Joseph J. Lagowski


Joseph J. Lagowski


      J. J. Lagowski was born in Chicago, Illinois USA in 1930. After attending the public schools in the western suburbs of that city, he enrolled at the Champaign-Urbana campus of the University of Illinois, from which he was graduated with a Bachelor's degree in 1952. His graduate work was carried out at the University of Michigan where he received an M.S. in 1954, and Michigan State University where he was a Du Pont Fellow, and from which he received a Ph.D. in 1957. His thesis, entitled “Acid-Base Equilibria in Liquid Ammonia”, was supervised by Professor R. N. Hammer at Michigan State University. After receiving his Ph.D., Lagowski spent the next two years in the Cambridge Laboratories of Professor H. J. Emeleus doing research on perfluoroalkylmercurials, for which work he was awarded the degree of Ph.D. (cantab.) in 1959. During the time at Cambridge he was a Marshall Scholar, a member of Sidney Sussex College, an assistant demonstrator at the Lensfield Road Laboratories, and a Supervisor in Inorganic Chemistry for undergraduate tutorials. Lagowski joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1959 as an Assistant Professor; since 1967 he has been Professor of Chemistry. In 1973 he was also appointed Professor of Education. At Austin, he supervises a research group of about 12 students working on a wide spectrum of problems in chemistry and education. In 1979, Lagowski became Editor of the JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL EDUCATION, a position he relinquished in 1996.  Lagowski served as a member of the committee that defined the need for, and the characteristics of the Institute for Science and Mathematics Education and served as Director of the Institute from 1993-1996.  In 1998, Lagowski was elected and served as Chair-Elect of the Division of Chemical Education (DIVCHED) of the American Chemical Society, elected and served as Chair of that Division in 1999.  In 1999 he was appointed Secretary of the Committee on Teaching Chemistry (CTC) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) for the period 2000 – 2001 and currently serves in that capacity. Lagowski was elected and currently serves as President of the Southwest Region of the American Chemical Society for 2001.

      In 1981, Lagowski received the Chemical National Manufacturing Association Award for Excellence in Chemistry Teaching. For his service to the professional community, Lagowski was given the 1989 ACS Award in Chemical Education, sponsored by Union Carbide Corporation.  Lagowski was also the recipient of the 1996 Southwest Regional ACS Award and the 1999 recipient of the Northeastern Section of The American Chemical Society’s James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in The Teaching of Chemistry.


Research Interests, Chemistry

      Over the years his broad research interests have included (a) solution phenomena in non-aqueous solvents, with special emphasis on liquid ammonia, and (b) organometallic chemistry with regard to the effect of the organic moiety on the properties of the metal site.

      His work with non-aqueous solvents has focused on the influence of the solvent on the chemistry of unusual species. For example, a number of his earlier papers in this area addressed the nature of the solvated electron in amine solvents, especially liquid ammonia. More recently his interest has shifted to the chemistry of the solvated electron in ammonia; this work has led to the characterization of the first bare transition metal anion, Au-. Currently, he and his students are investigating, both theoretically and experimentally, the conditions under which other metal anions might be stabilized. Early work in liquid ammonia also was the basis for establishing a quantitative acidity scale in this solvent.

      His interest in organometallic species started at Cambridge, where he worked with perfluoroalkylmercurials and showed that the strong inductive effect of a CF3 group was sufficient to make the mercury atom in (CF3)2Hga Lewis base acceptor. Early organo-metallic work involved the chemistry of the borazine ring, which led to the solvation and characterization of the first “ p-complex” of this ring system [(CH3)3N3B3(CH3)3Cr(CO)3]. He and his students have exploited the metal atom synthesis technique to prepare a variety of metal-arene p-complexes. They have shown that the redox potential of the Cr(arene)20/+ system can be varied over a range of 1.5 volts by an appropriate substitution of the arene ring. These p-complexes are also potential precursors of organometallic polymers in which metal atoms occupy discrete positions in the polymer chains.


Research Interests, Chemical Education

      In the early 1960s, Lagowski became interested in the use of interactive computing to assist the educational process. In a series of theses and dissertations, he and his students have identified those areas of teaching for which computer methods are maximally effective. As a result of these studies he has been able to implement the most effective uses of computer-based methods of education in a number of chemistry courses at the freshman level--lecture courses for both science and nonscience majors as well as a laboratory-oriented course for science majors.

      In 1998, Lagowski and Professor A. F. M. Fahmy of Ain Shams University, Cairo, began a collaboration at The University of Texas in Austin, Texas, USA on an innovative method for teaching and learning which came to be called the Systemic Approach to Teaching and Learning (SATL).  Since that seminal meeting, the SATL concept has rapidly grown as a superior way to teach a variety of subjects at all educational levels.  Controlled experiments designed to establish the superiority of SATL methods to the conventional linear approach to teaching have been conducted through the Science Education Center at Ain Shams University in the discipline of chemistry at the advanced university level as well as in high school settings in the Gaza District (Egypt).  The result of these studies clearly show that SATL students achieve at higher levels than non-SATL students.  Similar results have been reported from other Middle Eastern universities.  SATL methods have been developed for laboratory instruction and for assessment.


Professional Service

      Lagowski's research and education interests have also manifested themselves in his service to the professional community. He has served as a program chairman for two Southwest Regional American Chemical Society meetings and as a co-organizer of four Colloque Weyl International Symposia on metal-ammonia solutions.

      During the period 1961-1970 he served in various capacities on the ACS Subcommittee on Inorganic Graduate Level Examinations. In the area of education he has served as a visiting lecturer and on several national evaluation panels, and he was General Chairman of the 5th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education. His current service to the educational community is mostly through his work as Editor of the Journal of Chemical Education, a Division of Chemical Education publication reaching close to 20,000 teachers each month.

      For his service to the professional community, Lagowski has been given the 1989 ACS Award in Chemical Education, sponsored by Union Carbide Corporation.  In 1996, Lagowski was honored with the Southwest Regional ACS Award.  In 1999, Lagowski received the James Flack Norris Award of the Northeastern Section of the ACS.



I.          Chemistry Education

            8 publications from 1993 to 2005

II.        Solution Chemistry

            Non-Aqueous Solution Chemistry

A.     The Nature of Liquid Ammonia Solutions

            25 Publications from 1962 to 2007

B.     Metal-Ammonia Solutions

            27 Publications from 1965 to 1988

C.     Electrochemistry

         16 Publications from 1991 to2007

D.     Miscellaneous Non-Aqueous Solvent Papers

            7 Publications from 1956 to 1982

III.       Organometallic Chemistry

A.           Perfluoroalkyl Mercurials

13 Publications from 1958 to 1968

B.     Metal p-Complexes

            29 Publications from 1965 to 2002

C.     Borazines

            16 Publications from 1963 to 1977

D.     Fullerenes

            3 Publications from 2002 to 2004

IV.       Miscellaneous

            2 Publications from 2003 to 2006

V.         Transition Metal Chemistry

            10 Publications from 1974 to 1986

VI.       Chemistry Instruction

A.     Computer-Based Methods

         27 Publications from 1966 to 1989

B.     Instructional Aids

            7 Publications from1966 to 2002

C.           Laboratory Instruction

1 Publication, 2006.

VII.      Books

A.     Authored or Co-authored

            18 Books from 1964 to 2005

B.     Editor for a series of undergraduate chemistry texts published by Marcel Dekker, Inc., which includes:

            8 Texts

C.     Editor of a series of volumes on non-aqueous solution chemistry, published by Academic Press.

4 Volumes

D.     Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Chemistry, Macmillian Publishing Company, August 1997.

E.           Consulting Editor of PRIMIS chemistry laboratory database, McGraw-Hill Publishing Company.

F.            Editor, Plenary Lectures from the 15th International Conference on Chemical Education, Cairo, Egypt, 9-14 August 1998, Pure and Applied Chemistry, Vol. 71, No. 5 (1999).

G.           Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Chemistry, Macmillian Publishing Company, March 2004.


A.     General

            1 General Editorial

B.     Journal of Chemical Education

            206 Monthly Editorials from 1979 to 1996

IX.       Letters to the Editor

                2 Letters


      1957-1959                  Marshall Scholar, H.R.M.’s Brittanic Government

      1959 -present             Member, Marquis’ “Who's Who in America?”

      1981                          Chemical Manufacturers Association Award for Excellence in Chemistry

      1982                          Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

      1983                          Named Piper Professor for outstanding scholarly and academic achievement
                                       by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation

      1983                          Elected to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

      1989                          ACS Award in Chemical Education

      1992                          Member, Marquis’ Who's Who in Science and Engineering (1st Edition)

1996                                                    Southwest Regional ACS Award

1999                          James Flack Norris Award, ACS, Northeastern Section



American Chemical Society

Chemical Society (London)

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Sigma Xi



      Some 450 or so presentations and lectures from 1966 to the present, mainly on inorganic chemistry
      and computers in chemistry.



      1972-1976                  Co-Director of PROJECT C-BE, an NSF-sponsored project designed to
                                             embed computer-based educational methods in the undergraduate
                                             curriculum of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of
                                             Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Departments included
                                             were Aerospace Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering,
                                             Mechanical Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Home
                                             Economics, Mathematics, Physics, Economics, Linguistics, Psychology,
                                             English, Architecture, Biological Sciences.


      1978                          General Chairman of the 5th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education
                                             held at Colorado State University.


      1980-present              (1) The development of a general chemistry laboratory course in which
                                             computing is used to enrich the laboratory experience.

                                       (2) The development of a general chemistry lecture course in which
                                             computing is used to compensate for generally high student-to-teacher
                                             ratio. The techniques being developed include on-demand quizzing and
                                             examinations; production of large numbers of quizzes, examinations,
                                             and/or homework sets that are all statistically equivalent (within a given
                                             kind) and that require the student create an answer rather than choose an
                                             answer; and computer-simulated experiments that enhance the lecture


      1981-1991                  Participant, Honors Colloquium; a summer enrichment program for high
                                             achieving high school students.


      1982-1988                  Designed and taught summer classes in advanced chemistry for high school


      1983-1996                  Member, Project Quest Proposal Selection Committee. Project Quest is a
                                             joint venture of The University of Texas with IBM to explore the use of
                                             microprocessors in enhancing the teaching and research function of The
                                             University. The Project Selection Committee is charged with distributing
                                             approximately 1000 microprocessors on a competitive basis and to
                                             evaluate the results.


      1983-1990                  Co-Director, Project SERAPHIM, an NSF project designed to create and
                                             disseminate computer-based educational materials in chemistry on a
                                             national (and international) scale.


      1983-present              Director of a Welch Foundation-sponsored project designed to bring high
                                             school students interested in science to The University for a summer
                                             workshop enrichment research and educational experience in chemistry.


      1985-1987                  Director, Apple-IBM Translation Project.


      1986-1987                  Director, Seraphim Project for the design and development of an educational
                                             videodisc in collaboration with Dr. Alton Banks, a Seraphim Fellow.

                                       Director, University of Texas at Austin Production of ACS videodisc “Doing
                                             Chemistry” in collaboration with Dr. David Brooks, University of
                                             Nebraska and Dr. Arlene Russell, U.C.L.A.


      1986-present              Director of a Welch Foundation-sponsored project designed to bring
                                             Secondary School Chemistry teachers to the University for a three day
                                             conference on current research and techniques in Chemistry.


      1989-present              Faculty Participant, UT Graduate Opportunity Summer Program.


      1990-present              Project A+: Austin Independent School District and IBM Corp.. Committee
                                             member Group 3: Input on Academic Courses in Math and Science.


      1990-1994                  Co-Director, CATALYST, Computers & Technology Applied to Lecture/Lab
                                             Yields Superior Teaching


      1990-present              Member, American Chemical Society, Division of Chemical Education,
                                             Committee on International Activities.


      1991                          Participant, “NPR Panel on Fusion,” National Public Radio, Washington,


      1991                          “Emerging Science Technologies: The Impact of this Worldwide
                                             Phenomenon on Austin, Texas” conference, Austin, TX


      1992                          “Chemistry at the Frontiers of Medicine,” XXXV Conference on Chemistry
                                             Research, The Welch Foundation Program, Houston, TX


      1992                          Participant, First Gordon Research Conference on Science
                                             Education, Ventura, CA


      1992                          Faculty participant, “Chemistry Forum,” High School Career Day, UT-
                                             Austin, Austin, TX


      1992                          “Technology As An Aid in Teaching Entry Level Science Classes,”
                                             colloquium, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY


      1992                          “Secondary Education as a Viable Option for Chemistry Majors,” AIC Annual
                                             Meeting, San Antonio, TX


      1992-1993                  Faculty Fellow, Division of Housing and Food Service


      1993-present              Member, Board of Advisors, The Science Academy of Austin, Austin, TX



      1960                          Secretary, Central Texas Section of the ACS

                                       Chairman, Collegiate Research Conference

                                       Discussion Leader, NSF Summer Institute on Non-Aqueous Solvents, Butler
                                             University, Indianapolis, IN


      1961                          Visiting Scientist Program, Texas Academy of Science

                                       ACS Subcommittee on Graduate Level Examinations

                                       Advisory Panel for Evaluation of NSF Summer Institutes


      1962-1966                  ACS Subcommittee on Inorganic Graduate Level Examinations


      1962                          General Chairman, Inorganic Section, Southwest Regional ACS Meeting,
                                             Dallas, TX

                                       Collegiate Research Conference


      1962, 1964-1967         Program Committee of the Division of Chemical Education of the ACS


      1965                          Lecturer, NSF Summer Institute, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI


      1966                          Chairman, Program Committee of the Division of Chemical Education of the

                                       Chairman, Half-day Session, 9th International Conference on Coordination
                                             Chemistry, St. Moritz, SWITZERLAND

                                       ACS Teaching Aids Subcommittee


      1967                          Program Committee of the Division of Chemical Education of the ACS

                                       Chairman, Symposium on “The Role of Inorganic Chemistry in the Chemistry
                                             Curriculum,” National ACS Meeting, Miami, FL

                                       Chairman, Central Texas ACS Section

                                       Lecturer, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

      1967-1969                  Advisory Council on College Chemistry, Teaching Aids Subcommittee


      1968-1970                  Chairman, Inorganic Graduate Level Examinations Committee


      1968                          Vice-President, University of Texas Chapter of Sigma Xi

                                       Organizer, Colloque Weyl II, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

                                       Technical Chairman, Southwest Regional ACS Meeting, Austin, TX


      1969-1974                  National Councilor, Central Texas ACS Section


      1969                          President, University of Texas Chapter of Sigma Xi

                                       ACS Manpower Utilization Program

                                       ACS Visiting Scientists Program


      1970                          ACS ChemTec Writing Team

                                       NSF USAID Program Lecturer in India

                                       ACS Committee on Computers in Chemical Education


      1972                          ACS Committee “Computers in Chemical Education”

                                       Organizer, Colloque Weyl III, Kibbutz Hanita, Upper Galilee, Israel


      1973-1974                  Delphi Panel, UTD


      1973                          ACS Visiting Scientists Program


      1974                          Councilor, Central Texas ACS Section

                                       Potential Media Consultant for ACS Continuing Education

                                       ACS Committee on the Role of Computers in Chemical Education

                                       ACS Publications Committee,“Ouroboros”


      1975                          Organizer, Colloque Weyl IV, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

      1978                          Consultant, Gulf Chemical

                                       Lecturer, 1978 NSF Summer Institute for High School Teachers, Hope
                                             College, Holland, MI

                                       ACS Committee on Meetings and Expositions

                                       General Chairman, 5th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (ACS),
                                             Fort Collins, CO


      1979-1996                  Editor, Journal of Chemical Education


      1979-1987                  Member, Norris Award Selection Committee


      1979                          Program Chairman, Central Texas ACS Section, 35th Southwest Regional

                                       Organizer, Colloque Weyl V, Airleigh, Scotland


      1980-1985                  Member, Air Force Office of Scientific Research Advisory Panel


      1983                          Organizer, Colloque Weyl VI, Asilomar, CA


      1985                          Member, Physical Sciences Evaluation Panel for the State of Florida
                                             University System

                                       Organizer, Workshops on the status of Inorganic Chemistry held at University
                                             of Texas-Austin, Austin, TX.


      1986                          International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry


      1986-2001                  U. S.  IUPAC Representative, Committee on Teaching of Chemistry


      1988                          Invited Panelist, Frontier Areas in the Curriculum, ACS Conference on
                                             Chemical Education, Toronto, Canada

                                       Member, ACS Committee on Professional Training, Visiting Associate

                                       Included in 1988-1990 U.T. Media Guide


      October 1989             Committee Chairman, Symposium on “New Directions in Physics and
                                             Chemistry Curricula” at IBM Academic Computing Conference, Atlanta,


      1989-1990                  Invited Fellow of the Institute for Academic Technology, Research Triangle
                                             Park, NC


      April 1990                  Invited to Represent UT Austin, “The Freshman Year in Science and
                                             Engineering,” Alliance for Undergraduate Education, at University of
                                             Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


      1989-1990                  Member, Program Committee for IBM Academic Computing Conference,
                                             Austin, TX


      June 1990                  Chairman, “New Directions in Physics and Chemistry Curricula” symposium,
                                             IBM Academic Computing Conference, Miami, FL


      June 1990                  “Simulations in Physical Sciences II” symposium, IBM Academic Computing
                                             Conference, Miami, FL


      August 1990               Member, Task Force on General Chemistry Curriculum, ACS-DivCHED


      November 1990          Participant, “Symposium for the Encouragement and Support of Women in
                                             the Mathematical and Natural Sciences,”  University of Texas at Austin,
                                             Austin, TX

      1991-1994                  Advisor, STIR National Advisory Committee, Montana State University,
                                             Bozeman, MT


      March 1991               Participant, Institute for Chemical Education Committee Meeting, University
                                             of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI


      April 1991                  Member, Committee on Large School Labs, Boston University, Boston, MA

      April 1991                  Participant in panel presentation, “Publications, Publications, Publications,”
                                             UT Women's Organization, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX


      May 1991                  Advisory panel, NSF Centers for Excellence in Teacher Preparation,
                                             Washington, DC


      June 1991                  Speaker and participant, ACT2-Welch Biennial Conference, University of
                                             Houston, Houston, TX


      June 1991                  Chairman, Symposium “Catalyst: A System for Curricular Change in
                                             Chemistry,” IBM Academic Computing Conference, Dallas, TX

      1991-1994                  Canvassing Committee member for the George C. Pimentel Award in
                                             Chemical Education sponsored by Union Carbide Corporation, American
                                             Chemical Society


      1991-present              Consulting Editor of PRIMIS, chemistry laboratory database, McGraw-Hill
                                             Publishing Company


      1991-1998                  Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Chemistry, Macmillian Publishing


      June 1992                  Member, symposium “Project CATALYST: An Analysis,” at IBM/ACIS
                                             meeting, San Diego, CA


      January 1993              Member, Conference of ACS Editors, Sonoma, CA


      January 1994              Member, Conference of ACS Editors, Scottsdale, AZ


      February 1994-99       (Titular) Member International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.


      March 1994               Advisory Committee on Title III Organic Chemistry, College and Science
                                             Division, McLennan Community College, Waco, TX


      April 1994                  Advisory Board for Chemistry Curriculum Development Project, University
                                             of Wisconsin


      April 1994-present      Southwest Regional Director, Sigma Xi Society


      December 1995          Consultant, Foundation for Research Development, Pretoria, SOUTH
               to                           AFRICA.



      April 1995                  UNESCO Lecturer, Symposium on Sciences and Engineering Education in
                                             the 21st Century, The American University, Cairo, EGYPT.


      November 1995          UNESCO Lecturer, Regional Symposium on Chemical Education, Al-Ain,
                                             UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.


      November 1995          UNESCO Lecturer, Regional Symposium on Chemical Education, University
                                             of Qatar, Doha, QATAR.


      November 1996          UNESCO Lecturer, Workshop on the Use of Technology in Chemical
                                             Education, Hashimite University, Amman, JORDAN


      November 1996          UNESCO Lecturer, Workshop on the Use of Technology in Chemical
                                             Education, Allepo University, Allepo, SYRIA.


      November 1996          UNESCO Lecturer, Workshop on the Use of Technology in Chemical
                                             Education, Assuit University, Assuit, EGYPT.


      August 1998               UNESCO Lecturer, Workshop on Concept Maping, Ain Shams University,                                     15th ICCE, Cairo, EGYPT.


      August 1998               IUPAC Editor, Plenary Lectures, 15th ICCE, Cairo, EGYPT.


      April 1999                  Honorary Theme Editor, UNESCO, Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems.