Dr. Ron Robertson

Professor of Chemistry
Chemistry Department, Austin Peay State University
PhD Physical Chemistry, Vanderbilt University

 

Schedule and Office Hours for Fall 2014

Outreach Presentation Links
 

Chem 1020 class activities

Message Board
 

Chem 1710 class activities

SERMACS 2014
Quick Links

Chem 1110-1120 class activities

Pre-med advisement links 
 

Chem 3610-20, 4000  class activities

MC Science Fair links
 

Advising Worksheets

Christmas 2004 snow pics!
 

Middle TN Science & Engineering. Fair

Aug. 2004 Flood pics!
 

Christian Faculty and Staff Network 

March 2014 snow and ice
  Resume / Curriculum Vita January 2010 snow pics!

Welcome to the home of LABMAN - faster than a speeding electron, more powerful than a thermite reaction, able to leap tall test tubes at a single bounce! LABMAN has seen over 19,000 students and teachers in the past 23 years doing demonstrations at schools and workshops with teachers. My motto is "Great Things Can Happen When The Chemistry's Right".

I was sponsor of our chemistry club, XEM from 1993-2005 and  helped supervise our outreach activities to the local schools. One of these activities is Kids and Chemistry, a program where students go into the surrounding schools and do "hands-on" activities or demonstrations with the students. If you would like to request a visit from LABMAN or our students e-mail me at robertsonr@apsu.edu and I will pass the request on.

I am also interested in helping students "do science", and I was director of  the Middle TN Science and Engineering Fair (MTSEF) from 2003-2012. After a long run at Vanderbilt, this grade 6-12 science fair found a new home at APSU in 2003. It is affiliated with the International Science and Engineering Fair. I also directed the Montgomery County Science Fair from 1992-2003. Click here for more info about the MC fair.

Of course when I am not being LABMAN, I must find time to assume my other identity, mild-mannered general and physical chemistry professor at APSU. With the help of the education and physics departments, we have developed a  course for pre-service elementary education majors under a grant from Project NOVA sponsored by NASA. This course is called "Introduction to Chemistry and Physics" and has been offered since the fall of 98. It originally was  team taught between the chemistry and physics departments but now is taught solely by myself.  I also have many of my NOVA class activities  online that you can access. Other classes I teach or have taught are chem 1110 and lab, chem 1120, chem 1020, chem 3610 and lab, and chem 3620 and lab. I also am the pre-med program advisor at APSU. Pre-meds will especially want to investigate the pre-med advisement links.

My own research has been oriented toward the environmental world. For my M.A. degree I explored how one could clean up wastewater using a process called foam flotation. My Ph.D. work was mainly theoretical modeling of the process of micellization by surfactants (soap molecules). How big do these spherical aggregates get? How is their size a function of chain length, salt concentration, temperature and the like?  I was part of an interdisciplinary research group which was developing another wastewater cleanup process called "surfactant flushing". Inject the soap, let it form micelles, the organic waste migrates to the interior of the micelle, and then remove the micelles and separate organic waste from micelle. Presto - you have cleaned up the site. It is easier said than done, but it does work.

With undergrads (including my son Kenneth, a chemistry major) at APSU, we worked on a project dealing with the use and kinetics of phosphate anti-corrosives in municipal water supplies. Phosphates have been used for years very successfully and with no reported problems, but a resident of Dickson County has been diagnosed as being allergic to some types of these agents. We tried to find which municipalities use what type of phosphate agent and how the phosphate agents change into other forms in water. We used phosphorus NMR to see the products of the hydrolysis and to quantify their relative amounts for the kinetic analysis. See a project paper on our research by clicking here.

In my spare time I try to enjoy my 150 acre farm in Dickson County (Goggle maps image is http://goo.gl/maps/FTlMi)  with babbling brook and beef cattle with my family. My son and daughter have grown up since I took this earlier pic in Wyoming on a trip out west. Now my son is married, attended Denver Seminary, and is an assistant pastor at Church of the Advent in the Baker community of Denver, Colorado.  My daughter graduated as a secondary ed math major here at APSU in the spring of 2012, married Jacob Puckett, and teaches math at Houston County High School in Erin, TN while completing her Master's in Math Education at APSU. This family photo was taken Christmas of 2010. My wife Patti taught grades 1-3 in the Dickson County school system for 30 years. She is now the manager of the farm, our church pianist, and is the best cook and homemaker I know! We have the monster garden and she constantly cans, freezes, and jellies from July to September! Homemade biscuits are just one of her specialties.

 My hobbies include tennis, stamp collecting, and photography. Check out some older photos and snow pictures (see Jan. 2003 snow pics, Mini-snow Jan 2006, and others in Quick Links above).  I have a United Methodist Church background, but our family now attends  Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Dickson, TN, where I am an elder and often teach a Bible study class.  I have also done some lay speaking from time to time in surrounding churches. A speech I gave to the APSU faculty in May of 2005 pretty well summarizes my teaching philosophy and how it relates to my Christian faith.

Music has always been important to our family. Check out Kenneth's tracks of "The Air I Breathe" and "Word of God Speak" or  his 2005 album filled with original music "Eavesdropping" - all recorded at our church. "Pieces of Me" is more recent and was recorded in Wisconsin and written for his wife Sarah. My daughter Kaci has a version of  "Friends" (several years old now) that you can hear.  Kenneth played  keyboard on many of these tracks which are in MP3 format. Kaci and I also have a duet of "On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand" recorded at our church in 2009 with my wife Patti on keyboard.

Come by and see me in Sundquist C303 on the APSU campus or give me an E-mail at robertsonr@apsu.edu.