Communicating Research to the General Public

Read Prof. Shakhashiri's Message on Chemistry and Society

Read why Stanford professors believe that "Writing Matters"

Read a letter from an awardee about his experience

The dual mission of the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy
is to promote literacy in science, mathematics and technology
among the general public and to attract future generations
to careers in research, teaching and public service.



At the March 5, 2010 UW-Madison Chemistry Department Colloquium, Prof. Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, the director of the Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL), encouraged all UW-Madison chemistry Ph.D. candidates to include a chapter in their Ph.D. thesis communicating their research to non-specialists. The goal is to explain the candidate’s scholarly research and its significance to a wider audience that includes family members, friends, civic groups, newspaper reporters, program officers at appropriate funding agencies, state legislators, and members of the U.S. Congress.

Twenty Ph.D. degree recipients have successfully completed their theses and included such a chapter.

WISL encourages the inclusion of such chapters in all Ph.D. theses everywhere through the cooperation of Ph.D. candidates and their mentors. WISL is now offering additional awards of $250 for UW-Madison chemistry Ph.D. candidates.


Thesis Awardees

Stephen B. Block, Ph.D. 2012

“Picosecond and Femtosecond Coherent Multidimensional Spectroscopy
of Colloidal PbSe Quantum Dot Structure and Dynamics ”

Susan M. Brastad, Ph.D. 2010

“Investigation of Proton Exchange Reactions between Acidic Gases
and Protic Solvents Containing Dissolved Ions”

Benjamin P. Bratton, Ph.D. 2011

"Dynamics of RNA Polymerase and DNA Foci in Live Escherichia coli"

Alexander J. L. Clemens, Ph.D. 2012

"Part I. Synthesis of Garner’s Aldehyde and Efforts Toward the
Synthesis of Tapentadol via an Asymmetric Hydroformylation/Reductive Amination Sequence"

"Part II. Development of a Rhodium-Mediated Domino Annulation and
Efforts Toward the Total Synthesis of Linderagalactone C"

Joshua P. DiGangi, Ph.D. 2012

"Formaldehyde as a Probe of Rural Volatile Organic Compound Oxidation"

Melissa M. Galloway, Ph.D. 2011

"Mechanisms of VOC Oxidation and Aerosol Formation:
Atmospheric Organic Chemistry of Glyoxal"

Andrew J. Huisman, Ph.D. 2010

“Measurements and Modeling of Glyoxal: Insights into Rural Photochemistry
and Secondary Organic Aerosol Production”

Laura Anne Kopff, Ph.D. 2012

“Matrix-Isolation, Photochemistry, and Spectroscopy of Benzothienyl Diazo Compounds”

Suzanne Elizabeth Kulevich, Ph.D. 2010

“Hydrophobic Modification of Peptides to Enhance
Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry Analysis”

Elizabeth C. Landis, Ph.D. 2010

“Molecular Monolayers for Attaching Electroactive Molecules
to Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanofibers”

Amanda Long, Ph.D. 2011

“New Diruthenium Nitrido Compounds
and Intra- and Intermolecular Reactivity with Aryl C-H Bonds ”

Margrith Mattmann, Ph.D. 2010

“Interrupting Bacterial Conversations: Designing Chemicals to Control
Quorum Sensing in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa”

Jessica Lynn Menke, Ph.D. 2010

“Computational and Matrix-Isolation Spectroscopy Studies of Cyanocyclobutadienes”

Beth M. Moscato-Goodpaster, Ph.D. 2010

“Information-Rich Investigations into Catalytic Olefin Polymerization:
Technique Development and Mechanistic Studies”

Jayashree Nagesh, Ph.D. 2012

"Spectroscopy and vibrational dynamics of Methoxy and D-Methoxy radicals"

Jason D. Russell, Ph.D. 2012

"Strategies for Protein and Peptide Characterization and Quanitfication
using Electron-Transfer Dissociation Mass Spectrometry and Instrinsic Fluorescence "

Ashok Sekhar, Ph.D. 2011

"Mechanistic Investigations on Hsp70 Chaperone-Mediated Protein Folding and Photo-CIDNP Enhancements in Heteronuclear Correlation NMR Spectroscopy"

Yevgeniya Turov, Ph.D. 2012

"New Axial Reactivity of Trimetallic Compounds"

Avery Watkins, Ph.D. 2010

“Synthetic and Mechanistic Studies of Rhodium-Catalyzed Asymmetric
Hydroformylation with Diazaphospholane Ligands"

Matt Windsor, Ph.D. 2011

"Development of a ß-Peptide Retroaldolase and Efforts
Toward Other Catalytic Foldamers"

Read about Matt's experience with the WISL Thesis Award