While Professor of Chemistry Walter Bowyer spends the entire academic year conducting, explaining and writing about chemistry experiments, it’s unlikely that delicious sugary candies are the medium on which he’s experimenting. Last fall, however, Bowyer was the main source for a children’s article that did just that.
“Candy Secrets,” written by Loralee Leavitt, appeared in the October 2010 issue of Highlights for Children magazine and was a selection of experiments on candy. The article recently received the “2011 Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing,” by the Association for Educational Publishers, in the category of How-To-Feature for K-5.
“He spoke with me in a phone interview for over an hour making sure I correctly understood the chromatography and the rest of the chemistry,” wrote Leavitt in an e-mail. She notes Bowyer has continued to answer questions on many topics, so he’s an ongoing source for her blog, www.candyexperiments.com.
Leavitt is currently working on a book of candy experiments to be published by Andrews McMeel next summer, and expects Bowyer’s input on the chemistry involve in the experiments to be useful in that endeavor as well.
Having joined the faculty in 1998, Bowyer was recently given a three-year National Science Foundation Grant as part of the Research in Undergraduate Institutions program. The nearly $200,000 grant will fund his “green” chemistry research, providing equipment, supplies, and a summer stipend for three students. He earned his B.S. in ecology from Johnson State College, his M.S. in biology from the University of Virginia, his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Vermont.