Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Yoder/Schaeffer Collaboration

History of the 40 Year Partnership

 A unique and extensive research collaboration between Professors Claude H. Yoder, Charles A. Dana Professor of Chemistry at Franklin & Marshall College, and Charles D. Schaeffer Jr., retired A.C. Baugher Professor of Chemistry at Elizabethtown College, began in November, 1966. Claude Yoder had been recently hired as assistant professor and Schaeffer was enrolled in his laboratory section of general chemistry. Yoder gave him a simple project at the conclusion of lab and Schaeffer remembers: “I was asked to filter this beautiful moisture-sensitive, purple solid. So, beaming with pride and using my best freshman chemistry technique, I checked out brand new glassware from the stockroom, set up the filtration system, turned on the suction, moistened the filter paper with distilled water to make a good seal, added the solid, and, of course, promptly destroyed it. Luckily, Yoder had not entrusted the entire supply of the sample to a lowly freshman!

In the summer of 1970 Schaeffer headed for graduate school at the Albany campus of the State University of New York. The first graduate faculty member that Schaeffer encountered was Professor Jerold J. Zuckerman, who had served as the graduate mentor for Yoder several years earlier and who had recently relocated to Albany with his graduate students and postdocs. Zuckerman served as Schaeffer’s Ph.D. advisor for the next four years. This was an especially productive time for a collaboration between the three that led to a number of jointly authored papers, but, more importantly, to a life-long interest in inorganic chemistry and to application of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to the solution of structural and dynamic problems.

Schaeffer completed graduate school at Albany in 1974, was hired at Elizabethtown College (only 15 miles from F&M) in 1976, and the strong ties of the Yoder-Schaeffer collaboration were renewed. Their research collaboration has yielded both short- and long-term benefits to the two investigators and to their students.

  • Nineteen papers carrying the names of student investigators appear in scientific journals.
  • F&M and Elizabethtown student presenters are well-represented at regional and national meetings, communicating their work in oral or poster form.
  • Yoder and Schaeffer have collaborated on a successful undergraduate textbook on the subject, as well as on other projects relating NMR to both research and teaching.
  • Yoder Schaeffer
  • Dr. Yoder, second from left, and Dr. Schaeffer, far right, with research students.

    "I was asked to filter this beautiful moisture-sensitive, purple solid. So, beaming with pride and using my best freshman chemistry technique, I checked out brand new glassware from the stockroom, set up the filtration system, turned on the suction, moistened the filter paper with distilled water to make a good seal, added the solid, and, of course, promptly destroyed it. Luckily, Yoder had not entrusted the entire supply of the sample to a lowly freshman!"

    - C.D. Schaeffer Jr.