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Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
September 7, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. — Jon Carnahan, chair of the Northern Illinois University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, has been elected president of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, based in Frederick, Md.
Carnahan, of Sycamore, will begin his duties as president-elect in January and will serve as president of the non-profit society beginning in 2009.
Spectroscopy is the use of radiation and light to study the composition and structure of matter. It is used in chemistry to identify substances through the spectrum emitted from or absorbed by them.
The Society for Applied Spectroscopy, with about 3,000 members worldwide, works to advance and disseminate knowledge and information concerning the art and science of spectroscopy and other allied sciences. It also publishes the journal, Applied Spectroscopy.
“One of my goals is to increase student membership,” Carnahan said. “We want to get students more involved in presenting their work and exchanging ideas at conferences. We also want to increase our outreach to students in both college and high school, in terms of providing teaching materials related to spectroscopy.”
Carnahan began his career at NIU in 1983, the same year he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. He held the title of director of graduate studies in chemistry and biochemistry for more than a decade before becoming department chair in 2006.
Carnahan also is a widely published scholar. His research team focuses on the development of new optical spectrometric methods of chemical analyses. The group’s research ranges from working with Pfizer Inc. developing methods to identify trace impurities in pharmaceutical drugs to working with NASA on ways to detect the presence or past presence of water on planets and other celestial bodies.