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  • Faculty

  • Bhawani Venkataraman

    Associate Professor of Chemistry; Chair and Departmental Faculty Advisor for Natural Sciences and Mathematics

    Email
    venkatab@newschool.edu

    Office Location
    B - 65 West 11th Street

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    Bhawani Venkataraman

    Profile

    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 learning of chemistry: 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. My work has been published in chemical education research journals.  I have also developed curricular materials that connect chemical principles and concepts to an understanding of environmental issues such as water and air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, and climate change. In this work, the intent is to help students recognize the role of chemical research in understanding and addressing environmental and social challenges.

    Another area of my research is in understanding what constitutes effective communication of basic scientific research to non-scientists on issues such as water quality, air pollution and climate change. Toward this work, I have written articles that investigate the challenges in ensuring access to safe drinking water and raise awareness of the delicate balance of earth’s atmosphere that allows life to be sustained on earth. In collaboration with students, we developed a visual, interactive tool that uses a life-cycle assessment approach to compare the social, health, and environmental benefits and challenges of different energy sources. My book, Paradox of Water: Science and Policy of Safe Drinking Water (University of California Press, publication date January 2023) explores the intersection of the scientific, social, and policy implications around access to safe drinking water.


    Degrees Held

    Ph.D. in Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY, August 1989
    M. Phil, Columbia University, New York, NY, August 1988
    Master of Arts, Columbia University, New York, NY, May 1985
    Bachelor of Science, St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, India, May 1984


    Professional Affiliation

    American Chemical Society
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    New York Academy of Sciences


    Recent Publications

    Book: The Paradox of Water: Science and Policy of Safe Drinking Water. University of California Press (publication date January 2023).      

    "Water is a molecular marvel. Its seemingly simple formula – H2O –dictates the properties that make water essential for life and easily contaminated. Herein lies the paradox of water—we cannot live without it, but it is easily rendered “unsafe.” The Paradox of Water explores the intersection of the scientific, social, and policy implications around access to safe drinking water. Drinking water is the smallest fraction of water used by a nation, yet, access to safe drinking water supports educational opportunities, helps overcome gender inequities, lowers familial stress, and enables more socially and economically productive uses of time."

     

    Articles

    1) The Paradox of Water and the Flint Crisis, B. Venkataraman, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 60: 4-17 (2018)

    2) Emphasizing the Significance of Electrostatic Interactions in Chemical Bonding, B. Venkataraman, Journal of Chemical Education (2017) DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00409

    3) Visualizing Dispersion Interactions, E. Gottschalk, B. Venkataraman, Journal of Chemical Education, 91, 666-672 (2014)

    4) Access to Safe Water: A Paradox in Developed Nations, B. Venkataraman, Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 55, 24-34 (2013)

    5) 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)

    6) Earth’s Thin Blue Line, B. Venkataraman, Air, Ed. John Knechtel, Alphabet City, MIT Press, October 2010

    7) The Price of Clean Water, B. Venkataraman, Water, Ed. John Knechtel, Alphabet City, MIT Press, October 2009

    8) Education for Sustainable Development, B. Venkataraman, Environment, March/April 2009, p. 8-10

    9) 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)

    10) Why Environmental Education, B. Venkataraman, Environment, September/October 2008, p. 8-10

     

    Media

    Water, water everywhere and not enough drops to drink. The Round Table: A Next Generation Politics Podcast. December 2021. 

    Pollution and the Environment. Biobus Townhall, July 2020


    Research Interests

    Chemical education, environmental education, curriculum development and assessment, communication of science behind environmental issues, science and policies of air pollution, drinking water quality, climate change, and energy


    Awards And Honors

    Distinguished Teaching Award, The New School, 2019

    MetroCITI Fellow, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2015-2016

    Grants

    1) Arthur Vining Davis Periclean Faculty Leadership Grant in STEM and Social Sciences, 2022 

    2) 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 

    3) Assessment Tools for the Interdisciplinary Science Curriculum, B. Venkataraman, J. Wilson. Provost Innovation in Education Fund, January – June 2010 

    4) 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,


    Current Courses

    Chemistry of the Environment
    LSCI 2500, Fall 2022

    Collaborative Senior Pro
    LSCI 4995, Fall 2022

    Energy & Sustainability
    LSCI 2700, Fall 2022

    Ind Senior Work
    LSCI 4990, Fall 2022

    Independent Study
    LSCI 3950, Fall 2022

    Future Courses

    Chemistry of the Atmosphere
    LSCI 3031, Spring 2023

    Ind Senior Work
    LSCI 4990, Spring 2023

    Independent Study
    LSCI 3950, Spring 2023

    Reporting Climate Solutions
    LSCI 2355, Spring 2023

    Past Courses

    Ind Senior Work
    LSCI 4990, Spring 2022

    Independent Study
    LSCI 3950, Spring 2022

    Reporting Climate Solutions
    LSCI 2355, Spring 2022

    Water Quality Lab
    LSCI 3029, Spring 2022

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