Award-winning chemist to speak at GVSU

GVL / Courtesy - Zach Hetrick
Sara Skrabalak

Zach Hetrick

GVL / Courtesy – Zach Hetrick Sara Skrabalak

Kyle Bindas

Award-winning chemist Sara Skrabalak will be coming to Grand Valley State University this week to give a lecture about her work in chemistry as part of the Arnold C. Ott Lectureship. The lecture will take place in the Loosemore Auditorium on GVSU’s Pew Campus on April 14 at 5 p.m.

Skrabalak focuses her work on nanomaterials and has received many awards for her work in the field, including the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award and the American Chemical Society’s award in Pure Chemistry in 2014.

“She’s early in her career, but she’s making big contributions to science.” said Jennifer VanderPlas, chair of the communications committee of the chemistry department.

The Arnold C. Ott Lectureship is an event that has been held biannually for over 10 years. The goal of the series is to bring high-level scientists and ideas to GVSU, to expose students to exciting ideas in science. In the past, the lectureship has been given by Nobel Prize laureates, inventors, professors, congressmen and business leaders.

Skrabalak’s lecture is titled “From Honeycombs, Spider Webs, and Snowflakes to Stellated Metals: Symmetry in Nature and Nanomaterials,” and will touch on some of the big ideas of Skrabalak’s work in layman’s terms, focusing on how things that occur in nature inspire her work in nanomaterials.

The lecture is open to all members of the GVSU community, including those that may not know a lot about science, but are still interested in learning about new advancements and big ideas.

“If you are interested in seeing some everyday applications to really cool science, this is an event for you,” VanderPlas said. “I think this is an event that really makes (science) accessible to everybody.”

On April 15, Skrabalak will host a follow-up seminar titled “Shaping the Synthesis of Bimetallic Nanocrystals” to chemistry faculty and students. While still open to the public, this seminar is directed toward the chemistry department, and will go in-depth into the technical side of the ideas.

“Allowing (the community) to have access to these people on our own turf is a huge thing,” VanderPlas said. “To have this level of people brought to a university of our size is a great experience for our students.”

The first of Skrabalak’s lectures will take place in the Loosemore Auditorium on April 14 at 5 p.m. The workshop will take place the following day, April 15, in the Pere Marquette Room in the Kirkhof Center at 1 p.m.