Natural Sciences Abstract

Projects in the Natural Sciences:

Conversion Of Optically Active Acid-Esters To Ester-Acid Chlorides Without Loss Of Optical Activity

Sean Purdy (Senior, Chemistry)


Supervising Faculty Mentor: 
Dr. George B. Trimitsis

Stephen Flowers (Junior, Biology)



Mason Marsh (Senior, Chemistry)



Brenda Benfield (Junior, Biology)



It has been reported in the literature that attempts to convert optically active acid-esters to their corresponding ester-acid chlorides by standard procedures is often accompanied by loss of optical activity. The purpose of the present investigation was to develop a suitable experimental procedure for the conversion of methyl (R)-3-methyl glutarate (1) to the corresponding ester-acid 2 with preservation of optical purity. A number of suitable reagents and reaction conditions for accomplishing this goal will be discussed. The present investigation also sought to develop an accurate and convenient assay for determining the enantiomeric excess of compounds and 2. Although 1NMR can be used for this purpose, it was found that GC-MS offers a number of distinct advantages. A comparison of the two analytical procedures will be presented. 


Petrology And Petrogenesis Of Diabase Drill Core In Bucks County, Pennsylvania

Scott W. Poborsky (Senior, Geology)


Supervising Faculty Mentor: 
Dr. William R. Brice

Craig M. Thomas (Senior, Geology)



A 58 meter Triassic age diabase drill core was obtained from the U. S. Geological Survey Boarhead Farms Superfund Site. The Pennsylvania diabase intruded into the Triassic basin which extends from Canada to South Carolina along the eastern edge of North America. The core is composed entirely of phaneritic, medium grained troctolitic norite with several faulted areas due to post-crystallization stresses. The core is composed mainly of pyroxene, calcium rich plagioclase, and olivine with accessories that include biotite and iron oxides. The origin of the intrusion is due to the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea. Differentiation processes such as crystal settling, and Bowen’s Reaction Series are all involved in the petrogenesis of the diabase sheet.