15,000 attendees). 

Photo courtesy of Dr. Ranga

4) Chemists Celebrate Earth Day at the Museum of Science Boston. Original event was rescheduled from 4/21 to 4/28 due to the ongoing investigations and the potential threat to public safety due to the Boston Marathon tragedy. Event used the laboratory at the Museum of Science to conduct green chemistry and environmental chemistry experiments. With over 50 volunteers and 400 attendees. 

National Chemistry Week 3 events: Cambridge, Boston and Cape Cod

5) Museum of Science Boston Sunday October 27, 2013. 3,000 attendees. This was the 12th annual NCW at the Museum of Science including the Phyllis A. Brauner Memorial Lecture which is a chemistry stage show delivered by Bassam Shakhashiri. 

6) Boston Children's Museum Saturday November 9, 2013. 500 attendees. Museum attendees had the opportunity to learn about and experience NCW energy-related experiments geared towards ages 4-10.

7) NESACS and the Division of Environmental Chemistry partnered with the Cape and Islands Boy Scouts Council of America to bring National Chemistry Week to Cape Cod during an existing Boy Scout annual event: The Wicked Cool Autumn Welcome which became dubbed: Wicked Cool Science Café. 400 attendees. We invited other science based entities to come and provide hands-on energy experiments. Participants included: NESACS and ENVR , Green Briar Nature Center, Cambridge Science Festival (their year round initiative is called Science on the Street), Liquid Robotics, Suffolk University, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

Educators Only Events: The Southeastern Massachusetts STEM group we connected with as a result of the NESACS IYC Cape Cod Science Café series and have, for the second consecutive year, represented NESACS at their expo. The Connections to Chemistry event is NESACS organized and has been a continuing education program for teachers for over a decade.

8) SE MASS STEM-EXPO at Bridgewater State University. 300 educators interested in STEM resources participated in this resource fair.
We had an ACS/NESACS table featuring Chemistry Resources for Teachers from The American Chemical Society and programs for educators that are unique to our section such as Connections to Chemistry and High School Science Series. 

Each year in October, NESACS and the Education Committee of the Northeastern Section invite high school chemistry teachers to a program at Burlington High School (Burlington, MA) that includes choice of chemistry-based workshop and an evening lecture on a subject related to the NCW theme.35 teachers participated.
Photo by NESACS 
Photo by NESACS

Student Only Events
Using their existing model: High School Science Series, the Museum of Science Boston, led by NESACS member, David Sittenfeld, conducts hands-on activities and events related to NCW. These events are designed for a two-hour field trip experience. NESACS secures funding through the Lowell Institute to pay for busing for Massachusetts high school students. 500 students attend this annual NCW NESACS event.

10) High School Science Series during National Chemistry Week at Museum of Science Boston Tuesday October 29, 2013.  500 attending students.

Photo by Dr. J.Lo

Business Professionals-Programming aimed at aligning scientific entrepreneurs with the resources for entrepreneurs that the American Chemical Society has was achieved at the  

11) BMM Business Conference was organized by NESACS member, Mukund Chorghade and featured entrepreneurial speakers from NESACS and well as from ACS Board ofDirectors.
Here's the PR report Jack wrote about it. 

12) Northeastern University Education Summit-Part of the BMM 2013 conference featuring ACS President, Marinda Wu.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Rapid and Accurate Field Method for Reduced Sulfur Compounds by GC/FPD

The session "Real Time Detection Systems I",  PO115  is scheduled to take place on June 3, 2014 from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM.  Room numbers will be available closer to conference date. 
CURRENT TOPICS: Real-Time Detection Systems


The OSHA method for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is complex and involves precipitation, oxidation and ion chromatographic analysis. The dimethyl sulfide and carbon disulfide are collected, desorbed with a solvent and analyzed by a gas chromatograph (GC) configured with a flame photometric detector (FPD). These methods are complex, time consuming and do not provide a fast response for the toxic sulfur compounds. A portable GC with an FPD should have sufficient sensitivity at part per billion (ppb) measurements to detect these sulfur compounds rapidly in the field without any need for sample concentration.

The Model GC312 portable gas chromatograph with an FPD was used for these tests. The PeakWorks™ four point calibration software was used to linearize the FPD sulfur (normal output is a square root response). A 30 meter thick film capillary column provides an accurate and reproducible separation for the three sulfur compounds at ppb to ppm levels in under four minutes. Samples were injected automatically using a 10 port valve. Low level samples were prepared using permeation tubes.

Results : 
Utilizing the portable GC with FPD allows for the rapid detection of sulfur compounds at ppb levels in the air. The sulfur compounds of interest include hydrogen sulfide (PEL =10 ppm), dimethyl sulfide (PEL= 10 ppm) and carbon disulfide (PEL = 20 ppm).The detection limits for the GC/FPD were found to be < 1% of the PEL.

The GC/FPD method provides a very rapid and sensitive technique for the analysis of sulfur compounds in the field in real-time. The precision of H2S for 10 samples at one tenth of the PEL was approximately 1%. Although, we have analyzed three of the problematic sulfur compounds, the same method could be applied to other compounds such as methyl mercaptan, carbonyl sulfide, etc.
AUTHORS (FIRST NAME INITIAL LAST NAME): J. N. Driscoll1, J. L. Maclachlan1
AUTHORS/INSTITUTIONS: J.N. Driscoll, J.L. Maclachlan, PID Analyzers, LLC, Sandwich, Massachusetts,  UNITED STATES;

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Field Measurement of Common Fumigants via Portable GC with PID & FUV Detectors

The session "Real Time Detection Systems II",  PO123 occurred on June 4, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.  

AUTHORS (FIRST NAME INITIAL LAST NAME): J. N. Driscoll1, J. L. Maclachlan1PID Analyzers, LLC, Sandwich, Massachusetts, Massachusetts, UNITED STATES


CURRENT TOPICS: Real-Time Detection Systems
Field Measurement of Common Fumigants via Portable GC with PID & FUV Detectors

Objective: More than two dozen different chemicals have been used as fumigants for grain including organics like methyl bromide, inorganic chemicals like sulfuryl fluoride ,and even chemical agents such as cyanogen chloride. Deaths from fumigants have occurred in rail cars, ships, grain elevators, green houses, pest control … A field method for detecting common fumigants is essential since many workers encounter these dangerous chemicals which do not have OSHA field detection methods.

Utilizing a portable gas chromatograph Model GC312 equipped with a battery and weighing in at 26 pounds, this field tool can detect part per billion (ppb) levels of fumigants with a photoionization detector (PID). A 30M x 0.32 mm capillary with 5 or 10 micron methyl silicone film is used for separating gases and volatile compounds. The far UV absorbance (FUV) detector detects the low or sub ppm levels of a variety of hydrocarbons & low molecular weight (MW) gases such as hydrogen cyanide, sulfur dioxide, and sulfuryl fluoride that absorb at 126 nano meters (nm).

Results : 
Some of the common fumigants used today are methyl bromide, ethylene oxide, phosphine, and ethylene dibromide. All of these compounds can be detected at ppb levels by GC/PID with a thick film capillary column. The PID has a detection limit of < 5 ppb for PH3, and can detect part per trillion (ppt) levels of dibromochloro propane (PEL = 1ppb) by PID if the internal concentrator on the portable GC is used. The FUV can detect hydrogen cyanide, ethylene dichloride, dichloropropane, sulfur dioxide and sulfuryl fluoride at low or sub ppm levels. The detection limit for SO2 by FUV is 0.5 ppm.

A portable GC with a thick film cap column equipped with PID and Far UV detectors can detect the most common fumigants in use today at levels of 0.1 of the PEL. The portable GC is easily carried to the field and can be operational in about 20-30 minutes. It can detect the ten most common fumigants described above plus many of the more than two dozen chemicals used in fumigation.

Below is a new application note illustrating the use of our Model 100 series portable analyzer for fumigant gas analysis

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