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Friday Science Seminar - What happens to my cat in the NMR instrument?

House cats have an amazing ability to enter the tiniest of spaces – appearing to fill all available space much like a liquid. Since cats outwardly appear to be, at the very least, “solid-like”, this “liquid-like” behavior has resulted, most famously, in the 2017 Ig Nobel award in physics to be given to a study showing that cats indeed have properties of both liquids and solids (Rheology Bulletin, 83(2) July 2014)

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) – be it in its analytical (Chemistry) or medical (MRI) uses – is nearly always observed on liquids, or liquid components if multiple phases are present. Why is that? What happens when solids and intermediate phases are placed in the NMR instrument? Performing NMR on non-liquid phases is indeed possible, with interesting and informative results. One can see things not possible using liquids – possibly even into the mind of a cat.

*** No cats were harmed in any way in preparation for this talk ***

Tom Pratum received a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked as a research scientist in NMR and taught chemistry to undergraduates at several universities. He is currently an affiliate faculty member in Chemistry at SOU and is teaching an OLLI course on the Periodic Table in the Fall term.

Friday, October 11, 2019 at 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Science Building Room 151
1250 Ashland St Ashland, OR 97520 United States

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations, Local Events

Target Audience

Prospective Students, Faculty/Staff, Alumni, Students, Community




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