LaMattina Lecture Series

Vicente Talanquer, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
University of Arizona


Exploring Reasoning to Construct Thinking

April 20, 2017
11:10 a.m.
Parsons N104, Iddles Auditorium


Vicente Talanquer received his Ph.D. (1992) in chemistry from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. He completed postdoctoral studies in the area of physical chemistry (statistical mechanics) at the University of Chicago (1992-1995). Dr. Talanquer moved to the University of Arizona (UA) in 2000 and became the first University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the UA in 2015.

Dr. Talanquer has received a variety of teaching awards during his academic career. In 2006, he was awarded the Five-Star Teaching Award, the only university-wide award at the UA in which the nominees and winners are selected exclusively by students. Later he received other two university-wide awards for his undergraduate teaching efforts, including the Leicester & Kathryn Sherrill Creative Teaching Award (2007) and the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize in Teaching (2012). The UA further recognized Dr. Talanquer’s work in science education through the Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award in 2015. At the national level, Vicente was the recipient of the prestigious James Flack Norris Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Teaching of Chemistry awarded in 2012 by the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society. In 2015, he was name Arizona Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation.

Vicente’s research and teaching practice is focused on undergraduate chemistry education. He has published over 90 peer reviewed and invited papers where he has explored the conceptual difficulties that students face when learning chemistry and the effect of different teaching strategies on student understanding. He has also investigated prospective teachers’ reasoning and practices. His work has been published in major educational journals, such as the Journal of Chemical Education, the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and Science Education. Dr. Talanquer’s research has been referenced in the book Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering by the National Research Council.

Dr. Talanquer has applied the results of his educational research to the development of innovative curricula for both undergraduate chemistry education and science teacher preparation. He has been the leader in the design and implementation of the innovative “Chemical Thinking” curriculum which is currently in use in all general chemistry sections serving more than 2500 science and engineering majors every year at the UA. This evidence-based curriculum was recently highlighted in the publication Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering by the National Research Council. Additionally, he has authored 12 textbooks used at different educational levels in the US and Mexico.