Dr. Pavia's Research

Donald Pavia, PhD

(360) 650-3155

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My current areas of interest are:

I. Microscale Organic and Modern Instrumentation in the Undergraduate Curriculum.

I am interested in developing new methods and experiments for the undergraduate and upper-division organic laboratories that involve NMR (proton, carbon, 2D), FT-IR, GC-MS, HPLC, and computer modeling and simulation techniques. I have a continuing interest in the development of new small scale and microscale teaching methods, and the improvement of old ones.


II. Computer-Assisted Instructional Materials for Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopy.
Particular interests include:

Producing highly interactive programs to teach the concepts of organic chemistry and spectroscopy (computer programming).
Creating multimedia instructional materials (PowerPoint, CD-ROM).
Computer molecular modeling of organic reactions and stereochemistry.


III. Synthesis and Autoxidative and Photochemical Rearrangements of Valence Tautomeric Compounds.

Current work is focused on the two types of systems shown below.

molecule diagram

Variations of system I have been most studied with a view to understanding the mechanism of rearrangements such as those shown below for II oxidizing to IV and of III undergoing photochemical rearrangement to V. Systems with several patterns of substitution have been studied. Current mechanistic work would include tracer work on these mechanism using carbon-13 NMR and non-radioactive labeling techniques. Current synthetic work is focused on variants of system IA and the nitrogen-containing system II.

molecular reaction

These projects involve organic synthesis, structure proof using modern spectroscopy, and the investigation of mechanisms.

View tetraphenylepoxycyclopentadienone with your RasMol viewer.


IV. Writing Undergraduate Textbooks for Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopy.

I am currently involved in an on-going project as a co-author with Professors Kriz and Lampman (both at WWU), in a series of organic chemistry textbooks. A fourth co-author, Randall G. Engel, cooperated in the laboratory textbooks (1-4). Included among the titles are:

Introduction to Organic Laboratory Techniques: A Contemporary Approach (1976,1982,1988).
Introduction to Organic Laboratory Techniques: A Small Scale Approach (1998,2005).
Introduction to Organic Laboratory Techniques: A Microscale Approach (1989,1995,1999).
Techniques in the Organic Laboratory (2002).
Introduction to Spectroscopy (1979,1996,2001).
Organic Chemistry (a manuscript for a lecture text in organic chemistry).

Book #1 morphed into Book #2 in 1998, and has been in print for over 30 years (5 editions). At this time, the manuscript for a lecture textbook in organic chemistry (#6) is being tested at WWU and is still undergoing development. See the Pavia-Lampman-Kriz Homepage for more information.