French fellowship promising for doctoral grad and wine enthusiast spouse
Published on UWindsor Daily News: Jan 21, 2011
Last Modified: Tue, 01/25/2011 - 9:09am
Aaron Rossini is thrilled to be heading to southern France to continue his research in chemistry, but thinks his new wife might be even more excited by the prospect.~
Dr. Rossini, who successfully defended his PhD in September, recently learned that he was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship which will begin next month at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Lyon, France under the direction of professor Lyndon Emsley.
The fact that the facility—described by his academic supervisor Rob Schurko as one of the best in the world—is located within several hours’ drive from the globally-renowned Bordeaux wine region wasn’t lost on his new bride Erin, a UWindsor chemistry master’s graduate who recently completed a certificate program in viticulture and enology at Brock University.
“She’s pretty pumped,” Rossini said with a grin. “She’s hoping she might get some experience with some really good French wineries.”
A local native who graduated from St. Anne’s High School in Tecumseh, Rossini studies the chemical process of how certain molecules and compounds behave as catalysts in the production of polyolefin, a polymer that’s used in the production of plastic products such as shrink wrap and plastic bottles. He uses nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to help define the many characteristics of those molecules.
The technology used to make polymers has been around a long time, but much of the work is done by trial and error, he said.
“There’s still a lot of basic chemical understanding that is lacking,” he said. “If we can get a good snapshot of the molecular structure of these catalysts, then we can reduce a lot of the trial and error in their design and application, optimize the process and make them much more efficient.”
Throughout his career at UWindsor, Rossini has worked on the 400 megahertz NMR spectrometer in Dr. Schurko’s Essex Hall lab, but also travelled regularly to Ottawa where he used the dedicated solid-state 900 megahertz spectrometer at the National Ultrahigh-field NMR Facility for Solids. The machine he’ll be conducting his research on in France is rated at 1,000 megahertz and worth an estimated $16 million, Schurko said.
“This is one of the best research environments France has to offer,” said Schurko, who spent part of his sabbatical there in 2007. “It’s just phenomenal. This is just a huge opportunity for him.”
Rossini and his wife depart for France on January 25.
— Stephen Fields
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