Southern Indiana Local Section

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Welcome to SISACS!


The Southern Indiana Section of the American Chemical Society (SISACS) is working to enhance the educational experiences of the graduate and undergraduate populations at Indiana University and perform outreach activities to inform the greater Indiana community about chemistry.  You can find out more information about our past and future activities at our website:  For the calendar year 2019, Dr. Xingchen Ye is the Chair, Dr. Nicola Pohl Ye the Chair-Elect, Mr. James Clark is the Secretary, and Dr. Laura Brown is Treasurer.  Dr. Kenneth Caulton is our local section Councilor with Dr. Krishnan Raghavachari as our Alternate Councilor.  

One of the cornerstones of our educational efforts is the initiation of a new seminar series entitled, “Chemistry of Everyday Life.” This series provides a forum to invite speakers in less "traditional" areas of chemistry to present topics of interest to students, faculty, and staff of the greater IU community, as well as the Bloomington city community. SISACS received an ACS Innovative Project Grant to launch this outreach-focused seminar series.

The first speaker in this series, Dr. Eric Block, author of "Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and The Science," is from University of Albany - SUNY. Dr. Blockvisited IU during National Chemistry Week on October 22, 2010 to discuss the chemistry of the edible alliums, which include garlic, onions, leeks and chives. Our second speaker, Dr. Charles Bamforth, visited campus on April 21, 2011 and spoke to an audience of more than 200. Dr. Bamforth is a Professor of Food Science and Technology at University of California, Davis and spoke on “Tapping into the Chemistry of Beer and Brewing.” The third speaker in this series, Dr. Joe Schwarcz of the Office for Science & Society at McGill University visited the department in April of 2012. His talk, “Hey! There Are Cockroaches in My Chocolate Ice Cream!” was well received and attended by more than 150 members of the chemistry department, including a large number of undergraduate students. Dr. Kent Kirshenbaum from NYU visited IU on March 6th, 2013 to discuss "A Taste for Science: Adventures at the Interface of Chemistry and Cuisine," and some lucky audience members were able to taste his vegan meringues! We continued the series in 2014 with Dr. Sue E. Ebeler, who is a professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Ebeler visited on March 12th, 2014 and discussed "Analytical Approaches for Understanding Wine Flavor." Dr. Andy Jorgensen from the University of Toledo was our speaker in 2015, and he gave a wonderful and informative lecture on climate change on earth day (April 22nd, 2015) entitled "Climate Change Disruption. What do we know? What can we do?". Professor Jorgensen's seminar was very well attended by the chemistry community as well as the Bloomington community. Dr. Kevin Folta from the University of Florida visited on October 26th, 2016 and gave a very informative seminar entitled "GMO Benefits, Risks, and Science Communication to a Concerned Public." In 2017, Dr. Paul Bosland gave a seminar entitled "Chile Pepper Chemistry: Color, Flavor, and Heat". Professor Bosland established the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, and is the Regents Professor at the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Science there. Please see the Activities page for more details. 

During the 2009-2010 academic year, SISACS initiated a “Student Selected Seminar Series.” This series is unique in that it provides the graduate student populations of the Departments of Chemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry with the opportunity to select a prominent speaker and present their research to this scientist during their visit to campus. Student-selected seminar invites are regarded as extremely prestigious, enabling this series to attract a number of very well-known scientists to the IU campus. Thus far we have had six world renowned speakers visit our campus: Dr. Phil Baran, from The Scripps Research Institute, visited on March 31, 2010. Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi from the University of California, Berkley visited on September 1, 2010 and Dr. Benjamin Cravatt, from The Scripps Research Institute, visited April 6, 2011. For the 2011-2012, academic year we scheduled Dr. Michael Summers, from the University of Maryland and Dr. Fred McLafferty, from Cornell University.  In the 2012-2013 academic year, Dr. Daniel Nocera from Harvard University visited in November of 2012 and Dr. Timothy M. Swager from Massachusetts Institute of Technology visited on February 6th, 2013. In the 2013-2014 academic year, Dr. John Hartwig from the University of California, Berkeley visited on October 1, 2013, and Dr. Mark Johnson from Yale University visited January 29, 2014. In the 2016-2017 academic year, we brought out Dr. Eric Jacobsen from Harvard University on December 7, 2016 and Dr. Sharon Glotzer from the University of Michigan visited on April 11, 2017. 

Find out more details in the Activities tab.

Our other educational outreach priority is in the form of our relationship with WonderLab, the local children's science museum in Bloomington. This relationship started with the design, development, and installation of an organic chemistry-themed museum exhibit on the relationship between chemical structure and scent. This exhibit was funded by an ACS Innovative Project Grant in 2013, and the remaining funds were provided by the SISACS. We have continued our partnership with WonderLab to improve the exhibit, and have expanded this project to include a portable exhibit that can be sent to libraries around the country (funded by an ACS Innovative Project Grant in 2018) and we recently initiated a partnership with a new science museum in northwestern Illinois called the Children's Hands-On Museum of Northwestern Illinois, and have installed the exhibit there.