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The Intersection of Organic Chemistry and Astrochemistry

Wednesday, October 27, 2010- 4:00pm

CCU Lecture Series, National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville

 

Robert McMahon

Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison

E-mail: mcmahon@chem.wisc.edu

 

Abstract

Our recent research efforts focus on elucidating the structure, photochemistry, and spectroscopy of organic species that are postulated to play a role in the chemistry of the interstellar medium. Understanding the chemistry of interstellar clouds and circumstellar environments represents a significant challenge in mechanistic organic chemistry - both in terms of identifying new organic species in the clouds and in terms of investigating the chemical processes that govern the formation and destruction of these species. The chemistry of carbon-rich compounds is of central relevance to this problem. I will describe investigations from our laboratory that illustrate the role organic chemistry plays in addressing important chemical problems in astronomy and molecular spectroscopy.