Better Chemistry Through Cartoons

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Professor Jimmy Wu

Professor Jimmy Wu has produced animated short films to teach concepts in organic chemistry. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Elements, reactions, and bonds—as film stars? Of course, says Jimmy Wu, assistant professor of chemistry, who has begun an outreach project that will use video to teach organic chemistry to high school students.

Funded by Wu’s National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the project includes Computer Science Professor Lorie Loeb as well as students and young alumni from Dartmouth’s digital arts program.

Loeb’s role is to provide input on how to visually display complex information. “Some of the most powerful things about animation are its universal appeal and its ability to show things in new ways with different perspectives,” she says.

Jodie Mack, assistant professor of film and media studies, is also part of the project. Dartmouth students and recent graduates on the team include Eric Swanson ’11 (“Adam and Stereochemistry’s Big Adventure”) and Erika Murillo ’13 (“The Polymer Party”). Evan Ross ’13 contributed voices to the completed videos; Alexander Dupuis (M.A. Digital Musics ’12), sound recording; and Samuel Lloyd ’11, additional editing.

Watch the team’s first two productions, “Adam and Stereochemistry’s Big Adventure” and “The Polymer Party.”

Originally reported by Elizabeth Kelsey.