Teague named resident director of Oak Ridge Science Semester

Cornell College chemistry professor Craig Teague will serve as the resident faculty director of the Oak Ridge Science Semester Program for fall 2016.

Cornell College chemistry professor Craig Teague.
Cornell College chemistry professor Craig Teague.

Teague will teach an advanced chemistry course, help lead an interdisciplinary seminar for students taking part in the program, and do research in the Nanomaterials Chemistry Group at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Teague previously served as Resident Faculty Director in 2009. He also did summer research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2014. A paper from that research, co-written by Teague and Ben Williamson ’15 has just been published in the journal Microporous and Mesoporous Materials.

Students who take part in the program spend at least 35 hours a week as part of ongoing research teams at the laboratory. The areas of research include astrophysics, cell biology, DNA sequencing, genetic mutagenesis, parallel computing, robotics, advanced materials, neutron science, nuclear engineering, and much more. Students have access to state-of-the-art research equipment and are mentored by a staff scientist from the laboratory.

The program is different from other undergraduate research experiences, because students earn a full semester of academic credit, allowing them to progress toward earning their degree while doing high-level research at a federal laboratory.

Jihang Wang ’15 took part in the semester in fall 2014, and Nguyet Minh (Julie) Hoang ’16 took part in the semester in fall 2015.

After the fall 2016 semester is over Teague plans to stay for the spring 2017 semester to continue his research. He is a physical chemist and has done extensive research on ways to capture the carbon dioxide produced by manufacturing and other industrial processes before it escapes into the atmosphere.

The currently available processes for recycling CO2 capture materials require massive amounts of energy and therefore aren’t practical, Teague said. The research going on at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a multipurpose U.S. Department of Energy laboratory, is looking at multiple ways to solve the problem. Some labs are looking at systems to be implemented, while others, like the one he will work in, look at the atomic and molecular processes in play.

“I’m working on fundamental research,” Teague said. “We need to understand the chemistry in order to develop a good system.”