Students Present Research at ACS National Convention
Junior Ross Ellis of Abingdon, Va., and senior Gavin Irvine of Hudson, Ohio, presented research posters at the American Chemical Society’s 241st National Meeting & Exposition in Anaheim, Calif. Nearly 9,500 presentations on new discoveries that span science’s horizons — from astronomy to zoology -- were presented at the conference on March 27-31.
Ellis' research focused on finding the exposure technique that would optimize the production of ethylene in chestnut stems exposed to the chestnut blight. He worked in collaboration with Fred Hebard at the American Chestnut Foundation research farm in Meadoview, Va.
“I began to develop a respect for this tree, which used to dominate the forests of the southern Appalachians and is now on the edge of extinction,” Ellis said.
He did his initial research last summer with Dr. Laura Hainsworth, E&H Hull Chair in the Natural Sciences as well as students Nathan Mitchell and Thomas Russell. Ellis continued his research as an independent study during the fall semester.
Senior Gavin Irvine’s research used a Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) to determine fracture paths in thin film stacks and relate the observed chemistry to salient bond breaking events occurring at the crack tip. By modifying the stress state in the thin film stack, Gavin was able to alter the fracture path and relate the chemical changes observed at the different fracture surfaces to fracture energy measurements.
“Thin films are of interests because they deal with the very structure of our high tech devices, and by devising better materials to house the circuits that run our computers and cell phones we can shrink the size of those objects,” Irvine said.
Both students give much of the credit for their work to the faculty who helped them along the way.
“Over my four years, the research I have done with Dr. Michael Lane (E&H chemistry professor) has helped me understand the significance of research, but beyond that it has helped me grow as a person,” Irvine commented.
Ellis praises Dr. Laura Hainsworth, who presented her own research on the blight resistance in the American chestnut at the convention.
“She has been very accommodating and supportive throughout this entire process and during my time at Emory & Henry,” Ellis said.
Ellis, who majors in environmental studies, is a member of the football team, Blue Key, the academic mentor program, and serves as an Environmental Studies tutor and an orientation leader.
Irvine will be graduating this May with a degree in chemistry. After graduation he will pursue a degree in materials science and engineering from the Univeristy of Notre Dame.