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Associate professor of chemistry to discuss atom bonds

Chip Nataro, associate professor of chemistry, will give the Jones Faculty Lecture 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, in Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104.

Nataro’s lecture, entitled “Mirror Mirror,” explores the interest that chemists have in the arrangement of atoms and the formation of bonds in molecules, particularly when atoms bond around a central carbon atom. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

According to Nataro, when there are four different atoms around a carbon atom there are two possible arrangements of these four atoms. These arrangements are non-superimposable mirror images of each other, much like a person’s left hand is the non-superimposable mirror image of their right hand. The carbon atom is considered to be chiral.

In his lecture, Nataro will talk about the impact of chirality on everyday life, the current boom in pharmaceuticals, and the tragic case of thalidomide, a drug used as a sedative in the late 1950s and early 1960s which caused thousands of child malformations.

The lecture is sponsored by the Thomas Roy and Lura Forest Jones Faculty Lecture and Awards Fund, established in 1966 to recognize superior teaching and scholarship at Lafayette.

A professor at Lafayette since 1999, Nataro has received over $85,000 in grants for research and has worked with over 50 students as part of the EXCEL research program. Nataro has published his research in academic journals such as Inorganic Chemistry, Polyhedron, and Journal of Organometallic Chemistry and has given presentations at national and regional meetings of the American Chemical Society. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, as well as its Inorganic Division and Organometallic Sub-division. Nataro earned a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Iowa State University and a B.S. in chemistry from Messiah College.

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