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.