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Community Forum in Chemistry, Spring 2011


Header for Community Forum in Chemistry
Windward Community College
45-720 Kea'ahala Road
Kane'ohe, Hawai‘i 96744

This project is coordinated by Leticia U. Colmenares Ph.D. Associate Professor in Chemistry - 236-9120. The forum is co-sponsored by Windward Community College and the American Chemical Society-Hawaii Section.

picture of Frederick PerlakMeeting Global Demands Through Crop Innovations

by Dr. Frederick J. Perlak

1:00-2:00 pm, Monday, April 18, 2011
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

The United Nations food price index recently moved to a new record high as the worldwide demand for food continues to increase.  Improvements to agricultural production systems by innovation in breeding, biotechnology and agricultural practices are all important areas of investment in the future.  These areas will be discussed as agriculture strives to keep up with global demands.

Dr. Frederick J. Perlak earned his Bachelor’s of Science degree from Fairfield University and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  Dr. Perlak has been employed at Monsanto since 1981 and has held a number of positions in the technical field prior to his current position as Vice President of Research and Business Operations for Monsanto in Hawaii.

As a plant molecular biologist, Dr. Perlak had made several discoveries that led to the commercialization of insect resistant cotton, potato and corn. Dr. Perlak has received several honors and awards, among them, the Monsanto Fellow Program in 1993, the Thomas and Hochwalt Science and Technology Award in 1994, the Edgar M. Queeny Award for Science and Technology in 2000, the First Annual Cotton Incorporated Biotechnology Achievement Award in 2001 and the Distinguished Science Fellow in 2003.

picture of Frederick PerlakWhat Methods Are Used To Discover New Drugs?

by Dr. Marcus A. Tius

1:30-2:30 pm, Monday, April 13, 2011
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

An overview of the role of chemical synthesis in drug manufacturing and drug discovery will be presented with examples taken from the public domain and from the speaker's research.

Marcus A. Tius obtained his B.A. degree from Dartmouth College and his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University. He is a Professor at the Chemistry Department of the University of Hawaii-Manoa and Program Director of the Natural Products & Cancer Biology Research Program of the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center.  His main research interests are in the areas of total synthesis and the development of new synthetic methods.

picture of Gerard FryerGiant Hawaiian Landslides and Tsunamis

by Gerard Fryer

1:00-2:00 pm, Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

When the sea floor around the Hawaiian Islands was mapped following the declaration of the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone in 1977, scientists were amazed to find that each island is surrounded by the debris of truly gigantic landslides. Those landslides must have generated devastating tsunamis, making them popular subjects for disaster documentaries. By identifying and studying the deposits left throughout the islands by these tsunamis, we now think that these truly prodigious events are driven by climate change. The talk will explain why we do not expect the next giant landslide until after the next Ice Age.

Gerard Fryer is a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, a position he has held since 2005. He has worked as a research seismologist at Princeton University and at the University of Hawaii. He became interested in tsunamis following a tsunami warning in 1994, and has served as an advisor on tsunami matters to Oahu Civil Defense and to State of Hawaii Civil Defense.  He currently serves on the Hawaii State Earthquake Advisory Committee. In his spare time he explores and maps deposits from giant prehistoric tsunamis in the Hawaiian Islands.

Crime Investigations in Hawaii

by The Evidence Response Team of the FBI

1:00-2:00 pm, Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Hale ‘Imiloa 111 (view map of campus)

The Evidence Response Team (ERT) of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will make a presentation on crime investigations in Hawaii and the use of cutting edge technology in investigation and crime analysis.  Come and learn about the latest tools being used or developed in the field.

This forum is co-sponsored by Windward Community College and the American Chemical Society-Hawaii Section.


What is the Community Forum in Chemistry?  

• Its goal is to increase learning in chemistry for all students (and community members).

• A practicing professional discusses a chemistry related topic that is relevant to everyday lives.

• During the forum audience participate by asking questions, sharing views and comments.

• Serves as a bridge between classroom and real-world applications.

Picture of people doing chemistry

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Co-sponsored by the American Chemical Society
- Hawaii Section