David Blauch

Education

Ph.D. California Institute of Technology
B.S. Lebanon Valley College

Background

I teach courses in analytical, inorganic, and physical chemistry. My research examines the electrochemical properties of organic molecules and transition metal complexes, with special interest in electrocatalysis. Central issues are how the oxidation or reduction of the metal in a coordination compound alters the distribution of electron density between metal and ligand and the resulting implications for metal-catalyzed oxidations and reductions.

Most recently, my students and I have investigated the reduction of carbon dioxide at platinum electrodes in acidic aqueous buffers.

My interest in chemistry began in eighth grade when I obtained a chemistry set and began exploring the behavior of the chemicals. Soon I had checked out and read numerous chemistry books from the public library. The father of one of my friends gave me a collection of beakers, flasks, and condensers his company was discarding, and I soon had an extensive chemistry lab in my basement. As a senior in high school I did a full-year independent study in chemistry consisting primarily of organic syntheses.

Since my earliest experiments with a chemistry set, I have wondered why things behave the way they do. The effort to produce viable explanations has motivated me throughout my career, and I enjoy sharing these insights with students. I am always looking for new and better ways to communicate chemical concepts and techniques, and some of the tools I have created, such as Virtual Chemistry Experiments, are available on the Internet for everyone to use. For this same reason, I also enjoy doing chemical research with students, who co-author publications and travel to present their work at scientific meetings.

Teaching

CHE 115 Principles of Chemistry
CHE 215 Chemical Equilibrium
CHE 351 Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics
CHE 371 Analytical Chemistry
CHE 391 Experimental Physical Chemistry