Monday, September 29, 2003

Why Abdel is a stud

Abdel Rawashdeh, my fav grad student at UMR, has changed his name. He is now DOCTOR Abdel!

Yessiree, Abdel has run the gauntlet and returned unscathed. He defended his thesis and won! Long live ABDEL!

Why am I telling you this? Abdel is a great guy, he's been an inspiration to me since we traveled to the University of Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory to do research in 2002. I'm thrilled that he has made it!

So in a few weeks he goes back to Jordan, his home. :-( That's too bad, But I'm excited about his future prospects. He's going to do great things...

Thursday, September 25, 2003

L-A-G-Q-me baby..

Not only will I get to see LAGQ's William Kanengiser play, but I also will get to play for him in his 'master class' the next day! What a great opportunity - playing with one of the top guitarists in the world is not something you do every day!

You know, this is definitely one of the beautiful things about the classical guitar community. You can't just "play" for people like Yo Yo Ma after seeing them in concert. It just doesn't happen. However, classical guitarists really make themselves available to teach the new generation of players. How cool is that? I'm definitely going to attend at least 3 of the master classes sponsored by STLCGS this year. The opportunity to play with these incredible players is just too good to pass up!


Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Classical Cool: Who is William Kanengiser?

Big Classical Guitar News: Bill Kanengiser of LAGQ is performing at the St. Louis Ethical Society on October 11. It definitely will be a concert to remember. Bill is an incredible musician, the legendary "first guitarist" of LAGQ. If you live within 100 miles of the St. Louis area, you should go to this concert. And you need to buy his latest album: Classical Cool.

Unfortunately, the St. Louis Classical Guitar Society website is not functioning right now. There you would theoretically find more information about concerts coming up. In the future, we will see the amazing talent of Denis Koster (he studied with SABICAS!!!), Jason Vieaux (he studied with MY TEACHER), Antigoni Goni, Paul O'Dette (best lutenist ever, period), and Denis Azabagic (Bosnian wonderboy). This is going to be an incredible concert season!

Monday, September 22, 2003

Ion Exchange Chromatography

Want to hear about what I did today? Here's a sample...

Chromatography is the art of separating chemicals. Fundamentally, any chromatigraphic technique uses two phases, a stationary phase and mobile phase, inside a long column. The stationary phase is usually a sort of resin or coating that interacts with the analytes that are present in the mobile phase. Depending on the level of interaction, the analytes will stick around in the column for different amounts of time. (Note that an important feature of the mobile phase is that it cannot interact with the stationary phase.) After exiting the column, a detector will 'see' the analytes pass through and will produce a signal that is recorded by a computer. Thus you can produce a graph of signal vs. time, and you will see 'peaks' on the chromatogram that will represent the amount of analyte flowing through the system and the time it took to travel through the system. Because every compound will have a unique retention time, you can use chromatography to assist in understanding the composition of unknown samples. Amazing.

There are so many ways to do this it's unthinkable - from gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (my specialty) to liquid to size exclusion to gel permeation... to ion exchange, which is what I learned about today. Here's an excerpt from the introduction of my IEC report...

Ion exchange chromatography (IEC) is a specialized analytical technique whereby ions are separated and detected by attractions between oppositely charged ions. A subset of IEC techniques is simply called ion chromatography (IC), during which two ion exchange processes are used. Our objective in this lab was to analyze the electrolyte content of Rolla tap water and the fluoride content of Crest toothpaste.

The primary differences between ion chromatography and liquid chromatography are an immobilized ion stationary phase and an anion regenerant. During the first stage of IC, the analyte anions go through an “anion exchanger,” and are separated from their respective cations. The second stage is a high capacity cation exchanger that protonates the mobile phase (eluent) counter ions, making them less conductive so the detector doesn’t see them. This second step is usually called suppression, and is done in a suppression column. After the second step completes, the suppression column will have lost a good number of its hydronium ions. Hence, an ion exchange chromatograph uses an anion regenerant (a strong acid like H2SO4) to replace those ions. As implied earlier, the detector is an electrical conductivity detector, and is particularly sensitive to ions. When a substance with an electrical conductivity different then the background passes through, the computer records a peak.


Hmm, I guess you need to understand liquid chromatography so you can figure that garbage out. Oh well, maybe that can be for another time.

Until then,


Comments now available! YAY! Now you can communicate with me through flowing electrons. Amazing. (Not like we haven't been doing this for 100 years but I still think it's cool.)


The wonders of the internet never cease...

Welcome to my blog! I've been looking forward to this for a while - all my friends seem to have these and I've been lagging behind the trend (nothing new). I do have to warn you, this blog is not for the timid or weak of mind. You can expect intelligent, thought provoking posts that will challenge your brain, though I suspect a little fun here and there couldn't hurt.

For those of you who are visitors and have no idea who I am, here's a little more about me...
First and foremost, I am a Christian, simple as that. Second, I am a scientist/engineer, a chemistry/chemical engineering double major. If you ask my friends, they will tell you this is what defines me: I am a follower of the ruler of the universe and the author of science, Jesus Christ (I'm sure you'll see a post on this later). Hence, I'm consumed with all types of theological, philosophical, scientific, and technological pursuits.
Other interests:
Music and Arts - Nearly all kinds, in particular classical guitar and vocal music. My 'specialization,' per se, is Renaissance and early Baroque period music.
Games - I enjoy strategy games and card games. I especially like games made by the master, Klaus Teuber, such as Settlers of Catan and Domaine. For card games, I love Spades, Hearts, Bridge, and numerous CCG's. Occaisionally I find a minute to play a computer game, but my tastes are moving towards the 'instant gratification' games like Worms (fun and fast).
Reading - When I have the time, I enjoy to read all sorts of miscellaneous stuff. Since I do so much technical reading these days, however, I try to balance it out with readings on philosophy, theology, and history, with some fiction every once in a while.
'Other' Entertainment - A good movie is hard to beat, I must admit. ;-)

I hope you enjoy this blog. You can expect a post every couple of days, with new features coming all the time!

Well, here goes the first post...