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Juniata Chemist to Lecture on Advances in Science

(Posted October 10, 2005)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Peter Baran, assistant professor of chemistry, will lecture on "Advances in Chemistry in the 21st Century" at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 12 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public. The talk is part of the Bookend Seminar series, which features afternoon lectures each month by Juniata College faculty.

Baran's talk will focus on new directions in the field of chemistry that have happened in the past five years. He will talk about breakthroughs in research on chemical catalysts, such as creating compounds that can speed up chemical reactions. Reducing the time needed for observing chemical test results can in turn speed up the timetable needed for drug testing and lower the costs associated with drug development.

In addition, he will speak on important developments in nanotechnology, which essentially allows scientists to build materials and products on the atomic and molecular level. Baran will show how scientific work on molecular magnets, created through nanotechnology, can result in designing computers that potentially will be much smaller and much faster.

Baran also will discuss how he is using some of these concepts in his own research at Juniata.
"Ordinary people experience the results of chemists' work every day," Baran says. "In many cases they do not realize how much fun it is to make all these useful and sometimes less useful compounds."

Baran came to Juniata as an assistant professor of chemistry in 2004 after working at several academic positions at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. At the university, Baran worked as an affiliated researcher from 2003 to 2004 and worked previously as a postdoctoral fellow and visiting assistant professor from 2000 to 2003.

Baran earned a bachelor's degree in pedagogy at Slovak Technical University in Bratislava, Slovakia in 1985. He went on to earn the equivalent of a master's degree in physical and analytical chemistry in 1985. He earned a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry from Slovak Technical University in 1992.

He has studied internationally in Germany, Crete and Puerto Rico. His research interest include chemical synthesis, X-ray crystallography, spectroscopy and magnetochemistry..

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.