Event Recordings

ACS CCEW Virtual Seminar • April 25, 2024

Holey Batteries Batman, Can Chemists Really Help Solve Our Energy Problems?
Virtual Seminar presented by
Prof. Sarah Tolbert is a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Materials Science and Engineering at UCLA.
She is also the recipient of the SCALACS Tolman Award for the year 2023.

This virtual seminar is presented in conjunction with the American Chemical Society (ACS) Chemist Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) and is made possible with the Science Café Grant from Local Section Activities Committee of ACS.

Sarah H. Tolbert is a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Materials Science and Engineering at UCLA. Her research focuses on controlling nanometer-scale architecture in solution-processed nanomaterials to generate unique optical, electronic, magnetic, structural, and electrochemical properties. She has published over 200 scholarly research articles and has 20 patents focusing on electrochemical energy storage, organic electronics, nanomagnetics, nanoscale control of thermal conductivity, and new ultra-hard materials. She also serves as the faculty direct for a program aimed at bringing nano-concepts to schools, students, and the general public throughout the greater Los Angeles area.

Professor Tolbert is the recipient of a number of awards including the American Chemical Society Henry H. Storch Award in Energy Chemistry, Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, an NSF Special Creativity Award, the ACS R.A. Glen Award, and the UCLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award. She currently directs the Center for Strain Optimization for Renewable Energy (STORE) which is a part of the DOE Science Foundations for Energy Earthshots program.Research in the Tolbert group focuses on the intertwined goals of:
(1) using solution-phase methods to producing new nanostructured materials, and
(2) using materials structure and architecture to control physical properties in a broad range of systems.

Within this framework, Tolbert group research can be divided into five topical areas. The first is the development new materials for high rate and high capacity electrochemical energy storage. Here she specifically uses nanoporous architectures to reduce solids state diffusion distance in fast charging electrode materials, and to add mechanical flexibility to high capacity/large volume change electrode materials. Her second research area focuses on controlling the properties of conjugated organic molecules, specifically doped semiconducting polymers. The goal of this effort is to use structural control in polymer assemblies to prevent carrier trapping and increase electronic conductivity. Her work on creating and controlling nanostructured magnetoelectric composites focuses primarily on mulitiferroic materials, in which an electric potential can be used to modify the magnetic state of a system. Nanoporous magnets provide tunable mechanical flexibility, and magnetic nanocrystals provide soft magnetic building blocks.

In her work on synthesizing and interrogating new ultra-hard materials, she uses a combination of solid state and high temperature solution phase methods to create new super-hard transition metal borides in both bulk and nanostructured materials. This family of materials represent some of the hardest know materials that can be synthesized at ambient pressure, and high-pressureradial diffraction studies help her to understand the origins of their impressive mechanical properties. Finally, Prof. Tolbert is developing new routes to porous oxide materials that can be used to improve building efficiency. Specific projects focus on optically clear porous materials for window insulation, and on materials for passive daytime radiative cooling. All projects combine an intimate mix of materials synthesis, materials characterization, device physics, and fundamental physical understanding, allowing her to work to span many fields of Chemistry.


ACS NCW Virtual Seminar • October 23, 2023

AI and Green Chemistry: Crafting a Sustainable Tomorrow 
Seminar presented by
Ms. Urvashi Saxena, Technical Product Manager, Collins Aerospace
The seminar will explore the emerging role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in advancing sustainability across diverse sectors. Core discussions will spotlight how AI-powered predictive analytics, smart grids, and precision agriculture are pivotal in augmenting resource efficiency and minimizing waste. The session will unveil case studies, demonstrating the tangible impact of AI within the domain of green chemistry. Moreover, the seminar will delve into AI’s potential in climate change mitigation through sophisticated modeling and monitoring techniques. The conversation will broaden to include the ideation of eco-friendly AI and its capacity to nurture a circular economy. By weaving together real-world case studies and forward-looking perspectives, the seminar endeavors to illuminate the transformative potential of melding AI with green chemistry in ushering in a sustainable future.
The 2023 High School Olympiad Awards Ceremony
Download Program Here
The 2022 SCALACS Graduate and Undergraduate Research Symposium

Nanoporous Materials for Energy-Related Applications
Presented by:
Professor Pingyun Feng
University of California, Riverside

Part of the 2022 SCALACS Research Symposium:
The Red Planet and The Blue Planet: Past, Present and Future
November 5, 2022
Beckman Institute Auditorium
California Institute of Technology


The 2022 High School Olympiad Awards Ceremony

Download Program Here


SCALACS_ Pamela_Leggett-Robinson

Broadening STEM Participation through Intentional Exposure, Encouragement, and Engaged Support
presented by
Dr. Pamela Leggett-Robinson, PhD, CAPM
Founder & Executive Director, PLR Consulting

Many of the educational STEM settings (K-12 and higher education) serve as arenas where both academic and social inequities (and injustices) can be produced and reproduced by privileging some identities while marginalizing others. Thus, conspiring to create the STEM opportunity gap by way of lack of STEM exposure, encouragement, and engaged support. To effectively broaden participation and decrease the opportunity gap for these groups, current STEM environments must intentionally create and foster a culture of diversity, inclusion, and equity — one that is open, welcoming, and nurturing to everyone. This seminar aims to build capacity for ways in which individuals and local sections can work together to broaden participation in STEM for marginalized groups through intentional exposure, encouragement, and engaged support. Join us!


Pamela Leggett-Robinson has more than 15 years of higher education experience which includes STEM academic and student success/support programming, institutional strategic planning, data analytics, educational programming (start-ups), and program evaluation. Her diverse skill set is a result of serving as an academic administrator, project manager, principal investigator/project director for STEM student and community initiatives, high school teacher, and lobbyist for K-20 science funding on Capitol Hill. She is a Certified Associate in Project Management and brings an exceptional level of enthusiasm, dedication, and nuanced perspective to each STEM program she serves.

Dr. Leggett-Robinson’s research and scientific presentations focus on natural product chemistry, surface chemistry, student support programs in STEM education, and support programming for women of color in STEM professions. She has received multiple awards for her STEM service to students and garnered funds from both NIH and NSF in program funding. Her distinguished record of STEM programmatic success is well documented in publications and presentations. Dr. Leggett-Robinson holds a B.S. in chemistry from Georgia State University, M.S. in Bio-Organic Chemistry from Tennessee Technological University, and a Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry from Georgia State University. Dr. Leggett-Robinson is a co-editor of the book Overcoming Barriers for Women of Color in STEM Fields and co-author of book chapter “Navigating the Landscape of the STEM Professoriate: Reflections and Insights” From Women of Color. Women’s Influence on Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity in STEM Fields.



Urvashi Saxena

Imagination is your only Limitation: Join me on my STEM Journey!
presented by
Urvashi Saxena

Software Engineer at Collins Aerospace


Urvashi Saxena has been recognized with the Women’s Advocate Award for consistently organizing and introducing young women to STEM. Urvashi is an eager STEM enthusiast who values problem-solving, consistency, and excellence. She believes in the power of coding to design innovative solutions with unmatchable customer service to deliver the end product.
At Collins Aerospace Urvashi gets to operate flight simulators and design the software within. She was first introduced to programming at the young age of 10 and was mesmerized by the instant results. One of the most formative coding courses she took during her Middle School was at The Bishop’s Co-Ed School, Pune, India, where she created her first HTML website. Having full autonomy over designing the layout, colors, and architecture through coding gave her a new meaning of life. Urvashi’s desire for front-end development made her pursue a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, FL. She later pursued a Masters of Science in Data Analytics at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. Her interests are Software Engineering, Customer Experience, Product Designing, and Data Analytics.
STEM has had a positive impact on her life and she aims to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for engineering to educate the younger generation. She will share about the different STEM disciplines and the impact they have on the world of future Scientists and Engineers.
Urvashi has been able to host Engineering events for Middle/High school girls for the past 6+ years. She introduces the multiple facets of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math to encourage young adults, to pursue a fulfilling career!

Watch the recording here:

Managing CO2 from Capture and Concentration to Conversion

A Virtual Seminar Presented by:
Professor Jenny Y. Yang,
Chancellor’s Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of California Irvine

Abstract: Addressing the rising levels of anthropogenic CO2 in our atmosphere is a major scientific challenge. The Yang group has focused on capture, concentration and conversion of CO2 using electrochemical techniques. The seminar will discuss thermodynamic considerations for electrochemical CO2 capture using quinone redox carriers, and the conversion of concentrated CO2 to liquid fuels using transition metal electrocatalysts.

Speaker Bio:  Jenny Y. Yang is a valley girl (born and raised in San Fernando Valley). She received her BS at UC Berkeley (research with Professor Jeffrey R. Long) and completed her doctoral studies at MIT under the guidance of Professor Daniel G. Nocera. After her postdoctoral position with Dr. Daniel L. Dubois at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, she was hired as a research scientist in the Center for Molecular Electrocatalysis. After a subsequent position as a scientist at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, she started her current position as a faculty member at the University of California, Irvine.

Watch the recording here:


SCALACS_Arieh Warshel
From Kibbutz Fishponds to the Nobel Prize: Taking Molecular Functions Into Cyberspace
A Virtual event via Zoom Monday March 7, 2022 • 4 pm to 5 pm PT
Presented by: dr. Arieh Warshel
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, USC
Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences
Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
Arieh Warshel is well-known for his work on computational biochemistry and biophysics and in particular for pioneering computer simulations of the functions of biological systems and for developing what is known today as Computational Enzymology. He shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Martin Karplus of Harvard University and Michael Levitt of Stanford University for the creation of computer programs that describe the action of proteins and other biological molecules by “multiscale models.” Warshel’s pioneering work has led to the ability to describe and understand the action of molecular machines, the activation of ion channels, and the ability to model electron and proton transport in biology, as well as to gain insight on other key biological processes.

Abstract can be found here: https://bit.ly/3uRN9Wy

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Through the Senior Chemists Mini-Grant from the SCALACS Senior Chemists Committee, we are presenting a Virtual Event featuring 2 talk sessions presented by Dr. Roger Turner, Curator of the Science History Institute, Philadelphia.
senior chemist talks

Dec. 6, 2021 • 4 pm to 5 pm PT • Via Zoom
“Combatting Air Pollution in Southern California in the 1950s”

Smog was an obvious problem in Los Angeles by the early 1950s. What caused it? What should be done about it? Join us as we discuss the experiments conducted by chemists Arnold Beckman and Arie Haagen-Smit that revealed the invisible culprit – ozone. This discovery led to a coalition of scientists, industry leaders, bureaucrats, and activists to create laws that eventually reduced ugly brown smog, but did little to reduce other harms associated with air pollution.

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Dec. 8, 2021 • 4 pm to 5 pm PT • Via Zoom
“Material Matters: The past and present of the rare earth elements essential to our future”

Today’s electronics and the green energy technologies we’ll need for the future depend upon rare earth metals. But producing these metals in the past often involved exploitation and harm. The surprisingly global story of rare earths shows how science and history can help us imagine better ways forward.

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Prior meetings: