“Chemists collaborate with physicists, biologists, engineers, and others to solve problems. Such problems require knowledge and appreciation of topics like economics, anthropology, and politics, and the ability to communicate with people in those fields. Students who fully embrace a liberal arts education have an advantage in my field, which becomes more interdisciplinary by the moment.”
To George Kaufman, the classroom setting is an opportunity to pass the power of science to the next generation of experimental minds.
"I strive to foster intuition, confidence, and skills in reasoning and problem solving, and to instill a passion for science by expressing my own," he says. For Kaufman, teaching is most rewarding when he can help students discover that passion.
"I love communicating what I know—and don't know—to people who are just starting out on their own path of discovery. The triumphant moments, when students toil and then finally succeed in the lab, are priceless."
Kaufman helps students achieve these "ah ha" moments by promoting a collaborative learning atmosphere. He makes it easy for them to work closely with him in the classroom, in the lab, and in the field.
"Students who research with me contribute through poster presentations at local and national conferences, and will sometimes be authors of peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles." Kaufman has co-authored papers with students about trash burning in the Philippines and synthesizing new materials for batteries.
This collaborative atmosphere seems to work.
"My students have found fulfilling and meaningful learning experiences both near and far," Kaufman explains. These experiences include reforesting coastlines in the Philippines, installing rain barrels around Lexington, conducting summer research at Harvard, Brown, Cornell, and overseas, and pursuing graduate studies in elite programs at Johns Hopkins and Harvard.