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McGill Reporter
January 25, 2001 - Volume 33 Number 09
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To the editor:

The article on Patrick Charbonneau (January 5) caught brilliantly his tenacity, ability and ambition.

Before the summer of 1999, Patrick arrived at my office, and asked to work in my laboratory that summer. I pointed out that it was a waste of my money and his time to work in my laboratory with only the first year courses behind him.

He returned a week later to tell me that he had read the text for the quantum chemistry course he would take next year. I told him that reading a text might give him information but not the understanding to do research.

A few days later he returned having talked to my research team and informed me that he thought he could help solve some of our problems with his knowledge of computing. I said that we would try it for a month and see if the investment was worth it. He grinned and told me he had an NSERC summer research award, so it would only cost me $1,000!

The rest is history: He produced work that is in two papers being published by our team, "Energy Barriers to Rotation in Axially Chiral Analogues of 4-(dimethylamino) pyridine" by A.C. Spivey, P. Charbonneau, T. Fekner, D.H. Hochmuth, A. Maddaford, C. Malardie-Jugroot, A. Redgrave and M.A. Whitehead, joint work with the University of Sheffield, England, to be submitted to the Journal of Organic Chemistry and "Synthesis of a Pro-Drug: A Semi-Empirical PM3 Treatment" by P. Charbonneau and M.A. Whitehead.

He was a full and active member of the team through the summer and fall of 1999 and proved to be intelligent, amusing, friendly and argumentative not only in our research conferences but also in our social activities and even at the research team's surprise champagne and strawberry party one Sunday on the lower campus to celebrate my retirement and being promoted to emeritus professor.

We recommended him for the job in Georgia and we are all pleased that he got a paper out there.

The research team, Adam Dickie, Feli Rakotondradany, Roger Gaudreault, Cecile Malardie-Jugroot, Chris Williams and I, are happy to see the article on him and wish him all the best in his future career,

M.A. Whitehead
Emeritus Professor
Department of Chemistry

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