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NEW COLLEGE Holding a model which simulntee the structure of one of the carbon compounds he has received a 9,rant to investigate is New College I Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr Rodger 1J. Griffin Jr. These models help chemists to redict molecular structure and to determine chanRes that can pe effect d to produce new molecules.
NEW COLLEGE SARASO T A, FLORIDA 33578 813/ 355-7 1 3 1 FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, DECEMBER 21, 1967 1 70 -12/15/67 Ref.: Furman c. Arthur SARASOTA--For the next 15 months, Dr. Rodger w. Griffin Jr. will be devoting a part of his lengthy working days in the New College science laboratories to the investigation of metacyclophanes. To support this research, the Petroleum Research Fund of the American Chemical Society recently provided a $10,800 grant to the New College associate professor in chemistry. What are metacyclophanes and what interest do they have? Metacyclophanes, says Dr. Griffin, comprise a small group among the more than one million carbon compounds. Carbon compounds he points out, are the basis of all organic chemistry and this field of science has spawned many of the modern day miracles of plastics, synthetic fibers, medicines, and an understanding of the workings of the human body. Dr. Griffin's research will probably not lead to an end product that will be a "miracle" of any sort. He will carry out basic research that may provide the knowledge for others to use in experimentation. more -
New College Page 2 Such research is the foundation of our more startling chemical developments. Organic chemistry concerns itself primarily with the carbon atom. Carbon is the essential element in all organic matter, both plant and animal, and if it were not for carbon, life as we know it could not have developed. But it was only about 150 years ago that scientists were convinced that organic compounds were products of a vital, or organic, process exclusively and could not be synthesized artificially. In 1828, Friedrich Wohler converted ammonium cyanate to urea, demonstrating the possibility of preparing organic compounds from inorganic materials. Twenty-five more years passed before Wohler's find drew any widespread belief and those years were filled with the efforts of many chemists slowly building toward this credibility. The carbon atom, the basic building block of organic chemistry, is known chiefly for its great tendency to unite with other carbon atoms forming chains or rings, giving rise to the vast number and variety of compounds. "A chemist working in this area might prepare 1,000 new compounds during his lifetime," remarks Dr. Griffin. His own work in the field has been going on since his days at the University of Rochester where he earned his doctorate. more -
New College Page 3 In his work, Dr. Griffin begins with a few carbon compounds, studies the way in which their atoms are linked and the ways in which they can be changed. Part of the study determines some of the effects that will be caused by shifting the relationship of the carbon atoms. In his neat office, filled with books, and colored by jars of wild berries he is also studying, Dr. Griffin holds a model of a particular metacyclophane and points out that certain changes occur even when two of the rings of carbon atoms are "flipped" in to one another. How do you see the "ring flip" occurring? This doesn't puzzle the chemist. One instrument, called a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, will measure the change produced. New College needs this expensive equipment but Harvard University has it and they will help in the research. There are other ways of the changes and Dr. Griffin and student Robert w. Baughman will use many modern instruments at New College in conducting their 15-month research program. For Baughman and other student aides this provides essential experience in organic chemistry and a feeling of accomplishment when the research results are published. Such publication is the real benefit of the work. Detailed findings will appear in the professional journals and chemists all over the world will have available this data to help in their own work. more -
New College -Page 4 The slow process of pure research goes on and on, providing the scientific building blocks on which our future chemistry accomplishments will rest. In relative anonymity in thousands of laboratories in colleges and universities, research like that of Dr. Griffin's is going on constantly. This work continues Dr. Griffin's own program of research, results of which have been published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Tetrahedon Letters. In his busy schedule, the progress on his research must be tightly wedged in with his full teaching schedule, with the final revisions on his new textbook on organic chemistry being published by McGraw-Hill in 1969, and on the demanding work as chairman of the faculty committee on committees, the keystone group for all faculty committee work. Once in a while, the rewards of immediate application of research come to a chemist, and they have to Dr. Griffin. Asked to help solve a specific problem by the Electro Mechanical Research Company in Sarasota, Dr. Griffin was able to find a solution to the source of contamination in several electronic components which will form a part of the "space package" in the orbiting astronomical observatory, adding to his own personal satisfaction the knowledge of the successful partnership of New College and local industry. 30 -