Venkataraman, Bhawani

bhawani venkatamaran

Bhawani Venkataraman
PhD, Chemistry, Columbia University;
MA, Columbia University;
MPhil, Columbia University;
BS, St. Xavier’s College, India
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Profile:
As a chemist and educator, I am interested in helping students appreciate the role of the chemical sciences in understanding environmental issues and addressing them through scientifically-based policies. A primary area of my research is in chemical education with a focus on undergraduate learning of chemistry. Another area of interest is investigating effective ways of communicating basic scientific research to non-science professionals and citizens on issues such as water quality, air pollution and climate change, and the potential risks and benefits of nanotechnology.
Courses Taught:
  • Chemistry of Life
  • Chemistry of the Environment
  • Chemistry & Light
  • Energy & Sustainability
  • Science and Environmental Policy
Recent Publications:
  • An Evaluation of the Chemical Origin of Life as a Context for Teaching Undergraduate Chemistry, B. Venkataraman, Chemical Education Research and Practice, 12, 379-387 (2011)
  • Earth’s Thin Blue Line, B. Venkataraman, Air, Ed. John Knechtel, Alphabet City, MIT Press, October 2010
  • The Price of Clean Water, B. Venkataraman, Water, Ed. John Knechtel, Alphabet City, MIT Press, October 2009
  • Education for Sustainable Development, B. Venkataraman, Environment, March/April 2009, p. 8-10
  • Visualization and interactivity in the teaching of chemistry to science and non-science students, B. Venkataraman, Chemical Education Research and Practice, 10, 62-69 (2009)
  • Why Environmental Education, B. Venkataraman, Environment, September/October 2008, p. 8-10 
Office Location:
Eugene Lang College, The New School for Liberal Arts
65 West 11th Street, Room 453
New York, NY  10011
Office Hours:
T, R 12:30-1:45
Phone Number/Extension:
212-229-5100 x2233

Email:
venkatab@newschool.edu

Research Interests:
Educated as a physical chemist, my research is in the field of chemical education and focuses on understanding how to engage students in understanding chemistry and the relevance of understanding phenomena at the molecular scale. Currently I am investigating two approaches in improving the communication of chemistry to undergraduate students: 1) the use of computer software visualization tools to assist students in “seeing” molecules and molecular interactions and in understanding how these microscopic constructs influence their macroscopic world; and 2) the use of contexts as a motivator and learning tool. I am also involved in developing curricular materials that connect fundamental chemical principles and concepts to an understanding of environmental issues such as water and air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, and climate change.

Another area of interest is to understand what constitutes effective communication of basic scientific research to non-science professionals in order to facilitate development of sound solutions and policies on issues such as water quality, air pollution and climate change, and the potential risks and benefits of nanotechnology. I am interested in understanding how the complex science behind these issues can be communicated to students and the public as a way of garnering support for public support for action on these issues.

For example, I am deeply interested around the challenging issue in ensuring access to clean, safe drinking water for all. On the one hand, in the US clean water is taken for granted, diminishing appreciation of its value and true cost, resulting in over consumption and thereby degrading the quality of water. In other parts of the world, the challenges are ensuring communities have access to a basic level of clean water and the need for designing systems and practices for appropriate, sustainable water infrastructure and technologies for rural and urban communities. Communicating the complex scientific, technological, and policy infrastructure necessary to ensure clean water is crucial for public understanding and support for addressing this global challenge be understood and accounted for in addressing the global challenge of access to clean water.
Professional Affiliations:
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • New York Academy of Science
  • National Science Teachers Association
Recent Presentations/Exhibits:
  • Visualization and interactivity in the learning of chemistry, Session: Practical Applications of Using Visualization Techniques in Chemical Education, Division of Chemical Education, American Chemical Society Meeting, Philadelphia, August 2012
  • Evaluation of the chemical origin of life as a context for teaching undergraduate chemistry, Session: Research in Chemical Education, American Chemical Society Meeting, Philadelphia, August 2012
  • Connecting Science with Society: The Challenges of Developing an Undergraduate Program in Interdisciplinary Science, K. Chamany, D. Morgan, B. Venkataraman, Engaged STEM Learning: From Promising to Pervasive Practices, AACU/PKAL Conference, March 2011
  • Creating a Common Assessment for an Interdisciplinary Science Program, D. Morgan, B. Venkataraman, J. Wilson, Engaged STEM Learning: From Promising to Pervasive Practices, AACU/PKAL Conference, March 2011
Awards and Honors:
  • Implementation and Continued Development of Assessment Tools for the Interdisciplinary Science Curriculum, B. Venkataraman, J. Wilson. Provost Innovation in Education Fund, June 2010 – May 2011, $5,350
  • Assessment Tools for the Interdisciplinary Science Curriculum, B. Venkataraman, J. Wilson. Provost Innovation in Education Fund, January – June 2010, $9,850
  • Adapting Active-Learning Methods for a Chemistry Curriculum at Eugene Lang College, B. Venkataraman, National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement, September 2005 – August 2009, $82,000  



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