Thomas H. Crawford

Professor, Inorganic Chemistry: Chemistry Education


After an absence from chemical research for two decades while serving in the administration of the University, I have taken up again my responsibilities in the department of chemistry. During the years of this administrative odyssey I continued to teach an introductory course in chemistry for non-majors and in recent years have begun to look at some alternative methods of classroom presentations. In particular, I am interested in using a "discovery" approach through small group, collaborative efforts. This poses some interesting challenges in a class of 200 to 300 students. First attempts at this approach have been sufficiently well received by the students, that I will continue the model.

My past research interests focused on the syntheses and characterization of transition metal complexes and adducts formed between antimony trichloride and selected organic substrates. A number of such adducts have been reported and their structures determined. We have prepared seventeen such adducts, but the structures of only four of them have been reported. While there are in the literature interpretation of the bonding between antimony and the organic substrates, we hope to provide more insight into the nature of this bond by carrying out structural analyses of the remaining adducts. We also are interested in the mechanism of antimony trichloride in its role as a catalyst in the cis-trans isomerization of certain olefins.