Baltimore-Washington Section of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy
March 2010

In this Issue:

Local Section News


Now that we can see the first inklings of Spring, the Baltimore-Washington section is sponsoring a tour speaker.

This year, we will have Dr. Julian Tyson of the University of Massachussetts Amherst coming to speak April 6, 2010. The Topic abstract is below. The meeting will be at Eggspectation at 923 Ellsworth Drive in Downtown, Silver Spring, MD. See below. Dinner selections are below, the cost is $20.00 per person, (Students half price.)
[Special dietary requirements not met by the menu below will be addressed. If you have any special dietary requirements, requiring different options, please let us know].

Registration and your dinner selection should be submitted as soon as possible to Kris Patterson (301-504-0640) or Jeb Taylor (301-796-0026) email: kris.patterson@ars.usda.gov or jeb.taylor@fda.hhs.gov.
Local sections allow the opportunity to meet and network with people working in various capacities in various industries, that may be working on problems related to your work, or specific areas of interest in which you may not be able to justify traveling to a national or international meeting to learn about. It is also an opportunity to see old friends or colleagues or to meet new friends and colleagues. It is not necessary to be a member of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy to attend, friends, colleagues, spouses, significant others, are invited as well.

A number of the former local section officers, including myself, have volunteered to continue to support the local section as officers. If you have interest in a well paid career in a professional society, this is not it, however, if you have interest in the opportunity serve as an officer in the local section, please let one of us know. The web site for the local section is supported by Mike Epstein and is at: http://www.mikeepstein.com/bwsas/index.html If you have not been to the web site, check it out!

Hoping to see you at the April 6, 2010 tour speaker meeting.

John S. Canham, Ph.D.
Acting Chair 2010
Baltimore-Washington SAS section

Photos from the 2009 meeting:

Meeting Announcements

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 - National SAS Tour Speaker

Julian Tyson
Department of Chemistry
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01002

The Arsenic Project:
Chemical Measurements in Support of Studies of the Biogeochemistry of Arsenic


Arsenic is the 20th most abundant element in the earth's crust with average concentrations in rocks of about 2 mg/kg and in soil of about 5 mg/kg. Although arsenic appears to be relatively stable in soils and rocks, we have been able to extract it and make a wide range of compounds with a variety of uses. Arsenic compounds have been, and still are, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. We spray solutions of them on roadsides, orchards, lawns, and we used to impregnate timber for construction purposes with a solution of chromium, copper and arsenic. This kind of "pressure-treated" wood has been phased out of use for domestic purposes, but there is still a considerable legacy with which to deal. It is not known to what extent this material is responsible for environmental contamination. There is also the legacy of chemical manufacturing, as arsenic was often discarded along with other wastes. Arsenic compounds are number 1 in the US in terms of chemicals in the environment that pose the most significant potential threat to human health.

Naturally occurring arsenic can get into drinking water, and the contamination of ground water is a serious issue--not just for the US. In Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, millions of people are drinking highly contaminated water and are showing signs of chronic arsenic poisoning. The relevant issues are (a) how can we remove arsenic from contaminated water and (b) how can we test--in remote, rural communities--that the water is safe. We are starting to see arsenic contamination in food, especially rice. There are other issues: arsenic-containing drugs are fed to chickens, arsenic was a component of some embalming fluids and may now be leaching out of cemeteries, and arsenic may be a contaminant of deicing salts.

To study any of these issues, we have to be able to make measurements of the relevant compounds that are reliable. In the laboratory, we can use instrumentation such as high performance liquid chromatography with element specific detection by plasma-source optical or mass spectrometry; however, for field measurements, simple test kits are needed. My group's recent research has been directed at overcoming the shortcomings in both kinds of analytical methods. Graduate students, upper-level undergraduates, summer students, first-year undergraduates, K-12 students and their teachers are all involved in this arsenic-related research.

Date: Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Place: Eggspectation Restaurant, 923 Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring, Maryland 20910

Time: 6 pm Social Hour, 7 pm Dinner, 8 pm Seminar

Cost: $20 (Students $10)

Menu Options:

  1. Crab Cake Diner: A generous 6oz Maryland style crab cake served with steamed vegetables and rice
  2. Chicken Chesapeake: Sautéed tender chicken breast with jumbo lump crab meat, topped with an imperial sauce. Served with buttered noodles.
  3. Maple Glazed Ribeye: 14oz U.S.D.A. choice Ribeye grilled to your liking topped with our unique maple glaze. Served with red potatoes and steamed vegetables.
  4. Crab Salad: Tossed mixed greens in our house vinaigrette, grape tomatoes, cucumbers and jumbo lump crab meat.
  5. Parmesan Crusted Chicken: Tender 8oz chicken breast Dipped in egg whites and Flour then coated with Grated parmesan cheese pan Fried and served on a bed of Baby spinach and sliced Tomato with a touch of our Balsamic vinaigrette dressing Served with linguini marinara

Reservations: Please make your reservations by NOON, Friday, April 2, 2010 by emailing or calling Kris Patterson kris.patterson@ars.usda.gov (301-504-0640), or Jeb Taylor Jeb.taylor@fda.hhs.gov (301-796-0026).


From the Washington Beltway Exit 31B S. (Georgia Ave.) go toward downtown Silver Spring (South), about 1.9 miles. When you pass Colesville Rd (Rt29), Ellsworth Drive will be the next Left. To park, go past Ellsworth Drive and take the next left on Wayne Ave. (This is the second left and the second light past Colesville Rd.). Park in the Wayne Avenue Garage. The garage is in the first block and on the left. Eggspectation is in the shopping center on Ellsworth Drive directly behind the Wayne Avenue garage. If you leave the garage after 8pm you do not have to pay for parking at the pay machine when you park. The garage exit gate is always opened after 8PM.

Metro: When leaving the Silver Spring Metro Train Station at Colesville Rd and East West Highway go north on Colesville Rd for 3 blocks. Turn right on Georgia Ave. Turn left on to Ellsworth Drive (the first left). Eggspectation is in the shopping center on your right.

Your Baltimore-Washington Section Officers for 2010:

Acting Chairman: John Canham, Alliant Techsystems, 301-902-4185, john.canham@atk.com
Treasurer: Jeb Taylor, FDA, 301-796-0026, Jeb.Taylor@fda.hhs.gov
Newsletter Editor: Kris Patterson, USDA, 301-504-0640, kris.patterson@ars.usda.gov
Web page editor: Mike Epstein, Mount Saint Mary's University, 301-447-5376, epstein@msmary.edu

Links to other local scientific organizations and conferences of interest:

Chemical Society of Washington, CSW, Local Section of the American Chemical Society

Past Issues of the Baltimore-Washington Section Newsletter (including Historical Events in Chemistry for those months)

March 1999
April-May 1999
Summer 1999
September 1999
October 1999
November 1999
December 1999
January/Feb 2000
March 2000
April 2000
May 2000
November 2000
February 2001
April 2001

April 2002
May 2002

April/May Historical Events in Chemistry and Spectroscopy by Leopold May, Department of Chemistry, Catholic University

Spectrum Go to the National SAS Home Page

Last Modified: March 11, 2010