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there is more of a spring in the step of Dr. Williams this year. It might
be due to the fact that retirement is within view, but it is more likely
due to the fact that he and Dr. Penrose of the History Department have
had such a good time teaching a new course, "The History and Use
of the Atomic Bomb." They have offered the course twice now and
students are responding very positively. It is offered in the college’s
Senior Seminar Program. Don has made two public presentations on the
topic in Holland.
Another reason for his renewed energy may be that Don had the Spring Semester off as a Sabbatical Leave. Don described the results as allowing his soul to catch up with his body! He completed a comprehensive article on Nuclear Waste for a new Macmillan Encyclopedia of Energy on which he had been working for a long time. He also conducted a workshop for high school science teachers in Detroit and, along with the American Nuclear Society, he conducted a workshop for future workshop leaders in Chicago. Don toured the nation’s prime site for the isolation of low-level radioactive waste in Barnwell, South Carolina and participated in a conference with radioactive waste generators in Michigan. He wrote two editorials on the subject that were published in several newspapers in the Midwest.
Again this year, Don coordinated the first-year chemistry course for science majors and he continued to experiment with changes in it. This year the program saw a second module introduced, one on air bags to teach stoichiometry and gas behavior in a more relevant way. It was only moderately successful, but that’s the nature of experimentation! Other improvements will be sought.
In what is becoming a strong tradition and an ever stronger program, Don coordinated the Hughes Foundation sponsored program for minority high school students. He works with Dr. Cronkite in the Biology Department on this. In the summer of ‘99 there were nine outstanding students and eleven this summer. The majority of them work with Chemistry research faculty and Don provides the vocational field trips for the students.
Don continues to review first-year chemistry textbooks for various publishers and he works with Ottawa County Environmental Appeals Board. He has submitted another article to Perspectives, a Reformed Church Journal. This one is on the controversy about evolution and creationism. And finally, Don works again this summer as the expert in Ethics in Science for our Physics REU program.
Well, whatever the cause of the renewed spring in his step, his enthusiasm was displayed in Ann Arbor at the 16th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education when he presented a paper on the "Imperative of Humor in the Chemistry Classroom!"