Kris McNeill, professor of Environmental Chemistry at ETH-Zurich, will be visiting Penn State Wednesday 3/15 - Thursday 3/16 to present at the first Kappe Lecture co-organized by environmental engineering and chemistry. His talk will be at 5:00 pm in Berg Auditorium, 100 Huck Life Sciences Building on Wednesday March 15. The talk is titled “The aquatic photochemistry on naturally occurring sensitizers and antioxidants”. The abstract and a brief bio of Prof. McNeill are given below.
If you would like to meet with Kris while he is here, please contact Chris Gorski (firstname.lastname@example.org) by the end of this week.
Abstract: Photochemical reactions are among the most general and important processes for degrading organic contaminants in surface waters. While much is known about organic photochemistry, many surprises await photochemists who are willing to wade into natural waters. The largest unknowns in aquatic photochemistry all center around natural organic matter (NOM), a poorly defined collection of organic molecules that come from the breakdown of biomass that is present in all natural waters. NOM is both the most important photosensitizer in surface waters, promoting a wide range of photooxidation reactions, but also, paradoxically, a potent quencher of photooxidation. The focus of this presentation is on recent work quantifying and unravelling the photochemical properties of NOM utilizing molecular probe methods and laser spectroscopy.
Bio: Professor Kristopher McNeill received his B.A. in Chemistry in 1992 from Reed College (Portland, OR) and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1997. At Berkeley, he was co-advised by Professors Robert Bergman and Richard Andersen. Following his PhD, he was a postdoc at MIT (1997-1999) with Prof. Philip Gschwend in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He began his independent career as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Chemistry, holding ranks of Assistant Professor (2000-2006) and Associate Professor (2007-2009). In 2009, he joined the faculty of ETH Zurich. Starting in 2016, McNeill was named the Editor-in-Chief of the Royal Society of Chemistry journalEnvironmental Science: Processes & Impacts. His research is focused on studying chemical reaction mechanisms involved in environmentally relevant processes, with an emphasis on environmental photochemistry.