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George Bodner is the Arthur E. Kelly Distinguished Professor of
Chemistry, Education, and Engineering at Purdue University. He began
his academic career as a history/philosophy major at the institution
now known as the University at Buffalo. He found, much to his
amazement, that chemistry was fun, and changed his major under the
mistaken impression that jobs were easier to find as a chemist. After
a mediocre career as an undergraduate (B. S., 1969), he entered
graduate school at Indiana University (Ph.D., 1972) where he
apparently did well enough as a double major in inorganic and organic
chemistry to gain an appointment as a visiting assistant professor at
the University of Illinois (1972-1975). 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 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 where he
lasted for two years (1975-1977), teaching general, organic,
inorganic, and biochemistry. He moved to Purdue University in 1977 to
take a position in something known as "chemical education." He is the
author of more than 120 papers and 48 books or laboratory manuals.
His interests include the development of materials to assist
undergraduate instruction, research on how students learn, and the
history and philosophy of science. Several years ago, he was selected
to receive the Nyholm Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the
Pimentel Award in Chemical Education from the American Chemical
Society, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, the
University at Buffalo.
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