Brian Esselman

Position title: Assistant Organic Lab Director

Phone: 608.262.1479

Room B324A, Department of Chemistry
1101 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706

Brian Esselman
  • B.S. 2000, UW-Madison (Chemistry)
  • M.S. 2004, UW-Madison (Educational Psychology)
  • M.S. 2009, UW-Madison (Chemistry)
  • Ph.D. 2012, UW-Madison (Chemistry)

Research Description:

Rotational Spectroscopy

I am interested in the precise structure determination and millimeter-wave spectroscopy of small oxygen- and nitrogen-containing organic molecules of potential astrochemical relevance.  In parntership with Robert J. McMahon and R. Claude Woods, recent work includes the precise structure determination of hyrazoic acid (HN3), pyrimidine (meta-C4H4N2), and pyridazine (ortho-C4H4N2) by combined millimeter-wave and coupled-cluster computational investigation.  Additional spectroscopic investigations of carbonyl diazide (OC(N3)2), formyl azide (HCON3), and diketene (C4H4O2) in the ground and excited states have been published.

Curriculum Development

I am interested in the incorporation of computational tools to support student learning in lecture and laboratory courses.  With Nicholas J. Hill, I have integrated computational chemistry into the undergraduate organic laboratory curriculum using WebMO.  The use of computational tools, in partnership with more traditional spectroscopic techniques, allows students a deeper understanding of their experimental results.  I’m further interested in exploring how a focus on molecular and atomic orbitals using WebMO can enhance student learning in my lecture courses.