Baum, Clayton


Personal Overview

Dr. Baum was raised in Falls Church, VA and received his undergraduate degree from Williams College in 1968. His graduate education was at Princeton University, followed by postdoctoral research at Florida State University. He was a visiting faculty member at Bowdoin College before accepting a permanent position at Florida Institute of Technology in 1979. In 2002, Dr. Baum was a NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellow working on fiber optic sensors in the Technology Implementation Branch, Spaceport Engineering and Technology, John F. Kennedy Space Center. His research interests have centered on molecular spectroscopy and computational chemistry.

Educational Background

B.A., Chemistry, Williams College (Advisor: William R. Moomaw) 1968
M.A., Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, Princeton University (Advisor: Donald S. McClure) 1976
Postdoctoral Fellow, Florida State University (Advisor: Michael Kasha) 1974-77

Current Courses

Physical Chemistry at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Professional Experience

Dr. Baum has more than 45 years of experience in molecular spectroscopy including postdoctoral research at Florida State University. He has been a NASA/ASEE Faculty Fellow involved in research at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. He has been an instructor in summer courses for industrial, academic and government scientists on "Fluorescence Spectroscopy: Techniques and Applications". Dr. Baum has taught courses in undergraduate and graduate physical chemistry and general chemistry at Florida Tech for more than 35 years.

Current Research


Hydrogen bonding occurs in the structure or environment of many biological systems. Therefore, much of our research has focused on the influence of hydrogen bonding on the spectral properties of molecules and an understanding of how hydrogen bonds are affected when a participating molecule is excited to various electronic levels by the absorption of light. For example, the role of hydrogen bonding in emission quenching and molecular recognition is being explored. The competition between energy transfer, electron transfer, proton transfer and hydrogen atom transfer is being examined. This project involves the synthesis by Dr. Alan Brown's research group of novel molecules that contain matched donor-acceptor pairs and photophysical studies of these molecules by our group. A related project with Dr. Brown is the development of sensors that are sensitive, selective, reversible and provide real-time measurements. The combination of fluorescence (which is sensitive and selective) and hydrogen bonding (which is selective and reversible) should allow this aim to be accomplished. One aspect involves the development of a sensor for the low-level detection of hydrazine.

Another collaboration in our department, with Dr. Yi Liao, is the study of compounds synthesized by Dr. Liao’s group that act as reversible metastable photoacids. An appropriate choice of irradiation wavelength can result in a large change in pH for extended periods of time that can be reversed with the choice of a second wavelength. This pH change can influence a variety of chemical reactions. Physical and computational studies by our group serve to better understand the mechanism of these reversible processes and predict the most effective compounds.

A major computational collaboration is with Dr. Joel Olson in our department and Dr. Mark Novak in South Dakota. We are modeling tryptanthrin and its derivatives adsorbed on graphite, with synthesis by Dr. Novak's group and Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) studies by Dr. Olson's group. We also have developed an STM simulator that provides both topographical and barrier height images in very good agreement with experiment. In the process we have experimentally verified the validity of the most recent quantum mechanical models. Another computational project is investigating the mechanisms of reactions involving high oxidation states of iron in support of experimental results obtained by Dr. Virender Sharma, now at Texas A&M University.

Selected Publications

“Novel Computational Study on π-Stacking to Understand Mechanistic Interactions of Tryptanthrin Analogues with DNA”,R. J. Terryn III, H.W. German,T. M. Kummerer, R. R. Sinden, J. C. Baum, and M. J. Novak, Toxicol. Mech. Methods, accepted, 24 , 73-79 (2014).

“Organic matter source discrimination by humic acid characterization: Synchronous scan fluorescence spectroscopy and ferrate (VI)”, C. Horst, V. K. Sharma, J. C. Baum, and M. Sohn, Chemosphere, 90, 2013 (2013)

“Surface behavior and imaging of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital of indolo[2,1-b]quinazoline-6,12-dione (tryptanthrin) via scanning tunneling microscopy”, K. Sriraman, M.J. Novak, J.C. Baum, A. Herron, J.A. Olson, Surface Science, 616, 110 (2013).

“Computational Chemistry Studies on the Carbene Hydroxymethylene”, C. J. Marzzacco, J. C. Baum, J. Chem. Educ., 88, 1667 (2011).

 "Research Progress in the Development of the Electrochemical Synthesis of Ferrate(VI)", Z. Mácová, K.Bouzek, J. Híveš, M. Benová, V. K. Sharma,R. J. Terryn, J. C. Baum,Electrochimica Acta,, 54, 2673 (2009).

"Investigating the Thermodynamics of Charge-Transfer Complexes - A Physical Chemistry Experiment", J. C. Baum., C. J. Marzzacco, C. Kendrow, J. Chem. Educ., 86, 1330 (2009). 

 "Laser Measurement of the Speed of Sound in Gases. A Novel Approach to Determining Heat Capacity Ratios and Gas Composition", J.C. Baum, R.N. Compton, C.S. Feigerle, J. Chem. Educ., 85, 1565 (2008).

"Scanning Tunneling Microscopy of
8-Fluoroindolo[2,1-b]quinazolin-6,12-dione (8-Fluorotryptanthrin) at the Graphite-Solution Interface: Fully Resolved Molecular Orbitals.", R.E. Gilman, M.J. Novak, J.C. Baum, J.A. Olson, J. Phys. Chem. C, 112, 14545 (2008).

"A Fluorescence Technique to Determine Low Concentrations of Ferrate(VI)", N.N. Noorhasan-Smith, V.K. Sharma, J.C. Baum, in "Ferrates. Synthesis, Properties and Applications in Water and Wastewater Treatment", V. Sharma, Ed., ACS Symposium Vol. 985, p. 145. (2008)

"Size Matters: Room Temperature P-C Bond Formation Through C-H Activation in m-Terphenyldiiodophosphines", A.A. Diaz, B. Buster, D. Schomisch, M.A. Khan, J.C. Baum, R.J. Wehmschulte,Inorganic Chemistry, 47, 2858 (2008).

"Ferrate(VI) and ferrate(V) oxidation of cyanide, thiocyanate, and copper(I) cyanide,V.K. Sharma, R.A. Yngard, D.E. Cabelli, J.C. Baum, Rad. Phys. Chem., 77, 761 (2008).

"Scanning tunneling microscopy of indolo[2,1-b]quinazoline-6,12-dione (tryptanthrin) on HOPG: Evidence of adsorption-induced stereoisomerization", M.J. Novak, J.C. Baum, J.W. Buhrow, J.A. Olson, Surface Science 600, 269 (2006).

"Fluorescent-enhancement sensing of ammonia and hydrazines via disruption of the internal hydrogen bond in a carbazolopyridinophane", A.B. Brown, T.L. Gibson, J.C. Baum, T. Ren, T.M. Smith, Sensors and Actuators B 110, 8 (2005).

"Hydrazine/nitrogen dioxide fiber optic sensor", A.S. Andrawis, J. Santiago, R.C. Young and J.C. Baum, Proceedings of the SPIE, 5502, 239 (2004).