Woody Internship at the Phillips Collection: Week 6 In Review

Art Institute of Chicago 54th Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture

54th Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago, 1943

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Digging through the Archives

Two weeks ago, I went up to Boston to look around the archives at Harvard’s Houghton Library. We arrived on a Monday night, and I read from Tuesday to Thursday. And I do mean from Tuesday to Thursday. Those three mornings, at around 9:45 AM, I checked in at Houghton. After lockering everything except my laptop, phone, and chargers, I was buzzed into the “Reading Room” where I sat and read until 5 in the evening.

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Beginning of Week 4: A Change of Catalyst

Since starting my research, I have found out quite a bit about my original complex.  The cobalt version of my complex doesn’t seem to form when a complexation reaction is performed with the ligand and cobalt precursor.  However, in order to verify that the ligand that I synthesized was, in fact, my desired product, I was advised to perform a metallation with iron and run electrochemical tests.  This would allow me to compare it with a previous person’s research of the same complex.  If the results were similar, then I could confidently say that I had the correct ligand.  So, I performed the metallation, and ran the electrochemical tests, received some interesting results.  The electrochemical technique I used is called cyclic voltammetry.  It is effective in observing if a complex can reduce hydrogen efficiently.  A potential is introduced to a solution containing the catalyst.  In this experiment, the potential is brought from a positive to a negative potential, and then back again.  I am then able to  observe the change in current as the potential is varied.  While performing an acid addition experiment, I anticipated seeing a redox couple (observed by two peaks nearly at the equialent potential, reduction on the potential being brought out negative and the oxidation on being brought back positive) and a catalytic peak.  Where I expected to see one catalytic peak, I saw many peaks.  It is possible that this was observed because the test was carried to a more negative potential than needed.  My professor proposed running my experiment to a less negative potential so that we could see the one reduction needed to ensure accurate results. So, I ran it in a relatively small potential range, and observed on my plot that there was in fact one catalytic peak in this range, and a redox couple.  Since the catalytic peak is at such a cathodic potential, it seems that the complex is extremely efficient.  However, in order to make sure that the peak does, in fact, correspond to a reduction event, I will run photochemical experiments of my complex in order to fully observe it (hopefully) generating hydrogen in a system that should allow it to do so.

Woody Internship at the Getty: Week 3

Last week was another whirlwind, but I have to say that I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of this whole internship thing. At the very least, I’m able to navigate from one part of the Getty to another without getting completely lost, so that’s a good sign.

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Summer Research 2015: First Update!


The first few weeks of research have gone by fairly quickly, but I’m happy to report great progress! Since I work full time, I have been assigned several projects that I work on throughout the week, let me quickly go over them.

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