Dan G. Sykes

Dan G. Sykes

Main Content

  • Teaching Professor
  • Director of Analytical Laboratory Instruction
330 Whitmore Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-0796



  1. B.S., University of Oregon, 1985
  2. Ph.D., The University of Alberta, 1990

Selected Publications:

Sykes, D. and Morrisson, M. (2017) Chemistry of Literature, Literature of Chemistry: Developing and Promoting a Course for the Humanities and Natural Sciences.  In ACS Symposium Series:  Liberal Arts Strategies for the Chemistry Classroom; G. Crawford and K. Kloepper (Eds.); Oxford University Press: Washington, DC, 2017, 11-25.  DOI: 10.1021/bk-2017-1266.ch002

Clippard, C.M., Hughes, W., Sykes, D.G. and Chohan, B.S. (2016) A Compact, Portable, Low-Cost Colorimeter for the Chemistry Lab.  Journal of Chemical Education 93 (7), 1242-1248.

Clippard, C., Nichisti, J, Chohan, B. and Sykes, D. (2014) The Use of a Custom-Built Coulometric Karl Fischer Instrument for the Determination of Water Content in Chocolate. Food Analytical Methods. Online version:  http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12161-014-9949-9/fulltext.html.

Mott, J., Munson, P., Chohan, B. and Sykes, D. (2014) Development and Characterization of an Inexpensive Portable Cyclic Voltammeter.  Journal of Chemical Education 91 (7), 1028-1036.

Chohan, B. and Sykes, D. (2013) Teaching Bioanalytical Chemistry: Application of the SMILE initiative to Bioanalytical Chemistry Instruction.  In ACS Symposium Series:  Teaching Bioanalytical Chemistry, H. Hou (ed.); Oxford University Press: Washington, DC, 2013, 105-138.  http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/bk-2013-1137.ch006

Wigton, B., Chohan, B., Kreuter, R., and Sykes, D. (2011) The Characterization of an Easy-to-Operate Inexpensive Student-Built Fluorimeter.  Journal of Chemical Education 88 (8), 1188-1193.

McDonald, C., M., Schunk, D., Kreuter, R., Johnson, M., Wigton, B., Chohan, B. and Sykes, D. (2011) A Portable, Low-Cost, LED Fluorimeter for Middle School, High School, and Undergraduate Chemistry Labs.  Journal of Chemical Education 88 (8), 1182-1187.

Dominguez, V., McDonald, C.M., Johnson, M., Schunk, D., Kreuter, R., Wigton, B., Chohan, B. Sykes, D. (2010) The Characterization of a Custom Built Coulometric Karl Fischer Titration Apparatus.  Journal of Chemical Education 87 (9), pp 987–991. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ed9000156

, N.M., , K.C., Sykes, D.G., , M., and   In ACS Symposium Series:  Modern NMR Spectroscopy in Education; D. Rovnyak and R. Stockland Jr. (Eds.); American Chemical Society:  Washington, DC., 2007, 20-35.

Bandura, A.V., Sykes, D.G., Kubicki, J.D. and Evarestov, R.A. (2004) Adsorption of water on the TiO2 (Rutile) (110) surface: A comparison of periodic and embedded cluster calculations.  Journal of Physical Chemistry A 108, No. 23, 7844-7853.

Kubicki, J.D. and Sykes, D.G. (2004) Ab initio calculation of 1H, 17O, 27Al and 29Si NMR parameters, vibrational frequencies and bonding energetics in hydrous silica and Na-aluminosilicate glasses.  Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68, 3909-3918.

Kubicki, J.D., Sykes, D. and Apitz, S.E., (1999) Ab initio calculation of aqueous aluminum and aluminum-carboxylate energetics and NMR chemical shifts. Journal of Physical Chemistry A 103, 903-915.

Sykes, D., Kubicki, J.D. and Farrar, T.C. (1997) Molecular Orbital Calculation of 27Al and 29Si NMR Parameters in Q3 and Q4 Aluminosilicate Molecules and Implications for the Interpretation of Hydrous Aluminosilicate Glass NMR Spectra. Journal of Physical Chemistry 101, no. 14, 2715-2722.

Sykes, D. and Kubicki, J.D. (1996) Four-membered rings in silica and aluminosilicate glasses. American Mineralogist 81, no. 3 and 4, 265-272.

Kubicki, J.D. and Sykes, D. (1995) Molecular orbital calculations on the vibrational spectra of Q3 T-(OH) species and the hydrolysis of a 3-membered aluminosilicate ring. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 59, no. 23, 4791-4797.

Sykes, D., Rossman, G.R., Veblen, D. and Grew, E.S. (1994) Enhanced H and F incorporation in borian olivines from the Tayozhnoye Deposit, Russia. American Mineralogist 79, no. 9 and 10, 904-908.

Sykes, D. and Kubicki, J.D. (1993) A model for H2O solubility mechanisms in albite melts from IR spectroscopy and MO calculations. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 57, no. 5, 1039-1052.

Sykes, D., Poe, B., McMillan, P.F., Luth, R.W. and Sato, R.K. (1993) A spectroscopic investigation of anhydrous KAlSi3O8 and NaAlSi3O8 glasses quenched from high pressure. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 57, no. 8, 1753-1759.

Sykes, D., Dickinson, J.E. Jr., Luth, R.W. and Scarfe, C.M. (1993) Viscosity-temperature relationships of melts at 1 atm in the system nepheline-diopside. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 57, no. 6, 1291-1295.

Sykes, D., Sato, R.K., Luth, R.W., McMillan, P.F. and Poe, B. (1993) Water solubility mechanisms in KAlSi3O8 melts at high pressure. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta 57, no.15, 3575-3584.

Kubicki, J.D. and Sykes, D. (1993) Molecular orbital calculations of vibrations in three-membered aluminosilicate rings. Physics Chemistry Minerals 19, no. 6, 381-391.

Kubicki, J.D. and Sykes, D. (1993) Molecular orbital calculations on H6Si2O7 with variable Si-O-Si angle: implications for the high-pressure vibrational spectra of silicate glasses. American Mineralogist 78, no. 3 and 4, 253-259.

Kubicki, J.D., Sykes, D. and Rossman, G.R. (1993) Calculated trends of OH infrared stretching vibrations with composition and structure in aluminosilictae molecules. Physics Chemistry Minerals 20, no. 6, 425-432.

Stebbins, J.F. and Sykes, D. (1990) The structure of NaAlSi3O8 liquid at high pressure: new constraints from NMR spectroscopy. American Mineralogist 75, no. 7 and 8, 943-946.

Sykes, D. and Scarfe, C.M. (1990) Melt structure in the system nepheline-diopside. Journal of Geophysical Research 95, no. B10, 15745-15749.



Chemical Education

Research in the area of chemical education focuses on the development of curricula that combine fundamental skills building laboratory exercises, in which students work independently of each other, with research projects that engage students through group work and self-discovery. The laboratory exercises are designed to engage students in solving open-ended research problems that are challenging and involve most of the concepts covered in the course. Students must read the scientific literature, develop their own strategies for solving the problem, implement the plans, trouble-shoot the problems, revise the procedures, analyze the data, write-up the results, and defend their conclusions. Along with learning the chemistry, students will develop experience with computer-interfaced instrumentation, computer-assisted data acquisition, and manipulation of large data sets using computers. These are all crucially important skills that must be developed in students training to be scientists. In the process, the students develop their critical thinking skills, their ability to handle new problems, their group abilities, and develop accurate and precise laboratory techniques that are necessary for successful completion of the projects.

Our goal is to engage undergraduates in cutting edge scientific research through a very structured guided-inquiry learning experience with the hope that they will be stimulated to the point of pursuing careers in science or engineering.