Dr. Gary F. aka Dr. Demento aka The Evil Mechzilla earned his baccalaureate (1988) and his PhD (1993) in Chemistry
from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of 18 papers in the primary literature
, including four full papers in the Journal of Organic Chemistry
and one in The Journal of the American Chemical Society, was the lead author of a chapter in an American Chemical Society monograph on reducing agents, holds two patents in chemistry, and has created an extensive library of general and organic chemistry lecture notes and laboratory guidelines for the undergraduate curriculum.
Dr. F. has taught chemistry at several community colleges, four year colleges, and universities and has compiled a stellar 24-year teaching record. Dr. F. has over 30 years experience as a one-on-one tutor with students from the elementary school to the college level. His reputation for in-depth coverage of lecture material, superb and engaging lectures, fair and unbiased treatment of all students, and his ability to guide students into rewarding and productive undergraduate research positions while they complete their bachelor's degree requirements routinely results in students approaching him to ask when he will be teaching chemistry classes they need to take. He is passionate about chemistry and has a unique ability to convey that passion to the students he works with both informally and through special topics lectures given in all of the chemistry classes he teaches.
Although Dr. F. believes that "drill and kill" problem solving sessions are necessary for developing an efficient, almost reflexive approach to problem solving, his primary emphasis is always on the why behind the subject matter, not the mechanics of problem solving. Dr. F has consistently found that those students who grasp “the why” can easily learn the mechanics. He is constantly reminding his students that chemistry is NOT converting a bunch of numbers into other numbers but, rather, understanding WHY molecules do what they do when molecules interact: the focus of his lectures is predominantly on learning to “think like a molecule”.
When he isn’t teaching, Dr. F. is consumed by his addictions to history
, backpacking, and playing jazz, classical, blues, and old rock ‘n’ roll guitar
and bass. He has been known to offer extra credit points to any student who can either do more bar pushups or bench press more than he can but, so far, hasn’t had to award any such points.