Mika selected as Adjunct Professor of the Year 2021!

The joint Academic Day of the staff of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University was celebrated on March 25, 2021. The Academic Day is held annually at the end of March in honor of the Royal Academy of Turku, founded in 1640. The recipient of the Vuoden dosentti (Adjunct Professor of the year) diploma is also announced on that day.

This year, Turun Yliopistojen Dosenttiyhdistys ry (The Adjunct Professors’ Society of the Universities of Turku) society selected Mika Lastusaari, the leader of our research group’s photonic materials team, as the Adjunct Professor of the year. Brilliant work and congratulations, Mika!

Mika at an NBC symposium giving a presentation. Credits Marko Junttila.

Tiina Mahlamäki, President of the Turun Yliopistojen Dosenttiyhdistys ry (The Adjunct Professors’ Society of the Universities of Turku) society, said in her introduction that the selection criteria have emphasized not only the Adjunct Professor’s academic merits but also social impact and interaction.

Ari Lehtonen from the society continued with detailed description about Mika’s achievements: “Mika is an active researcher and has published almost 200 articles on inorganic materials chemistry, most of all photonic materials and light-emitting materials. He has produced a large number of new luminescent materials with many practical applications and has also filed many patents on these materials. In addition, he has studied natural luminescent materials: the well-known Bologna stone and hackmanite minerals, and solved the mystery of the luminescent properties of these materials.

Mika has also published a lot of research on learning and teaching chemistry, and the way he works is well illustrated by the fact that he started university pedagogical studies but did not settle for 10 credits or even 60 credits: he did his second dissertation on the subject. Not only is Mika a good researcher and a good teacher, he also knows how to compose, sing and play guitar, and he has composed and produced the theme song for the Inorganic Materials Chemistry Research Group and the group’s music video on YouTube.

Public outreach lecture about chemistry

As a public outreach, Adj. Prof. Mika Lastusaari had a presentation about chemistry in one of Turku Teacher Training School’s IB line’s Integrated Science course visitor lectures. Hannah and Sami also got to tell why they have come to study chemistry and what inspires them, and also demonstrated color change and afterglow with the compulsory praise for inorganic chemistry! The “set” is shown in the photos.

Anssi Peuronen has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor

Anssi Peuronen, PhD, was appointed Adjunct Professor by Rector’s decision on January 12, 2021. We interviewed him with three questions:

1. What is your specialty in the field of inorganic chemistry and what interests you the most?

My interest lies in structural research and the study of how the information of the exact atomic structure of a compound/material as well as its organisation in the solid state can be utilised to understand and predict its properties and used in the design of new functional materials. In particular, I focus on the study of crystalline materials using X-ray crystallography, albeit other methods such as NMR, mass spectrometry, and computational chemistry are also important in my research. My current research topics include ion-selective supramolecular compounds, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) and catalytically active compounds wherein determining the exact atomic structure is often particularly important.

2. How did you end up in Turku?

I am originally from an area called Pohjanmaa (Ostrobothnia), but I attended a university for the first time in Jyväskylä, Department of Chemistry, in the early 2000s. After graduating with a master’s degree (2009), I worked at the University of Jyväskylä’s Department of Chemistry as an Assistant and later as a University Teacher and a Doctoral student. My dissertation on Inorganic and Analytical chemistry was completed in 2014, after which I worked as a Postdoctoral Researcher in a project funded by the Academy of Finland (2014–2018) in the research group of Manu Lahtinen and as a visiting researcher in the research group of Professor Kari Rissanen. I joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Turku with the help of postdoctoral funding granted by the Academy of Finland in 2018. While working in Turku, I paid a 6-month research visit to the University of Sheffield, in Professor Lee Brammer‘s research group. After my postdoctoral term, I will continue in the Inorganic Materials Chemistry research group as a University Teacher.

3. What do you tend to do in your free time?

I spend my free time with my two kids and by planning home renovation projects. Consuming music and producing music-like sounds as well as outdoor activities, fishing, and dreaming of a classic car are my favourite hobbies.

Anna from Turku Vocational Institute

In addition to the motivated BSc students introduced in the last post, we have had the honour to have student Anna Koleshnikova, supervised by Mika, Isabella and Emilia, from Turku Vocational Institute (Turun ammatti-instituutti) conducting her on-the-job learning period with us since the beginning of August. She has used and learned a plethora of instruments and analysis techniques, including measuring hackmanites with a luminance meter, a thermoluminescence reader, XRF, XRD, a thermogravimeter and a portable spectrometer. She has also learned to synthesize NaYF₄ via a solid-state reaction route.

Anna Koleshnikova.

Anna will be working in our team until October 7, after which she will continue her studies at the vocational institute. We want to thank Anna already at this point for helping us in conducting measurements both effectively and untiringly!

Bachelor of Science students 2019

A fresh new academic year has started with some fresh new people: the motivated BSc students had a flying start, rolling their lab coat sleeves already at the beginning of September and having their work done quickly and effectively. Me, Isabella and Ari are supervising their work, which luckily doesn’t require much overseeing since the students are smart and super self-directing. We warmly welcome Nina, Samu and Saara to carry out their BSc labs here at IMC.

From left to right: BSc students Nina Rehnberg, Samu Raunio and Saara Pellinen.

Bachelor of Science students 2018

During the months of November and December we have had the privilege to host students for their Bachelor of Science laboratory work. We hope you have enjoyed the laboratory work and its ups and downs and continue with us further in your studies. There is lots of interesting research ahead!

From left to right: Matti, Teppo, Roosa, Otto and Herkko. Veera is unfortunately missing from the picture.

New publication about learning approaches

If you’re interested in teaching and learning you can check out this new publication about students learning approaches by Mika and his collaborators.

Lastusaari, M., Laakkonen, E., and Murtonen, M., ChemApproach: validation of a questionnaire to assess the learning approaches of chemistry students, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. 17 (2016) 723-730.
Read online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C5RP00216H

UTUPS helps with pedagogical support

A new teaching enviroment has been launched to help with university pedagogical studies for university teachers and doctoral students at the University of Turku. If you’re clever enough you can spot familiar faces when browsing at the pages or looking the videos. 🙂

UTUPS news in intranet (in Finnish, only UTU accounts)
http://utupedasupport.utu.fi/ is the link to the teaching enviroment for those in need. Password can be found from the news page above (only UTU accounts).