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Partch: Chemistry is more than fireworks and magic shows


POTSDAM - Professor Richard Partch has been teaching at Clarkson University since 1965, but it’s not at all unusual to find him working with a group of teens, teachers, manufacturers or elder hostel participants.

In fact, this senior university professor with the Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP) has made three presentations in as many months to share his academic expertise.

His work at CAMP involves cutting-edge technology that touches everyday aspects of most people’s lives — computer chips, heat/energy control, medicine, and wind impacts, to name a few. Part of his job is to share that knowledge.

“The wall of the CAMP atrium features our Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering motto ‘Technology Serving Humanity’ and with our State funding comes the responsibility to bring information on technology to local tech businesses,” says Partch.

It’s a mission he clearly embraces.

He was recently in Rochester at the 2013 annual Science Teachers Association meeting, where he gave an invited presentation on “Nanotechnology Solutiores for Cancer and Drug Overdoses.” This is an ongoing research area in his university laboratory in collaboration with Biology Professor Craig Woodworth.

“I was invited to present to this group a few years ago. My overall message has always been chemistry is more than fireworks and magic shows,” Partch said

Last month, he represented Clarkson at the St. Lawrence County National Manufacturers Day event organized by NNY CITEC. Regional pre-college teachers, school counselors and some students in tech prep programs attended. Spokespersons from Alcoa, Ansen, Corning and Curran Reweable Energies made presentations. Partch discussed the diverse technology research and development opportunities in engineering, math and science at Clarkson.

“I spoke about how R&D is the first step in a manufacturing process and that no successful person in manufacturing achieves by working alone but that teamwork is essential. I want the students to know they will never succeed if they think they will work in a vacuum,” the professor emphasizes.

He underscores the same point in his popular on-campus eight-week summer laboratory research program for rising high school seniors. He aims to “enhance their understanding of how technology evolves from collaboration with others and the intellectual rewards of being a scientist.”

In September, he mingled with fellow scientists for two weeks in Spain. He was an invited guest at the EDIBON Company in Madrid and was an invited speaker and session chair at the three-day 2013 International NANOSMAT Conference in Granada. In a small-world coincidence, he was happy to reconnect with former Clarkson research associates Manuel Ocana and Luis Perez at the Instituto de Sciencia de Materiales de Sevilla.

“These conferences offer the opportunity to meet an interesting cadre of people,” he says.

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