Doctorate in Environmental Sciences

Seminar Series

The Environmental Sciences Ph.D. Program hosts a weekly seminar series during the academic year featuring presentations by individuals (students, faculty and invited guests) discussing their research within the environmental sciences. These presentations are free and open to the public.

Click here to view previous semester's seminar schedules.

Our Next Seminar:


Monday, 30 November 2015 - 4:00 pm - Room CP 257

Addition of Hydroxyl Radicals on Arenes

Devinder Kaur
Environmental Science Ph.D. Candidate

Arenes are emitted into the atmosphere via anthropogenic sources, and they account for 20-30% of non-methane hydrocarbons in urban air. The reaction of aromatic hydrocarbons with hydroxyl radicals (OH) represents the major atmospheric loss process during daylight hours. Reaction mechanisms and kinetics (study of chemical reaction with respect to reaction rates, rate constants, effect of functional groups, formation of intermediates etc.) associated with the atmospheric oxidation of aromatic compounds are important in the chemistry of urban and regional atmosphere. The reactions of aromatic compounds with the hydroxyl radical (OH) are the primary steps in their degradation mechanism in the atmosphere.

Hydroxyl radicals react with aromatic compounds by abstracting hydrogen atoms from the alkyl group or by adding to the aromatic ring. Computational methodologies with chemical accuracy like B3LYP (Becke,three-parameter,Lee-Yang-Parr), CBS-QB3 (complete basis set) are employed to explore the reaction mechanism of ortho, para and meta products to determine relative rates of reaction for hydroxyl radical with a range of aromatics in benzene, water and acetonitrile.

Structure- reactivity and Structure- selectivity relationships for the reaction of hydroxyl radical with aromatics are derived. Structure- reactivity relationships shows that electron donating groups (like NH2,OH, OCH3,CH3) enhance the reactivity whereas electron withdrawing group (like NO2,CN,Cl,F) deactivate the ring, Structure- selectivity relationships shows that electron-donating groups favor (less energy) ortho and para products and electron-withdrawing groups favor meta products.

So from these results we can say that ortho products of the environmental pollutants will be decomposed faster than para and meta products.

Kaur Graphic

Download a PDF flyer for this seminar.

This Semester's Seminar Schedule:



Monday, 24 August, 2015

Dr. Michael Perdue,
Director, Environmental Sciences Ph.D Program

"Introduction to the Seminar Series"


Dr. Thomas Lauer
Ball State University
"Introduction of Scientific Communications"

Monday, 31 August, 2015

Environmental Science Ph.D. Candidates

"Student-Led Discussion"

Monday, 7 September, 2015

Labor Day - No Seminar

Shamus Driver Portrait

Monday, 14 September, 2015
Shamus Driver
Environmental Science Ph.D. Candidate

"High Level Characterization of Dissolved Organic Matter"

Monday, 21 September, 2015

Environmental Science Ph.D. Candidates

"Student-Led Discussion"

Monday, 28 September, 2015

Environmental Science Ph.D. Candidates

"Student-Led Discussion"


Monday, 5 October, 2015

Dr. Shawn Malone
Ball State University

“The Origin and Tectonic Evolution of the Pearya Terrane Northernmost Island; A tale of Tectonics and Zircon”

Monday, 12 October, 2015

Fall Break - No Seminar


Monday, 19 October, 2015

Dr. K. Christopher Beard
University of Kansas

“Biogeography and Primate Evolution: Scientific Constraints on Improbable Events”


Monday, 26 October, 2015

Daniel Headley
Chemistry Graduate Student

Monday, 2 November, 2015

Mario Minder
Biology Graduate Student

"Silver Carp Diets and Algae Selectivity in the Wabash River"


Zach Prause
Biology Graduate Student

"Population Dynamic Trends of Alewives in Lake Michigan"

M. Bernot

Monday, 9 November, 2015

Dr. Melody Bernot
Ball State University

"Graduate Student Interests"


Monday, 16 November, 2015

Dr. Mark Clementz
University of Wyoming

“From River Horses to Sea Cows: Using Stable Isotope Analysis to Identify Semi-Aquatic Mammals in the Fossil Record”


Monday, 23 November, 2015

Brittany Cymes
Geological Sciences Graduate Student

"Phase Diversity and Chlorine-Sulfur Sequestration in Nickel-Phyllosilicates from New Caledonia: An Investigation Using Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)"


Monday, 30 November, 2015

Devinder Kaur
Environmental Science Ph.D. Candidate

“Addition of Hydroxyl Radicals on Arenes”


Monday, 7 December, 2015

Dr. George Stanley
University of Montana Paleontology Center

“Photosymbiosis and the Geologic Evolution of Reefs and Carbonates”

  Monday, 14 December, 2015

Speaker Pending.

Seminar Topic Pending.