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Catherine Leimkuhler Grimes, professor of chemistry and
biochemistry at UD, co-directs the Chemistry-Biology Interface Program,
a graduate-level initiative funded by the National Institutes of Health
that applies chemistry to critical biological and biomedical problems.
“When I teach biochemistry, I often
challenge my students to think about the people who made the facts in
their textbooks possible,” said Catherine Leimkuhler Grimes, professor
of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Delaware.
“People. Real people made these facts possible, probably dedicating
much of their research careers to discover these things. However, as we
go through time, those facts can be added to and the plot can thicken
For a while, back in the Middle Ages, some people thought you could
turn any kind of metal into gold. They dreamed up many kinds of methods
and made wild claims, but they kept their work — which was called
“alchemy” — secret, as magicians do.
Real chemists share their ideas and questions, the precise processes
they use to test and/or measure things, what happens when they combine
this with that, how things change if you shake things up or just add
water. And they tell other chemists all about it. Sometimes those
chemists will say “you forgot about this” or “this didn’t happen when we
tried it” or “there is a fundamental problem with this part of your
experiment that invalidates your conclusion.”
Those debates and exchanges can be quite uncomfortable. But they help
to move science forward, as we’ve seen in this past year of pandemic.
Read the full story from the UD Research magazine.
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