AIChE - Indianapolis Section



American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Indianapolis Section

April 2003 Newsletter

Editor: Lia Treffman

April Meeting


When: On Tuesday, April 8 at 7:30 PM

Where: In the Reilly Room of Atherton Union at Butler University

Atherton Union is located on the campus of Butler University at approximately Clarendon and W. Hampton Ave. One way to get there would be to take 38th st. to Clarendon Ave (This is immediately east of Crownhill Cemetery). Take Clarendon north until Hampton Ave. Turning west on Hampton, Atherton will be on your right. Visitor parking is located immediately to the west of the Union

Speaker: Nobel Prize winner Roald Hoffmann will present the following during his visit to Butler as a speaker in the Butler University Visiting Science Writers

Chemistry, poised between the physical and biological universes, doesn't deal with the infinitely small or large. It is very much on the human scale, and from that derives its great interest and its problems. In this generously illustrated lecture several views of chemistry will be presented: First of all, chemistry is, as it has always been, the art, craft, business of substances and their transformations. It is now also the science of molecules, both simple and complex -- chemists always think simultaneously of macroscopic substances and microscopic molecules changing. One must also look at people's perception of chemistry, in terms of its benefits, yes, but also in terms of its risks. Indeed, there is no way that a human activity so closely tied to change can be viewed without passion by people. This deeply democratizing science is full of tensions, which will be explored in this lecture. As will the strong element of creation or synthesis in chemistry, which brings chemistry close to the arts.

In addition to being an accomplished chemist, Dr. Hoffmann is an author of several books, including a number of books of poetry, and he has written a play entitled Oxygen.

Those who desire to dine and talk beforehand are invited to join your Chairman from 5:30 pm to about 6:30 pm at the Hong Kong China Buffet, 1524 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis. Illinois runs one way north. A block after the Rich home furnishings sign at 1436 N.Illinois, park in the parking lot on the west side of the street, adjacent to the green Mansard roof which is the Hong Kong China buffet. Reserve with Alan Schmidt at (317) 233-5190,, if possible, to give some idea of attendance; just show up if it suddenly fits into your schedule.

2003 Meeting Schedule:

April 8, 2003: Joint meeting with ACS - Nobel Prize Winner talk

April 22, 2003: Bonus meeting opportunity with the local ACS - Ecstasy

May 2003: Election of Officers, Awards

Message from the Local Indianapolis AIChE President

We have the opportunity to hear a general talk on concepts of chemistry from a Nobel Prize winner on April 8. We will join the local American Chemical Society section for the presentation.

Nominations are being welcomed for Indianapolis Section of AIChE Chairman, Vice-chairman, and Secretary/Treasurer officers for our May 2003 meeting election. Please relay nominations to your current Chairman, Dr. Alan D. Schmidt, who will become past chairman. The normal succession is for the Vice-Chairman to become Chairman, the Secretary/Treasurer to become Vice-Chairman, and a new Treasurer/Secretary to volunteer, but it is an election.

We are taking nominations for Indianapolis Section of AIChE, chemical engineer of the year to be presented at our May 2003 meeting. Please submit nominations to our Secretary/Treasurer, Kevin Keating, or one of the other officers.

Our student chapter representative, Becky Smith, is entertaining chemical engineering college student entries for an Orville K. Rowe scholarship of $300 and $200. They will respond to the question, "What steps can be taken to decrease the possibility of terrorism at chemical or petroleum companies, deal with acts if they occur, and recover from terrorist acts?"

Dr. Alan D. Schmidt, Chairman, Indianapolis Section of the AIChE

What Some Missed

Joint meeting with the Purdue AIChE Student Chapter

Our AIChE student chapter advisor, Becky Smith, from Eli Lilly and Alan Schmidt arranged a joint meeting between our local section and chemical engineering students from Purdue University. We received $250 from AIChE National as a Project Connects Grant to promote student and local chapter interactions. The money was used to provide Subway sandwiches and soda to help encourage students and our local chapter members to come. The whole theme of the meeting was to share our job experiences with the students and give them time to ask questions. Attending members, Becky Smith, Tom Leas and Alan Schmidt talked about their chemical engineering background and current jobs. Alan also talked about AIChE activities, local sections, and the 2002 Annual AIChE Meeting in Indianapolis.

The student chapter representative, Kendra Schmitz, Vice President Purdue AIChE, was pleased to have the Indianapolis AIChE chapter on campus to speak about chemical engineering careers. About twenty-five students attended the meeting.

Dr. Alan D. Schmidt, Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management

Bonus meeting opportunity Tuesday, April 22 with the local American Chemical Society on Ecstasy, a chemical currently in the news

Speaker: Dr. Sprague

Title: The role of dopamine deamination and hyperthermia in the serotonergic neurotoxicity induced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, Ecstasy)

MDMA has rapidly become one of the most popular drugs of abuse. Ecstasy's popularity first began to appear at all-night dance parties known as "raves." The Monitoring the Future Study, conducted by the University of Michigan has shown that 11% of high school seniors and 7.3% of 10th graders have used Ecstasy. An even more staggering statistic is that 4.3% of 8th graders have experimented with Ecstasy. With this popularity, concerns over MDMA's neurotoxicity have grown. MDMA induces the acute release of dopamine (DA) and serotonin (5-HT) ultimately leading to 5-HT depletion and axon terminal destruction. Studies in my laboratory have examined the role of excessive DA deamination by monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) within the 5-HT terminal in the neurotoxic mechanisms induced by MDMA. Specifically, we hypothesize that excessive deamination of DA by MAO-B within the serotonergic nerve terminal would result in hydroxyl free-radical generation and consequently the selective destruction of the 5-HT terminal. Our laboratory has shown that pharmacologic inhibition of MAO-B with l-deprenyl or antisense oligonucleotides targeting MAO-B gene expression attenuate MDMA-induced serotonergic neurotoxicity and free-radical formation. Furthermore, the serotonergic neurotoxicity induced by MDMA is ostensibly linked to its hyperthermic response. This hyperthermic response regulates DA release and subsequently MDMA's overall neurotoxic effects. Results from studies testing these hypotheses will be presented and discussed.

INTERPRETATION, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood newletter editor: This means that people who use Ecstasy become chronically and untreatably depressed. Please join us for what I am sure will be a mind-blowing experience!

When: Dinner at 6 pm, Tuesday April 22

Where: University of Indianapolis Schwitzer Student Center--Trustees' Dining Room (1st floor Schwitzer Center, SW quadrant)

Directions: Take Shelby, Madison, Meridian or East Street (31) south to Hanna. Go east on Hanna past Shelby and go north on Otterbein. Park here and go north to the Smith Mall. The Student center is on the east side of the quad. Other parking lies off Shelby just north of Hanna.

Dr. Sprague's presentation will follow dinner in Schwitzer Center 010, $ 15 / person. There will be a student discount (please call). RSVP: Kathy Stickney by April 17, (317)788-3552 or

AIChE Executive Committee
Indianapolis Section, 2002-2003