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Creating artificial nose nothing to sneeze at

Feb. 9, 2011

KALAMAZOO--The development of a very sensitive artificial nose that can be used to detect a variety of substances at extremely low levels will be the subject of a talk by an award-winning chemist when he visits Western Michigan University in February.

Dr. Kenneth S. Suslick, the Marvin T. Schmidt Professor of Chemistry, professor of materials science and engineering and Beckman Institute professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will speak at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15, in Room 1720 of the Chemistry Building. Titled "The Optoelectronic Nose: An Adventure of Molecular Recognition," Suslick's presentation is free and open to the public.

Suslick also will present a second seminar for students, faculty and staff, on how to develop an effective lecture. "A Seminar on Seminars" begins at noon Wednesday, Feb. 16, in Room 1220 of the Chemistry Building.

The artificial nose has been used to detect small amounts of toxic industrial chemicals. It has also been used to discriminate subtle differences in beverages, coffees and many other common substances. In fact, it can distinguish between 10 commercial brands of coffee.

Suslick, who helped make the apparatus, joined the UIUC faculty immediately after receiving his doctoral degree from Stanford in 1978. His research expertise includes catalytic and functional materials, chemical sensing, nanomaterials, metalloporphyrins and bioinorganic chemistry. He also is a leading authority on the physical and chemical effects of ultrasound.

Suslick is the recipient of several notable awards, including the Sir George Stokes Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Chemical Society Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education, ACS Senior Cope Scholar Award and the Materials Research Society Medal. He has published more than 275 papers, edited four books and holds 30 patents.

Suslick's visit is sponsored by the WMU Department of Chemistry and is through the Visiting Scholars and Artist Program. Established in 1960, the program significantly contributes to the intellectual life of WMU and the community, providing funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus. The program has supported visits by more than 600 scholars and artists representing more than 60 academic disciplines.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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