Study Abroad: Chemistry & Global Issues

Many students pursuing STEM or health-related careers find it challenging to engage in study abroad experiences. This is due, in part, to the rigid class schedules often associated with the STEM curriculum. In 2014 the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry recognized this challenge and responded in a unique fashion. CH418 is a Chemistry and Global issues course and is open to any student who has completed at least 4 credit hours in chemistry at the 300-level or above. The course focuses on a relevant and exciting global issue (sustainability, food, natural products, warfare, conservation) and incorporates a required short-term study abroad experience. We cover content during the semester and research, discuss, and read about the issue being studied using chemistry as a lens. When we travel, we visit sites that are specific to the theme that allow us to engage with people. Below are a list of past courses offered along with potential upcoming themes and study abroad destinations (subject to change). Where will Chemistry take you while you are at Butler?

The class  traveled during spring break and experienced art and science in Amsterdam and Paris. They visited museums, explored street art, and spoke to artists and scientists.

The class visited the coast and traveled through a rainforest, volcanic region, and visited sites such as sea turtle conservatories and chocolate plantations. The course involved active exploration of these natural environments by hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and canopy tours.

The chemistry of food course is back! Class content was similar to the 2016 implementation, but the course had a renewed focus on molecular gastronomy. The class traveled to Spain to interact with chefs and food scientists who are on the cutting edge of molecular and chemical gastronomy.

Global Issues course focused on fermentation. We discussed the chemical and biochemical processes of fermentation and learned ways to monitor the progress of fermentation. We did some hands-on activities making our own pickles and sauerkraut as well. In Germany we visited Ettal Abbey and learned how brewing technology has changed during their 500+ years of operation. In Paris, we engaged in a cooking class and discussed how food impacts culture and national identity.

During this implementation of CH418, we discussed the organic and analytical aspects of color, pigment, binders, and dyes. We learned about the wide array of analytical instrumentation used to study priceless art. When in Germany we visited one-of-a-kind sites including the Rathgen Conservation labs in Berlin (the first ever conservation science facility) and Kremer Pigmente color mill outside of Munich.

In this class, we discussed the various reactions involved with food production and preparation. We made chocolate and other foods in class.  While in Italy, we toured cheese and salami production facilities in the north and engaged in a cooking class in Rome.

In this course, we discussed renewable and non-renewable energy sources, solar and battery technology, and focused on how energy-related activity affects the environment. In Germany, we visited solar communities, discussed sustainable living with experts, toured a chemical plant designed to minimize its impact on the environment. In Switzerland we toured a hydroelectric dam (like inside the dam).