A Conversation with Robert C. Fay
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Fay, Robert C.; Hoffmann, Roald (Interviewer)
Robert C. Fay, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, describes the development of his interest in chemistry, his undergraduate education at Oberlin College, and graduate studies in inorganic chemistry at the University of Illinois. He discusses coming to Cornell in 1962, his NMR research on the stereochemistry and molecular rearrangements of metal chelate compounds, and x-ray crystallographic studies of their structures. He also recounts his early teaching experiences, including teaching general chemistry, learning group theory and teaching our department’s first course in that subject, and developing an advanced inorganic chemistry laboratory course. For the past 25 years, Fay has been engaged with his colleague John McMurry in writing successful general chemistry textbooks. He discusses various aspects of textbook writing in some detail. On another subject, Fay is asked about his Christian faith and the relationship between science and religion. The interview, conducted on November 27, 2012 by Roald Hoffmann, Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus, concludes with Fay’s comments on why Cornell is such a wonderful place to teach and do research.
Internet-First University Press