François G. Amar

Professor of Chemistry & Dean of the Honors College

B.A. (summa cum laude) 1975, Chemistry , Temple University
M.S. 1977 & Ph.D. 1979,
Chemistry, University of Chicago

Selected recent  publications:

Structure, dynamic and energetic of mixed transition metal clusters: A computational study of mixed clusters of silver and nickel, J.W. Hewage, W.L. Rupika, and F.G. Amar, The European Physical Journal D 66, 282 (2012).

Whispering Gallery Mode Emission Generated in Tunable Quantum Dot Doped Glycerol/Water and Ionic Liquid/Water Microdroplets Formed on a Superhydrophobic Coating, E. Nuhiji, F.G. Amar, H. Wang,  N. Byrne, T-L Nguyen, and T. Lin, Journal of Materials Chemistry 21 (29), 10823-10828 (2011).

Composition of Tungsten Oxide Bronzes Active for Hydrodeoxygenation, T.J. Thibodeau, A.S. Canney, W.J. DeSisto, M.C. Wheeler, F.G. Amar, B.G. Frederick, Appl. Catal. A: General (2010), 388, 86-95.

Mechanism of Hydrodeoxygenation of Acrolein on a Cluster Model of MoO3, Daniel R. Moberg, Timothy J. Thibodeau, François G. Amar, and Brian G. Frederick, J. Phys. Chem. C 114, 13782-13795, (2010). ACS link to the cited article may be found here.]

Challenges and Rewards of Offering Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) in A Large General Chemistry Course, Barbara Stewart, François G. Amar and Mitchell R. M. Bruce, Australian Journal of Education in Chemistry 67, 31 (2007).

InterChemNet: An Integrated Instrumentation and Web-based Course Management System for the General Chemistry Laboratory,  Barbara Stewart, Robert Kirk, David Labrecque,  François G. Amar, Mitchell R. M. Bruce, J. Chem. Ed, 83(3), 494 (2006).

Simulating the photoelectron spectra of rare-gas clusters, François G. Amar, James Smaby, and Thomas J. Preston,  J. Chem. Phys. 122(24), 244717, (2005).

Why I teach in Honors:

It is the search for commonalities across disciplines that has driven my continued interest in teaching in Honors.

The history of ideas is the central subject we study in Honors. As a chemist, I have been especially interested in exploring the early modern period in which science and philosophy emerged from their common ancestor, natural philosophy. One could argue that the economic and environmental crises we face now are consequences of continuing to use models of economics, science, and politics that were developed in the 18th century. These models began to relieve man’s estate, to paraphrase Bacon, in a time when the earth seemed to be an inexhaustible resource. We now begin to see the how an ethic of continuous growth–of economic production, of consumption, of population–can lead to crisis and catastrophe. Only by studying these models and their interactions can our students hope to understand their limits and inconsistencies in order to develop the new models that can take their place.

We are beginning to see this kind of approach being taken in the research enterprise: UM research centers are addressing important societal problems from a multi-disciplinary perspective, bringing together scientists, engineers, economists, ethicists, and business people. The Honors College and in particular its Core sequence is a place where the connections between very different disciplines can be exposed and explored by undergraduates starting in their first year at university. The solutions and answers to the important problems and questions that occur at the boundaries between disciplines will only be found by working in an interdisciplinary way. It is my hope that as a teacher in Honors, I can contribute to the process by which Honors students incorporate these interdisciplinary elements into their own work.

Recent Honors lectures:

Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks (Hon 112)
Sidereus Nuncius (The Sidereal Messenger), Galileo Galilei (Hon 211)