Education, Positions, Awards:
B.S., 1969, State University of New York at Buffalo
Ph.D., 1972, Indiana University
NSF Predoctoral Fellow, Indiana University, 1968-1969
NASA Predoctoral Fellow, Indiana University, 1969-1972
Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1972-1975
Visiting Professor, Biochemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Summers, 1975-1977
Chemistry Faculty, Department of Natural Sciences, Stephens College, Columbia, MO, 1975-1977
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 1977-1981
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 1982-1989
Associate Professor, Department of Education, Purdue University, 1983-1989
Lecturer, Xi'an Jiaotung University, November, 1985
Monroe Moosnick Distinguished Professor, Transylvania University, Lexington, KY, May, 1989
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Purdue University, 1989-present
Frank D. Martin Teaching Award, Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 1979-1980
Sigma Delta Chi "Best of Purdue's Great Teachers Award", Purdue University, 1980-1981
AMOCO Foundation Outstanding Teacher Award, Purdue University, 1980-1981
Purdue Alumni Foundation "Helping Students Learn Award", 1981-1982
Outstanding Teacher in the School of Science Award, Purdue University, 1982-1983
Frank D. Martin Teaching Award, Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, 1985-1986
Chemical Manufacturers Association Catalyst Award in Chemical Education, 1989
Alpha Lambda Delta "Best Freshman Professor" Award, 1989-90 (First recipient of this award at Purdue University)
After a mediocre career as an undergraduate (B.S., 1969) he entered graduate school at Indiana University (Ph.D., 1972), undoubtedly on the basis of letters of recommendation. He apparently did well enough in graduate school as a double major in inorganic and organic chemistry to gain an appointment as a visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois (1972-75). His research interests at that time focused on the application of C-13 NMR spectroscopy to studies of the structure and bonding in organometallic complexes.
While at Illinois he made the mistake of professing total ignorance of biochemistry to one of his colleagues in that area. After a semester of intense study to relieve this obvious deficiency, he was asked to fill an appointment as a visiting professor in biochemistry for the summer of 1974. Having survived that, he was actually invited back for the summers of 1975 and 1976.
Two things became self-evident during his tenure at Illinois. He found that teaching was fun and he realized that his research could best be described as searching for definitive answers to questions that no one ever asked. When the time came to leave Illinois, he therefore took a job as two-thirds of the chemistry faculty at Stephens College - a women's college in Columbia, MO - where he lasted for two years (1975-1977), teaching general, organic, inorganic, and biochemistry.
In 1977, an opening in Chemical Education was advertised at Purdue University. He applied for the position and, much to their later chagrin, the faculty at that institution offered him the job. (They have since compounded their error by promoting him first to associate professor and then professor of chemistry and education.) He is the author of more than 80 papers and 30 books or laboratory manuals. He has been known to claim in public that his primary interest is in epistemology. His interests also include the development of materials to assist undergraduate instruction, research on how students learn, and the history and philosophy of science.