Maria Zdanovskaia

Credentials: Ph.D. Candidate

Position title: 5th Year Graduate Student


Phone: (608) 262-0599

Chemistry Building, Room 6212

Maria Zdanovskaia dancing

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Maria Zdanovskaia received a B.S. in Psychology and Certificate in Mathematics from UW – Madison, but decided to pursue physical organic chemistry in graduate school.  She has been studying the rotational spectroscopy of small aromatic heterocycles and substituted aromatic compounds.   She has employed organic syntheses, rotational spectroscopy, and computational chemistry to determine the precise equilibrium (reSE) structures of 1H- and 2H-1,2,3,-triazoles, thiazole, and pyridine.  These precise equilibrium structures use the rotational constants of many isotopologues and coupled-cluster calculations to produce the most accurate molecular structures possible by current methods.

Additionally, Maria has measured, assigned  as well the rotational spectra of benzonitrile and its isomer phenyl isocyanide, two compounds of astrochemical interest.  She has obtained least-squares fits of their two lowest energy vibrationally excited states, which form a Coriolis-coupled dyad.  These dyad fits allow for a highly precise determination of the vibrationally energy difference due to the transitions involved in sharp resonances and nominally forbidden interstate transitions.  Using a sample of 2-cyano-1,3-butadiene prepared by Sam K., Maria has obtained the rotational spectrum of the ground state and the Coriolis-coupled dyad of its two lowest energy fundamentals for the first time.

Maria assisted in the measurement, assignment, and least-squares fitting 2-chloropyridine and 2-chloropyrazine.  Due to the many well-isolated vibrationally excited states accessible for these molecules, spectroscopic constants for over 20 vibrational states were obtained.  These works allowed for a comparison between the experimental and computational vibration-rotation interaction constants.

Maria is also engaged in developing materials for chemical education using computational molecular modeling, including a website generated for organic laboratories at collaborating community colleges that is free for use by all interested individuals.  She has also worked with a couple of high school teachers to help implement the use of computational chemistry at the high school level.  When not doing chemistry, Maria enjoys dancing, jigsaw puzzles, various crafts, writing Excel macros, and instigating innocent mischief.

Recent Publication:

Zdanovskaia, M. A.; Esselman, B. J.; Woods, R. C.; McMahon, R. J., The 130 – 370 GHz Rotational Spectrum of Phenyl Isocyanide (C6H5NC). J. Chem. Phys. 2019, 151, 024301.  View Article