Angelo State University’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry will co-sponsor a special guest lecture by Dr. Mary Virginia Orna, professor of chemistry at the College of New Rochelle in New York, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, in the Cavness Science Building, 2460 Dena Drive.

Courtesy ASU

Orna’s presentation, “Found and Lost: Incredible Tales of Spurious, Erroneous and Rehabilitated Elements,” will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 200 of the Cavness Building and is open free to the public.

Attendees will be treated to fascinating tales of failed candidates that never made it into the Periodic Table of Elements. Before Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev published his Periodic Table in 1869, confusion regarding just what and how many elements existed reigned supreme. That continued well into the 20th century due to conceptual, absurd and even ridiculous errors. Some of these wrong turns were the results of experimental errors, whereas others arose from incompetence, scientific fraud, unorthodox beliefs, misplaced nationalism and even just plain obstinacy. These tales of folly, human ambition and ingenuity will give the audience a unique understanding of how chemistry really works.

Also a Sister in the Order of Saint Ursula, Orna is former director of educational services at the Chemical Heritage Foundation and former publications coordinator of the Journal of Chemical Education. She received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Fordham University and has lectured and published widely in the areas of color chemistry and archaeological chemistry.

Orna’s ASU presentation is in conjunction with the monthly meeting of the Permian Basin Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS). She will give a second lecture, titled “The Chemist as Detective in Examining Art and Artifacts,” on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 5:30 p.m. at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. That lecture is also open free to the public.

For more information, contact Dr. Kathryn Louie with the Permian Basin Section of ACS at 325-947-1369.