Academic Program at Centre College
Jeffrey Fieberg joined the faculty at Centre College in 2005, was promoted to associate professor of chemistry in 2008, was promoted to full professor in 2017, and was named the John H. Walkup Professor of Chemistry in 2017. Prior to joining Centre’s faculty in 2005, he taught at Hillsdale College (1998–2001) and Georgetown College (2001–2005), where he won the John Walker Manning Distinguished Mentor and Teacher Award in 2003.
Raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, Fieberg graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in chemical physics from Centre College. He received his M.S. in chemistry from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Texas. His Ph.D. research focused on the photochemistry of molecules adsorbed on metal surfaces. Fieberg has been published in such journals as Chemical Physics Letters, the Journal of Chemical Physics, Surface Science, the Journal of Physical Chemistry, the Journal of the Chemical Society, Faraday Transactions, the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, the Journal of Chemical Education and Applied Spectroscopy.
Fieberg’s current research interests are in technical art historical investigations of modernist paintings and analysis of artists’ materials. In 2011-2012, he participated as the first Sabbatical Leave Research Fellow in Technical Art History at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). Working in the Conservation Science Laboratory directed by Gregory Smith ’95, Ph.D., technical analyses of paintings from the IMA’s European collection were performed using x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, Raman microspectroscopy, and infrared microspectroscopy. The paintings analyzed included Mysterious Departure by Giorgio de Chirico, Jupiter with Thunderbolt, attributed to a follower of Jacob Jordaens, and the Cincinnati Art Museum’s Undergrowth with Two Figures by Vincent van Gogh (http://journals.sagepub.com/toc/aspc/71/5). Fieberg is currently (spring 2019) on sabbatical at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, where he continues to analyze paintings from their Modern European collection.
Fieberg frequently teaches General Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy, Thermodynamics and Kinetics, and Natural Science. Fieberg is an energetic teacher. In his introductory classes, he performs demonstrations almost daily in class. Fieberg has received several awards, including the Kirk Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007), the C. Eric Mount Jr. Student Appreciation Award (2007), the Outstanding Professor Award from Greek Life (2008 and 2009), and the David Hughes Award for Excellence in Teaching and Service (2010). He was named a Centre Scholar for 2008-2010 and for 2014-2016. He was selected co-Most Dramatic Professor in Kentucky by Kentucky Monthly in 2010.
Fieberg is a staunch advocate of the transformational experiences gained by studying abroad. As a Centre student, Fieberg studied art, architecture and music in Paris, Florence, Munich, and Amsterdam. Fieberg has led both semester programs and short-term travel courses in Europe. Fieberg co-directed the Centre-in-London program in 2010 where he taught Chemistry in Art and British Scientists: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. Fieberg directed the Centre-in-Strasbourg program for the 2013-14 and the 2017-2018 academic years where he taught France-Germany Wars and Molecular Modernism: Manet to Marc, which included visits to museums in France, Germany and Switzerland. For the January CentreTerms 2013 and 2017, he taught Molecular Modernism: Manet to Matisse as a three-week travel course in Paris and Southern France. He will accompany Dr. Joe Workman’s and Dr. Kerry Paumi’s course on the Physical Science of Volcanoes for CentreTerm 2020 in New Zealand.
Fieberg’s signature class, Molecular Modernism, is a truly interdisciplinary mix of science and art. In addition to teaching Molecular Modernism in France, he has taught Molecular Modernism: Monet to Mondrian as a first-year studies course with field trips to museums and art conservation labs in Washington D.C., Indianapolis and Chicago. In addition, Fieberg offers Chemical Analysis of Modernist Paintings as an upper-level elective for chemistry majors and minors. Fieberg and his students also have collaborated with religion professors, Dr. Beth Glazier and Dr. Tom McCollough, to work with ancient lead amulets to date, electrolytically reduce, and unroll them. Current projects include a forgery investigation of an early 20th century painting and collaboration with a student to refabricate ancient glass colors.
Fieberg is highly active on campus; he has chaired the Chemistry Program, Natural Science Program, and the Committee on Tenure and Reappointment. He serves as the faculty advisor for the social fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and as a faculty liaison for the Centre softball team. Fieberg is active within the Centre College Phi Beta Kappa chapter, as he frequently serves on the Members-in-Course subcommittee. Fieberg is heavily invested in community outreach as he frequently performs chemistry demonstration shows at local schools with Centre students.
File last updated: 3/13/19
EXPERT: Technical Art Historical Analysis of Paintings and the Scientific Analysis of Artists’ Materials
Focuses on technical art historical and/or forgery analyses of paintings, including the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists, through the use of portable x-ray fluorescence (p-XRF) spectroscopy, reflectance spectroscopy, and infrared reflectography/transmittography.
Kristen Fulfer is an assistant professor of chemistry. She joined Centre’s faculty in 2017.
Fulfer’s research interests include exploring the species which exist in solutions using a combination of infrared spectroscopy and computations. Solutions are held together by networks of intermolecular forces. Though these are often thought of as transient interactions, solutions with strong interactions have a tendency to order into pseudo-stable structures. With infrared spectroscopy, these structures can be probed along with their environments using the vibrational motions of involved functional groups. She and her students also perform structural computations to investigate how various ordered species will impact the vibrational motion being used as a probe. Combining these two data sets gives the ability to elucidate what these ordered species might be. Currently, her group is exploring non-lithium ion battery electrolytes, which contain magnesium or zinc ions in organic solvents. The species likely to exist in these electrolytes include solvated ions, ion pairs, or ion aggregates. Magnesium and zinc ions are of particular interesting because they can provide insight into what properties have the most influence on solvation structures. Since these two ions have identical charge and ionic radii, the differences which arise must be from their electronic configurations.
They are also currently investigating the effects of salinity on hydrogen-bond interactions between water and small organic molecules. The effect of salinity on aqueous biochemical solutions is commonly called the Hoffmeister effect. However, most molecular scale studies of what happens to cause the observed trends in protein folding and unfolding have either looked from the perspective of water or that of large polymers and proteins. They are attempting to approach this puzzle from the perspective of something in between by looking at effects on intermolecular forces as probed by the vibrational motions of small organic solutes.
Before coming to Centre, Fulfer earned a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics from Texas State University and then continued on to study for her Ph.D. in chemistry at Louisiana State University. Her Ph.D. work focused on using electronic spectroscopy to explore electron rescattering phenomena occurring during photoionization and photorecombination processes under the guidance of Erwin Poliakoff. Fulfer continued on as a postdoctoral fellow at Louisiana State University in the lab of Daniel Kuroda, where she used infrared spectroscopy to study the structure and dynamics of carbonate-based lithium-ion battery electrolytes.
File last updated: 03/27/19
EXPERT: Spectroscopy and Intermolecular Interactions
Exploring the species that exist in solutions using a combination of infrared spectroscopy and computations
Jim Kelly is an associate professor of physics who joined Centre’s faculty in 2008. Before coming to Centre, he taught mathematics and physics at Bellevue College in Washington and mathematics at the University of Washington. He was a staff scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, and he was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Phenomenology.
Kelly’s academic interests include radar signal and image processing, nonlinear dynamics and fractal geometry, mathematical physics and particle physics. His articles have been published in Physical Review, Physics Letters, and Inverse Problems.
He graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a B.S. in physics. He then earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Davis and later an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Washington.
File last updated: 8/27/15
Philip Lockett is professor of physics at Centre College. He has taught full-time at Centre since 1990 and had prior teaching assignments at the college from 1971-72 and 1980-84. In 2005 he received the Kirk Award for teaching excellence.
Dr. Lockett performs research in the field of astrophysics. He theoretically models astrophysical masers. These are intense beams of radio waves that are the radio frequency analog of lasers. Astrophysical masers are produced in a number of different astrophysical environments, such as star-forming regions, circumstellar envelopes of dying red giant stars, and supernova remnants. Successful modeling of the masers allows the physical conditions in these regions to be discovered. His research has involved Centre students.
He has received grants from the Kentucky Space Grant Consortium and Kentucky EPSCoR to purchase computer hardware and software essential for the conduct of his research. He has presented the results of his research at meetings of the American Astronomical Society and the Kentucky Association of Physics Teachers. He has published the results of his maser research in the Astrophysical Journal.
He received his B.A. in physics from Centre College, an M.S.E. degree in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Kentucky. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
To read about Dr. Lockett’s published work, click here.
File last updated: 5/1/13
Jason Neiser is an associate professor of physics, and was named a Centre Scholar in 2014. He joined the Centre faculty in 2006.
Neiser’s current research interests involve the design and construction of fiber lasers that are capable of producing pulses with a duration on the order of femtoseconds. Being built entirely from fiber, these lasers are typically more compact, more robust, and less expensive than alternative systems, while still delivering excellent beam quality and efficiency.
Neiser graduated summa cum laude from Centre College with degrees in physics and mathematics and earned a Ph.D. from The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester.
To read about Neiser’s 2010 summer optics research in New York, click here.
File last updated: 5/2/13