We are so pleased to have Dr. Raychelle Burks (@DrRubidium) curate for us during Chemistry Week here at Real Scientists! Raychelle is an assistant professor in analytical chemistry at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, USA. She is also an expert on the Science Channel’s Outrageous Acts of Science.
Raychelle got into science the same way all evil scientists do – criminal enterprise! Well… not her own, but other people’s. You see, Raychelle started off as a forensic scientist. What got her into science was the application of science to the law. We asked Raychelle about her scientific journey so far and here is what she told us:
I’ve always fancied myself as a bit of a detective and analytical chemistry fits! We’re the detectives of chemistry. We find things, we design systems to find things, and we study things to get better at finding things.
My research group is focused on designing colorimetric and/or fluorometric sensors for the detection of analytes of forensic interest with accompanying image and statistical analysis using open source software.
Color tests are inexpensive, low tech, and easy to use. We depend a lot on them to give us quick answers that allow us to make command decisions is tricky or dangerous situations. However, a big weakness of color tests are false positives – i.e. the test result says it’s there, but it’s not really there. My group is working to make better color tests, with little-to-no false positives, so we can have more confidence in our results.
She loves to knit, and her perfect day would be spent enjoying a sunny day on the beach, with a tasty beverage and a good book.
You can catch her on Twitter @DrRubidium, or where she blogs at http://thirtyseven.scientopia.org/. Photo credit: Adam Isaak.
Please welcome Raychelle to Real Scientists!