Carnegie Mellon Chemistry Professor Wins Carnegie Science Center Education Award-Mellon College of Science - Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, February 9, 2004

Carnegie Mellon Chemistry Professor Wins Carnegie Science Center Education Award

On February 4, the Carnegie Science Center announced that David Yaron, associate professor of chemistry, has received a 2004 Award for Excellence as University/Post-Secondary Teacher. The Awards for Excellence will be presented at a banquet on April 21. The University/Post-Secondary Teacher Award recognizes educators for their innovative approaches that inspire students to understand, appreciate and apply science.

“A rare combination of excellent research, phenomenal teaching and innovative educational software development makes Dr. Yaron an inspiration for faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon University,” stated a press release issued by the Carnegie Science Center.

In addition to computational chemistry research in electronic structure theory of large systems, Yaron leads a research group that focuses on developing software to make introductory-level chemistry courses more exciting and conceptually rich. The Virtual Chemistry Laboratory, perhaps the most distinctive of the group’s software, provides a flexible simulation of aqueous chemistry so that students can interact safely with chemicals in an exploratory setting as a complement to hands-on laboratory experience. Students can design their own online experiments with hundreds of chemicals and can approach problems much more like real chemists. More than 8000 students at Carnegie Mellon and at a growing number of universities have used this software and related online activities over the last three years. The Virtual Lab was selected in 2003 by the Multimedia Educational Resource for Teaching and Online Learning (MERLOT) as both Editor’s Choice for exemplary software across disciplines and as a MERLOT Classic for chemistry.

Yaron also has been instrumental in curriculum development at Carnegie Mellon. He redesigned introductory chemistry courses and developed new courses in mathematical methods for chemists and computational chemistry. As part of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) project, Yaron currently is developing a collection of online activities for college and high school chemistry students that include virtual labs and problems organized around real-world scenarios in areas such as forensic chemistry, biological and medicinal chemistry, environmental chemistry, and space exploration and colonization.

In 2002, Yaron received a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for his accomplishments in research, teaching and mentorship, particularly with undergraduates, and the Julius Ashkin Award, which is presented for excellence in undergraduate teaching by the Mellon College of Science.