Department of Chemistry and Physics
Chris Magri is an astronomer whose research involves radar studies of asteroids. He uses the world's most powerful radar facility, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, to transmit million-watt microwave beams at asteroids and then measure the faint echoes. These data are used to determine the target's orbit, size, shape, rotation state, surface topography, and material composition. Recently he and his collaborators around the country have also begun studying the thermal properties of asteroids, using an infrared telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii to measure emitted heat radiation. Computer analysis of these emissions can reveal whether an asteroid's surface is loose material or else solid bedrock. At UMF Dr. Magri teaches introductory physics and astronomy, typically as general education courses for nonscientists; he also offers first-year seminars, most recently on the topic of astrobiology, the search for life beyond Earth.
In the laboratory, we are currently working on the trace voltammetric speciation of arsenic in the groundwater of the Farmington area, hoping to study/understand any seasonal variations.
Dr. Mariella Passarelli was trained as a synthetic organic chemist designing candidates, developing synthetic methods, and making promising molecules for use in the pharmaceutical industry. After her doctorate, Passarelli did postdoctoral work in toxicology where her synthetic skills were used to adduct DNA with carcinogens. This work catapulted Passarelli into the realm of biochemistry and now she uses enzymatic methods in synthetic work alongside organic chemistry methods. Her teaching responsibilities include both organic chemistry and biochemistry courses. Because she teaches science majors and non-majors, Passarelli has also contributed new ideas to the teaching of science. Her courses blend content, learning/teaching methodologies, and student research.
Michael J. Sherrod received his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Emory University in 1989. His graduate research explored intramolecular catalysis, host-guest binding, and surfactant packing. He performed postdoctoral research in organic chemistry in Cambridge, England. He is the author or coauthor of 16 scientific publications. He has taught undergraduate and graduate level chemistry courses at Vanderbilt University, the University of New Hampshire and at UMF. He teaches an online course in Environmental Science for the University of Phoenix. Aside from academia, Sherrod has had a diverse career as a scientific entrepreneur in Maine, and as a corporate manager for a contract R&D company in Albany, NY. He is an active volunteer in his community, currently serving as the Chair of the Town of Wilton Planning Board, on the Wilton Finance Committee, and previously as a volunteer for Scouting and the Service Core of Retired Executives.
Associate Professor of Physics