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Beth Sorensen
Office of Communications


Reed College has been awarded a grant of $243,312 in support of associate professor of chemistry Margret J. Geselbracht's project "A CAREER Plan: New Mixed-Valent Layered Perovskites to Elucidate Structure-Property Relationships" from the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program of the National Science Foundation. The grant is renewable for the next three years.

Geselbracht's CAREER award will support her research focused on the synthesis and characterization of new mixed-valent materials with layered perovskite-type structures. Layered perovskites are solids composed of several different metals, including early transition metals, and oxygen. Geselbracht plans to use a molten salt flux process to synthesize a variety of layered perovskite titanates and niobates. If it is successful, her technique will expand the repertoire of synthetic strategies to early transition metal oxides and provide insight into what structural and electronic features are necessary for desirable properties such as superconductivity. In addition to supporting senior thesis projects in this area, several Reed students will be given the opportunity to work with Geselbracht on this research during the summer.

In addition to supporting research, the CAREER program provides support for educational activities with a particular emphasis on the integration of research and education in the awardee's career. Geselbracht plans to develop a new layered perovskite laboratory project for the introductory inorganic chemistry course at Reed that brings a research component into the teaching laboratory. She also plans to develop a Reed student-based outreach program to local high school chemistry classrooms and construct a web site with instructional tools for teaching the relationships of structure, bonding, and properties in extended solids.

Geselbracht says, "With its emphasis on the integration of research and educational activities, I saw the CAREER program as a natural fit for my goals as a teacher/scholar at Reed. Receiving this award is extremely gratifying for me not only because it provides tremendous support for my work, but more importantly because this award recognizes the high quality of undergraduate research carried out at Reed."

Margret J. Geselbracht, a professor at Reed since spring of 1993, received her B.S. from the University of Notre Dame and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests involve synthesis and characterization of new solid state inorganic materials with interesting electronic, magnetic, and optical properties. Geselbracht has been the recipient of many awards and grants, including a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Faculty Start-up grant, a National Science Foundation laboratory improvement grant, the prestigious Cottrell College Science award, and a Reed College Vollum sabbatical award. She is the author of numerous journal articles and is co-author of A Materials Chemistry Companion to General Chemistry.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent U.S. government agency responsible for promoting science and engineering through programs that invest over $3.3 billion per year in almost 20,000 research and education projects in science and engineering. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is an NSF-wide activity that supports junior faculty members within the context of their overall career development. This premier program emphasizes the importance NSF places on the early development of academic careers dedicated to stimulating the discovery process in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning.