Innovate & Inspire Be inspired by these ACS PRF-supported scientists' stories

Lighting up Metals

Dr. Zerihun Assefa

Associate Professor,
Inorganic Chemistry
North Carolina A&T State University
Grant 47823-GB3
Researcher Story

Disruption of Metal-Metal Interactions and Extended Linear Chains by Organic Solvent Molecules

Dr. Zerihun Assefa, Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at North Carolina A&T State University, and his team are investigating methods to enhance energy transfer using the Group 11 elements (e.g., gold, silver, copper) on the Periodic Table. The Group 11 elements are of particular interest, because their spectral properties are relatively easy to manipulate. Dr. Assefa’s initial interest in this research stems from his days as a graduate student when he became fascinated by coordination polymers—specifically of the Group 11 elements—and their spectroscopic behavior.

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Commodity Plastics

Dr. Stephen Miller

Associate Professor,
University of Florida
Grant 47951-AC7
Researcher Story

Novel Utilization of C1 Feedstocks to Create Commodity Plastics

Packaging is a $400 billion per year worldwide industry and is an important component of the $1.2 trillion worldwide plastics market. Vastly the most commonly-used plastics in the industry (99.8%) rely on petroleum-based feedstocks, which present challenges from a sustainability perspective. The Miller Research Group, under the lead of Dr. Stephen A. Miller, is tackling work to develop a more sustainable solution for the packaging industry. His group continues to research alternatives to petroleum-derived plastics through the conversion of C1 feedstocks (e.g., methanol, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde) to thermoplastics.

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Desert Sea Fossils

Dr. Thomas Olszewski

Associate Professor,
Geology & Geophysics
Texas A&M University
Grant 46096-G8
Researcher Story

Refining Sequence Stratigraphic Interpretations Using Benthic Fossil Communities from the Permian Basin of West Texas

Dr. Thomas Olszewski is a storyteller of sorts. His inspirations are the ancient rocks and fossils of the Permian Basin in West Texas, one of the most prolific onshore hydrocarbon provinces in the United States. Approximately 260 – 265 million years ago, West Texas was a marine coastline in the tropics. Today, those ancient reef deposits—similar in scale and nature to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia—are exposed along the face of the Guadalupe Mountains. Dr. Olszewski’s ACS PRF grant research focuses on the fossil marine ecological communities associated with that ancient reef.

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Moving Mountains

Dr. Kathleen Surpless

Associate Professor,
Trinity University (San Antonio)
Grant 45737-B8
Researcher Story

Detailed Provenance Analysis of the Hornbrook Formation, Oregon and California: Testing Paleogeographic Models of the Cretaceous Cordillera in the Western United States

Dr. Kathleen Surpless, an Associate Professor in Trinity University’s (Texas) Department of Geosciences, received an ACS PRF grant to focus research on the Hornbrook basin of the North American Cordillera. The basin straddles the Oregon-California border, north of Surpless’ prior work in the Great Valley Group in central and northern California. The North American Cordillera is a complex mountain chain that extends the entire length of Western North America. One of the best-studied mountain belts in the world, this massive chain presents unique challenges and opportunities for scientists.

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Moving Mountains; Dr. Surpless
Desert Sea Fossils; Dr. Olszewski
Lighting Up Metals; Dr. Assefa
Ecological Polymers; Dr. Miller