William Geiger, “How Can One Small Electron Make Such a Big Difference?”

Professor William GeigerProfessor, Department of Chemistry

Molecules taking part in chemical and biochemical reactions receive their energy either thermally (i.e., heat), photo-chemically (light), or through electron transfer (electricity). The last of these often requires transfer of a single electron from one molecule to another. Given that an electron is, by far, the smallest of the major subatomic particles, and that molecules (and even atoms) have dozens to hundreds of them, how can electron-transfer reactions trigger so many important processes of great diversity, from the easily understood operation of batteries to the amazing and complex reactions involved in respiration and photosynthesis? Dr. Geiger’s lecture took us on a journey that started with simple electron clouds and led to the speaker’s favorite organometallic electron-transfer reactions.
Video (MP4) Audio (MP3)

The Dean’s Lecture Series was established in 1991 as a way to recognize and honor colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences who have consistently demonstrated the ability to translate their professional knowledge and skill into exciting classroom experiences for their students-faculty who meet the challenge of being both excellent teachers and highly respected professionals in their own disciplines. The Award is a celebration of the unusually high quality of our faculty and has become an important and treasured event each semester.

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