Chemists in evening dress initiate a gala tradition – University of Copenhagen

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06 June 2013

Chemists in evening dress initiate a gala tradition

Black tie party

Attired in tuxedos and floor-length gala dresses, Department of Chemistry students and staff best resembled the glamorous cast of a yesteryear musical when they attended the first annual chemists’ gala in the venerable HC Ørsted lobby.

After a warm welcome by Department Head Mikael Bols, the nearly 150 guests began enjoying hors-d’oeuvres at their festively adorned tables. Here, they delighted in a scrumptious blend of smoked salmon, crème fraîche, lemon and herbs served over a bed of raw marinated asparagus, complimented with crunchy Danish rugbrød and fennel crudités.

For the main course, the gala attendees were able to select from a well provisioned buffet that featured:

  • Portion-sized gazpacho with herbs and parsley-crème
  • Tender, peppery, medium-rare veal rump roast
  • Juicy cockerel breast roasted with rosemary and lemon

  • Salt-baked Danish new potatoes garnished with chives
  • Red wine sauce & pesto romanesco
  • Pasta salad with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted pine nuts
  • Tomato, buffalo mozzarella and arugula w/vinaigrette
  • Romaine heart salad with aioli, Parmesan and lemon
  • Home baked bread and butter

For dessert, graduate student Marie Overballe synthesized the periodic table in cupcake form. Guests reported that they were quite delicious and without the slightest trace of heavy metals or radioactive elements.

Awards were delivered between the main course and dessert. Department Head Mikael Bols awarded the Department of Chemistry prizes to:

Research: Graphene as electrode for molecular electronics:

In 2012, the work of the Danish-Chinese Centre for Molecular Nano-Electronics succeeded in creating a new platform for measuring single layers of molecules between two electrodes. The work was published in Advanced Materials (impact factor 13) and featured on the journal’s cover. The results were also rewarded with a two-page article in the Danish Engineers Society journal, Ingeniøren. Subsequently, a further two articles based upon the results have been published.

Tao Li, Jonas Rahlf Hauptmann, Zhongming Wei, Søren Petersen, Nicolas Bovet, Tom Vosch, Jesper Nygård, Wenping Hu, Yunqi Liu, Thomas Bjørnholm, Kasper Nørgaard, and Bo W. Laursen, “Solution-Processed Ultrathin Chemically Derived Graphene Films as Soft Top Contacts for Solid-State Molecular Electronic Junctions”, Advanced Materials, 2012, 24, 1333–1339.

Bachelor: Rikke Munch Gelardi (Supervisor, Anders Hammershøi)

New nickel (II)(N3S3sar) complexes, synthesis and characterisation

The bachelorproject was awarded top marks 12 out of 12. 

The project deals with the synthesis and characterisation of two new Nickel complexes of sarcophogi-ligands with mixed Nitrogen-Sulphur donor set and an attempt to oxidize these to the first reported Nickel (III)-sarcophagus with Sulphur donors. The synthesis lead to the synthesis of these complexes and the report includes the characterisations and measurements of 12 new as well as known compounds.

Even the written project was deemed to be articulate and exceptionally composed. The official assessment further commended the great attention paid to the project’s introduction, which had the character of a review of the area, and the overall detailed and scientifically mature manner of argumentation.

A manuscript of the project’s results is in the process of being drafted and will soon be published.

Master’s Thesis: Kristian Baruel Ørnsø. (Supervisor, Solvejg Jørgensen)

Effects of Tunneling on Reaction Rates

Awarded a top mark of 12/12.

Kristian conducted a thorough, careful investigation of various tunnelling models. Kristian mastered the theory behind the models and was able to programme them in Matlab. Furthermore, he conducted a sensitivity test of which parameters were most important. The tunnelling models were used to determine the rate constants for the atmospheric decomposition of methacrolein – published in two articles in the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Kristian’s Matlab programmes are used by the entire Quantum, Spectroscopy & Dynamics group at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science. Kristian is currently a PhD student at the technical University of Denmark (DTU)..

Student awards

Awards were also presented by students, who as a whole made nominations in a number of categories. The selection process was simple. Whoever received the most nominations got the award.

Teacher of the Year

A tie, so awards went to both –

Matthew Johnson: Matthew manages to make his material exciting. And it is obvious that he burns for his material.


Solvejg Jørgensen

It has been said about Solveig that she is “a sugarcoated honey". She’s a great instructor and makes exceptional notes.

Technician of the Year

Marianne Wehmeyer: Most used words like “helpful” to describe Marianne. She has also been described as friendly, sweet as the day is long, awesome, hot, smiley, nice, effective, always on the ball, etc…

Fiery soul

Sigurd Christiansen: Sigurd’s contribution to the Teaching Committee and his work towards a new curriculum were highlighted. Additionally, Sigurd is highly engaged socially and always able to produce a good atmosphere among students. 

PhD or Lab Instructor of the Year

Kasper Mackeprang: “He rules”. Otherwise, Kasper has been praised for his ability to explain and make material more easily understood when instructing Math Intro and F2.

Head of Department Mikael Bols and studies introduction coordinator Jens Christian Navarro Poulsen wants to direct a huge thank you to the party planners who have contributed an enourmous amount of energy and devotion to making an unforgettable event of the gala night.

Thank you:

  • Kristin Munkerup
  • Anne Kathrine Ravnsborg Junker
  • Rikke Munch Gelardi
  • Radovan Spalevic
  • Zeina Maroun
  • Emilie Nyegaard Grothen
  • Rune Tage Kragsberger
  • Rasmus Mejborg Borup
  • Henriette Lissau
  • Mark Alexander Olsen
  • Jimmy Lindschouw

After the awards ceremony there was dancing, talking and general "hygge" til the light of morning broke through.