Water Chemistry Introductory Chemistry Seminar Kevin Tomasko
What Exactly is Water? • Water is an unusual compound with unique physical characteristics. • Water is the compound of life. • Water is the most abundant compound in Earth’s biosphere. • Water has a strong affinity for a large variety of substances, thus pure water is incredibly rare.
How does water apply to chemistry? The chemistry of water deals with the fundamental physical properties of water, which includes but is not limited to: • Autoionization of water • Reactivity of water • Electrolysis of water • Composition of water • Structure and bonding of water • Symmetry of water molecules • Structure of ice
What does a water chemist do? • Collect and analyze water samples. • Designing new analytical techniques. • Monitoring how water from a source changes with time. • Predicting the movement of polluted groundwater. • Using water trapped in minerals or in ice to determine past conditions. Water Chemists tend to work on interdisciplinary teams with other specialists, including biologists, geologists, hydrologists, meteorologists, ecologists, and toxicologists.
Places of employment. • Water, wastewater, and power utilities. • Commercial Laboratories, consulting firms. • Government agencies (EPA, U.S. Geological Survey) • Academic/ research institutions
Personal Characteristics. • Water chemists often express a personal interest in and a commitment to the environment that goes beyond their work. • Enjoys doing work that safeguards water quality and solves complex problems. • Practical people with good analytical skills.
Job Outlook • With a growing emphasis on the use of water chemistry to assess the overall health and history of water, career positions in water chemistry will continue to be in demand, and will most likely increase in number. • An increasing number of jobs in industry are opening up overseas in developing countries, i.e. Southeast Asia • Average starting salary as of 2004: • Bachelor’s Degree - $33,981 • Master’s Degree - $44,769 • Doctorate Degree - $63,547
Education requirements. • Academic preparation includes a strong background in the sciences, mathematics, and statistics. • Because the field is highly interdisciplinary, it is important to be well versed in a variety of disciplines, including microbiology, geology, aqueous geochemistry, geochemical kinetics, hydrogeology, and microbial ecology. • As always, laboratory experience is vital. • Computer skills are necessary in the field.
… a brief funny story… Aliso Viejo, California: After visiting an official-looking prankster website describing dihydrogen monoxide as an odorless, tasteless chemical that can be deadly if accidentally inhaled, city officials were scheduled to vote on a proposed law to ban foam containers from city-sponsored events because this “dangerous chemical” is used in Styrofoam's production. The measure was pulled from their agenda after the embarrassing realization that dihydrogen monoxide is none other than H2O.
Additional Information • Careers in Fresh Water Chemistry - http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_gx5224/is_2003/ai_n19143313 • ACS Water Chemistry - https://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/memberapp?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=1188&content_id=CTP_003404&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1 • University’s Council on Water Resourses - http://www.ucowr.siu.edu/Careers/CareersInWater.html • Chemjobs - http://pubs.acs.org/chemjobs/jobseeker/articles/job_water.html • ScienceJobs.com - http://www.sciencejobs.com/list/ViewJob-eur10158.html