Marine Science at Southampton College
Hydrogen bonding in molecules with more than one proton acceptor site

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Nancy Peters
Southampton College, New York

Wednesday, August 26, 1998
3:30 p.m.—Pacific Forum

Southampton College is undergoing a number of changes due to growth in enrollment, particularly in the Marine Science Program. A new academic center is being finished in time for the Fall 98 semester with two biology laboratories, an organic laboratory, a computer laboratory, a large lecture room, several classrooms, space for the radio station, the dean's office and several faculty offices for Social Science and Education. We are in the process of purchasing land next to the Marine Station and seeking funding to expand our facilities. We have just hired three new faculty members: William Schutt in biology, affectionately known as the "bat man"; Eric Hirschmann in mathematics, and Steve Liebling in physics (both having gained recent fame as part of the team that won a bet with Steven Hawking over naked singularities). We continue to place students in excellent graduate programs and have had 28 receive Fullbright Scholarships over the years—more than Harvard, Princeton, and Yale combined.

This talk will also cover research on hydrogen bonding in molecules with more than one proton acceptor site.

Theoretical calculations of molecular structure have reached a level of sophistication and respect. They are used to support, to revise, and (in some cases) to refute experimental results. They also allow the research scientist to explore structures which may not exist in nature and to predict structures for molecules that are not easily studied experimentally. For example, fluorine azide tended to explode upon handling and so theory predicted structure before scientists were actually able to do the spectroscopy.

Hydrogen bonds are a pervasive phenomenon and many of the questions remaining to be answered about them can be examined with molecular structure theory. As an example, calculations were performed to determine the preferential site of hydrogen bond formation in small molecules where more than one such site exists. For HOF, HNO, H2NF and H2NOH the better hydrogen bond, as measured by bond strength, occurred when the proton acceptance site was the less electronegative atom. Structures and energies for all configurations were determined.

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Last updated: December 19, 2000