Unique Artwork Depicts Complex Chemical Reaction

Model of chemical reaction

Research being done in the laboratory of John Keith, assistant professor of chemical engineering and R.K. Mellon Faculty Fellow in Energy, on simple and effective ways of modeling chemical reactions in solutions was represented in text and in a unique piece of artwork in the journal "Chemical Science."

Yasemin Basdogan, a Ph.D. student in Keith’s lab, designed the back cover image, which shows several molecules reacting in a cross-shaped container slowly filling with a liquid.

“The red cross in the cover art symbolizes the medical red cross that you see on ambulances," Basdogan says. "Our model is like a paramedic team that comes with an ambulance: it’s a quick fix that can be really effective.”

Their study titled “A paramedic treatment for modeling explicitly solvated chemical reaction mechanisms” analyzed a very complex chemical system called the Morita-Baylis Hillman reaction. 

Basdogan developed the image for the back cover using tools and skills she learned in a course taught by Assistant Professor Chris Wilmer at the Swanson School of Engineering, called Advanced Scientific Visual Communication. 

Chemistry World, a monthly magazine published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, featured Basdogan and Keith’s work with a feature story titled “Errors in continuum solvent models unraveled at last.” 

More details on the study is available on the Swanson School of Engineering website.