Endowed Lecture

Castle Chemistry Lecture Series

The Castle Chemistry Lecture Series was two-day event ran by Dr. Schneller open to faculty, college and high school students. Three lectures were invited to speak at the series, representing two areas of chemistry and the third would be a Nobel Laureate. The program was in danger of losing funding due to a grant expiring. Dr. Raymond N. Castle, disguished faculty member and chemist, along with Mrs. Ada Castle graciously stepped in and were able to continue the lecture at full scale. The program was renamed after Dr. Castle's unfortunate passing in 1999. The Department of Chemistry's Annual Raymond Castle Undergraduate Research Conference was initiated in his memory in 2001. Look below for more information about the history of the series and the lectures in attendence.

History and More

The program was very successful because of Dr. Schneller's leadership and the selection of speakers. Typically three areas of chemistry would be represented, and one lecturer would be a Nobel Laureate. The latter lecture would be coordinated with the Department's Open House, typically in the fall. High school and college students would be invited to attend. The Laureate would present a technical lecture on Friday afternoon, following a luncheon, and then there would be an opportunity for all to meet the visitor at a reception typically held atop the Student Services Building. On Saturday morning, college and high school students would be invited to attend the open house. Coffee, juice, and donuts would be served in the atrium of the Chemistry Building, and graduate students and faculty would participate in a poster session. Guided tours of the Chemistry facilities were coordinated with graduate students serving as tour guides. Then the Laureate would present a more general lecture in CHE 100, and this would be followed by lunch for all. High school students and their teachers would be invited to have lunch with the Laureate by themselves in a separate room. After lunch, college student visitors would be given tickets to Busch Gardens.

This program took considerable planning by Dr. Schneller, and he did it very well, presumably with the assistance of Ms. Dyane Chapman and Mrs. Schneller. Few could appreciate how much effort was involved. But one example comes to mind of a speaker who shipped his own large screen which was guaranteed to be flat so there would be no distortion in the projected slides for a three-dimensional effect. Of course, the screen had to be acquired from Central Receiving (in its own shipping box) by Dr. Schneller, hauled over to Chemistry, manhandled down to the basement of CHE 100, hidden away until the proper time, and installed by Physical Plant personnel. And, of course, the entire process had to be reversed after the speaker left.

This series was a powerful recruiting tool, and it was a powerful tool for establishing USF Chemistry Department in the eyes of those outside Florida. Nobel Laureates who came included Herbert C. Brown (Purdue University), Melvin Calvin (University of California-Berkeley), and William Lipscomb (Harvard). All gave impressive presentations.

And so did the other lecturers in this series (and the subsequent series), who may not have been Nobel Laureates, but were superb chemists. Professor Harry Gray, Cal Tech, participated in the program, gave an inspiring lecture, and was a delightful guest. So was Professor Fred Basolo (Northwestern University), former President of the American Chemical Society, who gave an impressive lecture to a class of general chemistry students. Other inorganic chemists included the late Professor Al Cotton (Texas A&M) an ACS presidential candidate at the time, and Professor Frederick Hawthorne (UCLA), Editor of Inorganic Chemistry, and Professor Richard Holm.

Unfortunately, the fine tradition and the considerable momentum that had been established by the program was in danger of being lost when the grant from R. P. Scherer expired.

Fortunately, Dr. Schneller was able to convince Dr. Raymond N.  Castle and Mrs. Ada Castle to continue the lecture series at full scale. Through their generosity, the series continued starting in 1987 until Dr. Castle retired in 1994. When interviewed about their decision to support the series after the grant from R. P. Scherer expired, Professor Castle was quoted as saying, "This is an important program for the Chemistry Department. It already has a strong following, and we would lose valuable momentum if the series was to be interrupted".

Dr. Castle added, "The visibility and recognition the University receives is important. Furthermore, it gives our students the chance to listen to and be stimulated by the world's outstanding chemists".

Raymond Castle had joined the USF Chemistry faculty in 1981 as a Graduate Research Professor. He was born June 24, 1916 in Boise, Idaho and as graduated from the University of Idaho, Southern Branch, Pocatello in 1938 with a degree in pharmacy. He then completed the M.A. degree requirements in Chemistry at the University of Colorado (1941), and following a stint as a Chemistry instructor at the University of Idaho, he returned and earned a Ph.D. (1944) at the University of Colorado. He came to USF following two years as a research Chemist at Battelle Memorial Institute (Columbus, Ohio), as a faculty member for 24 years at the University of New Mexico, and 11 years at Brigham Young University.

He and his wife, Ada, were a treasured part of the Department of Chemistry where he did research and where they together were responsible for the publication of the Journal of Heterocyclic Chemistry, which he had founded in 1964, and continued to serve as editor.

He was well regarded as a speaker and gave lectures around the world. He was a much honored chemist, including the International Award in Heterocyclic Chemistry (1983), presented in Tokyo, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field. He once said, "I'm not going to retire, I'm going to drop." He had just returned from an International Congress on Heterocyclic Chemistry and was planning his work for the next day when he died quietly at home in the summer of 1999.

The Department of Chemistry's Annual Raymond Castle Undergraduate Research Conference was initiated in his memory in 2001.

Name Postion Lecture Talk
Rolf Huisgen, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry, Universität München "New Reactions in Organic Sulfur Chemistry" & "Stereospecificity and Reaction Mechanism"
M. Frederick Hawthorne, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry, UCLA "Studies in Metallacarborane Chemistry"
Name Postion Lecture Talk
R. Bruce Merrifield, Ph.D.* Professor Rockefeller University "Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis: Some New Developments in the Chemistry" & "The Study of Biologically Active Peptides by Chemical Synthesis"
Mark S. Wrighton, Ph.D. Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry, MIT "Surface Chemistry of Microfabricated Structures: Molecule Based Electronic Devices"
Kendall N. Houk, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry, UCLA "Theory and Modeling of Stereoselective Organic Reactions"
Name  Postion Lecture Talk
Josef Michl, Ph.D. Collie-Welch Professor of Chemistry, University of Texas "Fast Particle Bombardment of Solid Nitrogen: What is Going On?"
Derek H.R. Barton, Ph.D. * Department of Chemistry, Texas A&M "The Invention of Chemical Reactions" & "How to Win a Nobel Prize: A Personal Case History"
James A. Ibers, Ph.D. Morrison Professor of Chemistry, Northwestern University "Transition Metal Chalcogenides in the Solid State and in Solution"
Name Postion Lecture Title
Richard H. Holm, Ph.D. Higgins Professor of Chemistry, Harvard University "Biologically Relevant Atom Transfer Chemistry of Molybdenum: From Synthetic Analogues to Enzymes"
Gertude Elion* SmithKlineGlaxo "Antiviral Agents: The Search for Selectivity" & "The Purine Path to Chemotherapy"
John D. Baldeschwieler, Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry, California Institute of Technology "The Use of Phospholipid Vesicles in Cancer Diagnosis and Therapy"
Name Postion Lecture Talk
Koji Nakanishi, Ph.D. Centennial Professor of Chemistry, Columbia University "Why is 11-cis Retinal the Chromophore for Vision?"
Harold Scheraga, Ph.D. Todd Professor of Chemistry, Cornell University "Conformational Energy Calculations on Polypeptides and Proteins"
Jerome Karle, Ph.D.* The Naval Research Laboratory "Applications of Structural Analysis to Chemistry" & "Science in the Real World"
Name Postion Lecture Title
Herbert Hauptman, Ph.D.* Medical Foundation of Buffalo "The Phase Problem of X-ray Crystallography" & "The History and Unexpected Importance of X-ray Crystallography"
Ignacio Tinoco, Jr., Ph.D. Professor of Chemistry, University of California-Berkeley "The Structure of an RNA Molecule–Differing Views from NMR and X-ray Crystallography"
Nicholas Turro, Ph.D. Schweitzer Professor of Chemistry, Columbia University "Organic Chemistry in Restricted Reaction Space. The Underpinnings of Molecular Recognition"
Name Postion Lecture Talk
George Hitchings, Ph.D.* SmithKlineGlaxo "Analogs of DNA Bases, Applications in the Treatment of Infectious Diseases"
Marye Anne Fox, Ph.D. Waggoner Professor of Chemistry, University of Texas-Austin "Three Dimensional Systems for Controlled Electron Transfer"
Richard E. Smalley, Ph.D.** Hackerman Professor of Chemistry, Rice University "C60 and the Emerging Carbon-Based Nanotechnology"
Name Postion Lecture Talk
John Polanyi, Ph.D.* Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto "Surface Aligned Photochemistry" & "The Molecular Dance in Chemical Reactions and Why It Matters"
Amos Smith, III, Ph.D. Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania "The De Novo Design, Synthesis, and X-Ray Crystal Structures of Pyrrolinone Based β-Non-peptide Peptidomimetics"
W. Wallace Cleland, Ph.D. Johnson Professor of Chemistry and Steenbock Professor of Chemical Science, Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin "What Makes Enzymatic Reactions So Fast?"

* indicates Nobel Laureate
** indicates Nobel Laureate after visit