Kevin Olsen's Home Page.

Office:  Richardson 340
Telephone:  973-655-4076

I am responsible for installation, repair, calibration, and general maintenance of the department's laboratory instruments.
Please e-mail me with any instrumentation needs, problems, or calibration requirements.   OlsenK@Mail.Montclair.Edu  
Students needing assistance are always welcome.  The only dumb question is the one left unasked.


ssayer from Patience, WS Gilbert


Instrument and equipment inventory:

Spec 20 Inventory and calibration data
GC and HPLC Columns

Science Hall Room 317
Science Hall 317A
Science Hall 321

Major Instrumentation

To download a Text File of the inventory click here.

Operating instructions for selected instruments:

Barnstead model C2250 steam sterilizer

Care of the NMR Magnet

Spec 20 Operation, analog and digital

Hints, Tips, and Tricks for Using the Spec 20

Hints, tips, and Tricks for using the Varian Cary Eclipse Fluorescence Instrument

Nicolet FTIR Including Attenuated Reflectance Sampling Accessory

LC/MSD Data Analysis

Beckman DU-640 to PC Data Transfer

Molecular Devices V-max microplate reader.

Beckman P/ACE System

Clearing type D-2 and S-7 errors on the Beckman centrifuge.

Easy Internal Standard Calculations for HPLC

Repair and calibration data

Kendro CO2 Incubator in Science Hall 321
How to Perform the Molecular Devices Plate Reader Calibration

Gowanus Canal Research

Wharfs and other marine facilities on the Gowanus Canal as of 1965 and 1978

Map of the Gowanus Canal in 1965 (Courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers Port Series # 5)

Gowanus Canal Timeline and List of Superfund Sites as of 2007

Gowanus Canal sediment contamination analytical results for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination

The Gowanus Creek in the 1780's (Library of Congress)

Passaic River Data

List of Docks, Wharves, Shipyards, and Industrial Users of the Passaic River in 1965 and 1978.  Includes information about bulkhead and dock construction as well as the cargoes, railroad, and highway connections for each shipper.
(Courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers)

1965 Maps of the Passaic River at the junction of Newark Bay (south) (north)
1965 Maps of the Passaic River at Harrison Reach and Point-no-Point (east) (west)
1965 Map of the Passaic River at Newark and East Newark
1965 Map of the Passaic River at Kearny
1965 Map of the Passaic River at East Rutherford
1965 Map of the Passaic River at Wallington and Passaic.

Gateway National Recreation Area Research

PhD Dissertation chapters as PDF files:

Chapter 1, Introduction

Chapter 2, Materials and Methods

Chapter 3, Characterization of Sedimentary Organic Matter in the Gateway National Recreation Area by Pyrolysis GC/MS (TEXT) (ILLUSTRATIONS)

Chapter 4, Sedimentary Organic Matter in the Dundee Lake Section of the Passaic River by Pyrolysis GC/MS (TEXT) (ILLUSTRATIONS)

Chapter 5, Urban Sediment Management, Looking to the Future

PART TWO: Jamaica Bay – New York’s Conflicted Backyard – A Case Study in Urban Environmental Management. (TEXT) (ILLUSTRATIONS)

Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)  concentrations in Jamaica Bay.  National Park Service Study Number GATE-00174.  Research Permit Number GATE-2007-SCI-0002

Master Sampling Point Map for Jamaica Bay

Overview of Summer 2007 Sampling Program

Northwestern Corner of Jamaica Bay for Summer 2007 Sampling Program

Norton Basin Summer 2007 Sampling Points

Sailing on Jamaica Bay, 1896

Clamming on Long Island's southern shore 1886

Fish Oil processing plant on Barren Island, 1871

Army Corps of Engineers 1977 Port Series Maps of Jamaica Bay

Rockaway Inlet and the entrance to Jamaica Bay including Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend Bay, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Mill Basin, East Mill Basin, Gerritsen Creek, Gerritsen Inlet, Plumb Beach Channel, Dead Horse Bay, 1977

Western portion of Jamaica Bay including Barren Island (Floyd Bennett Field), Ruffle Bar, the Raunt, and Beach Channel, 1977

Northern and western portion of Jamaica Bay including Bergen Beach, Bergen Basin, Canarsie, Paerdegat Basin, Big Fishkill Channel, Yellow Bar Hassock, Pumpkin Patch Channel, Rulers Bar Hassock, and the western portion of Grassy Bay, 1977

Center portion of Jamaica Bay including Brant Point, Winhole Channel, Grass Hassock Channel, Grassy Bay, JFK International Airport,  Bergen Basin, 1977

Eastern portion of Jamaica Bay including Atlantic Beach, Bass Channel, Somerville Basin, Norton Basin, Motts Basin, Inwood Creek, Head of Bay, Grass Hassock Channel, 1977 (Note: This map does not show the Little Bay.  Little Bay opens onto the west shore of the Norton Basin.  The Edgemere Landfill (since closed) is located on the peninsula forming the western shore of Norton Basin.)

Key to wharves and docks in Jamaica Bay 1977

List of dredging permits issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers for Jamaica Bay prior to 1971

Map of pollution sources and general pollution distribution in Jamaica Bay as of 1970.  Includes sewer outfalls and landfills.

US Army Corps of Engineers 1999 Port Series Data on Jamaica Bay

List of wharves and docks in Jamaica Bay 1999

Map of all aviation fuel, petroleum products, and sewage sludge facilities as of 1999

Map of the eastern end of Jamaica Bay showing aviation fuel, petroleum products, and sewage sludge facilities as of 1999

Map of sand, gravel, stone, and cement facilities as of 1999

The Neighborhoods of Jamaica Bay

Map showing the approximate date when residential development began in the neighborhoods of Jamaica Bay

List of the neighborhoods around Jamaica Bay including data on the earliest residential developments and the mean age of the housing units

The years identified as "earliest suburban development) are those in which the first planned, large-scale, suburban tracts were first created.  This is only a rough guide to the age of the neighborhood and does not necessarily reflect the actual age of the housing stock or the majority of the developed land.  For example, Canarsie was a thriving village in the 1860s but was not specifically developed as a residential neighborhood until much later.  Springfield Gardens first attracted developers in the 1900s but underwent its greatest population growth in the 1920s. 

Note: The median age of the housing stock is based on the 2000 census.

The History of Jamaica Bay

Abstract of the Presentation: Jamaica Bay as New York City's Conflicted Backyard: Recreation And Refuse, Transportation And Trash, Wetlands And Wastelands.  Presented at the 28th Annual Drew Symposium of Industrial Archaeology in the New York - New Jersey Area.  Roebling Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archaeology, October 2008.

Student Exercises and Data Sets

Chem - 100 Graphing Exercises:

Part one Acids, bases and the pH scale

Part two Are Potassium and pH related in surface waters?
Part three Surface Water Temperatures in New Jersey for 2005
Preakness Brook Nitrate Determinations, Wayne Township, New Jersey

Weston Science Scholars, Aquatic Robotics, Summer 2007 Ben Grund and Tristan Sinofsky

Weston Science Scholars, From The Atlantic To The Watchungs: Exploring Environmental Chromatography, Summer 2008, Justine Appel and Mary Offutt-Reagin

Weston Science Scholars, The Great Sea Nettle Invasion And How We Helped, Summer 2010, Crystal Iton and Karim Conway

Weston Science Scholars, Exploring the Toms River Sediments, Summer 2012, Grace Link, Paul Benya, and Gabriel Schaffner

Electron micrographs of the sediments

Chromatograms showing sewage markers

Download the complete presentation.

Where do the Numbers Come From?  An introduction to water analysis chemistry for teachers grades 6 to 12.  Presented at the 2007 Watershed Educators Conference at the Willow School, June 26, 2007.

Blanks, Spikes, QC Samples, Matrix Spikes, and other types of quality control samples for the environmental laboratory (and other regulated laboratories) with easy instructions and explanations for calculating spike amounts and percent recovery.  Based on the New Jersey Administrative Code.

May 2005 HPLC Class

To see the Power Point Slides on line click here


Can the Atlantic Salmon be Brought Back to the Passaic River?  A Preliminary Environmental Model of PAH Chemodynamics and Their Likely Effect on Salmo salar

Index to the Highlander, the magazine of the North Jersey Highlands Historical Society.

The Montclair & Greenwood Lake Railroad.

The Atlantic & Hibernia Railroad.

Images of the Port of New York including proposals for what might have been.

Rail-Marine arrangements for coal delivery, Sewaren Power Plant as of 1957

Ship loading and unloading technologies which pre-date containers and container ships.  Includes use of hoists built into the dockside warehouses, railroad rotary coal dumpers, the Erie Railroad's rotary coal dumper loading a schooner, the West Shore Railroad in Weehawken, Banana Conveyors in the Port of Mobile, and New Jersey Tomato Boats.

New York City's 1898 steam powered catamaran used to dispose of ashes in the ocean.  The Cinderella was one of several vessels of this type.  Note the large bins used to hold the ashes on the platform between the two hulls.

The First Standard Gauge, Full Size Electric Locomotive in the World, Baltimore And Ohio Railroad, 1851.

This experimental locomotive was built by a Dr. Charles Grafton Page MD (1812 - ?).  It was powered by 100 zinc - acid batteries slung under the locomotive body.  The motor consisted of two pairs of electromagnets alternatively pulling on a piston which drove the wheel cranks.  This was referred to as an "axial" motor.  The engine measured 21 feet long, 15 feet high, with a five foot driver and 30-inch leading wheels.  It was financed with funds from the federal government (not the railroad) and Page's own money.  On its first and only trip, the locomotive reached 19 miles per hour at the start of her five mile run between Washington and Bladensburg, Maryland, on April 29th, 1851.

Selected topics in chemistry and chemical history

Who invented the use of chlorine to sterilize swimming pools and where was it first used?  A short abstract of a longer paper submitted to the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry.  This paper discusses the history of chlorine use for swimming pools in the United States.  It begins with the use of chlorine for potable water purification and explains how this technology was adapted for swimming pools.  Other topics include the relationship between post war polio outbreaks and chlorine treatments, the rise in the number of pools, and the search for sterilization methods which are chlorine free.

H. Julius Smith, Pompton Lakes Industrial Pioneer.  Biographical sketch and discussion of the role Smith played in the development of his community.  His factory later became the nucleus of the DuPont works in Pompton Lakes.

Acetic Acid, Industrial Vinegar, and Jersey Lightning.  Article describing the production of Apple Brandy and its conversion  to vinegar  for industrial use.

Early Investigations of Methane in New Jersey.  Article reproduced from the Indicator describing the various investigations into methane (or swamp gas) and how the gas was thought related to Yellow Fever.

Edison invented the light bulb, but Who Invented the Twisty Little Bit of Wire Inside the Light Bulb?  Article reproduced from the Indicator.  A study of how Thomas Edison, Edward Weston, and other Victorian inventors attempted to produce a long-lasting and reliable filament for the light bulb.

Seashores, Soil Chemistry, and Hadrosaurs, Or how the need for a good soil conditioner lead to the discovery of New Jersey's State Dinosaur.  Article reproduced from the Indicator.   Before the advent of commercial fertilizers, New Jersey farmers used Greensand Marls as a soil conditioner.  Because it was formed in marine environments, the sediments containing this mineral contain the bones of dinosaurs that lived in riverine  and estuarine habitats.

When Newark was America's Celluloid Capital
.  Article reproduced from the Indicator.  During the second half of the 1800's and into the early 1900's, Newark, New Jersey was at the center of the celluloid industry.  A number of important discoveries and innovations were made there.

Science on the Hill, Chemists Who Have Served in the United States Congress
.   Article reproduced from the November 2006 issue of the Indicator.  A list of chemists who have served in Congress from the late 1700's to the present day.  (Note: This piece appeared before the 2006 mid-term elections.)

Not Necessarily Shoddy, What Every New Jersey Chemist Should Know About the Marvelous Science Between the Sheep and the Sweater.   Article reproduced from the March 2007 issue of the Indicator.   New Jersey was a major center of wool production and this piece describes some of the chemistry necessary to prepare wool cloth.

A Snapshot of Chemistry in the Fall of 1908.  Article reproduced from the October 2008 issue of the Indicator.   This article describes the significant discoveries and the important issues facing chemistry at the time, such as pure foods and electric cars.

Black Bones and Vitriol, or how a small farm near Newark helped to launch an agricultural revolution.  A two-part article reproduced from the  Indicator.   It explores some of the discoveries and developments in fertilizer technologies during the 1800s, especially those made by James Jay Mapes, a chemist active in New York City and Newark, New Jersey.  

CHEMISTRY SAVES CHRISTMAS, ENHANCES HANUKKAH, and LIGHTS UP THE SOLSTICE Or, Exploring the Science Behind the Lights and the Tinsel.  Article reproduced from the  Indicator.

Finding Pure Drinking Water in 1876, Cutting Edge Analytical Technology Used by the New Jersey Geological Survey.   In 1876 cities in Northern New Jersey faced a water supply crisis.  The Passaic River was no longer usable as a source of potable water and alternatives had to be found.  But at the time the germ theory of disease was just beginning to be accepted and there was no clear understanding of microbial action.  The chemists at the New Jersey Geological Survey employed chemical methods to evaluate water supplies for disease-causing contamination.  Their research lead to the development of water supply reservoirs in the New Jersey Highlands.  Article reproduced from the  Indicator.

Making the World Safe For Democracy but Putting the Neighbors at Risk.   The outbreak of the First World War in the summer of 1914 created shortages of all kinds for America's chemical laboratories, academic programs, and chemical industries as German imports were cut off.  Accidents and fires resulted from the country's chemical industry having to cope with handling large quantities of unfamiliar materials.  Inventors set buildings on fire and forced the evacuation of their neighbors as they tried to find substitutes for the previously imported items.  Article reproduced from the  Indicator.

New Jersey and TV, More than the Sopranos.  New Jersey was the scene of many important technical developments in the field of television and television broadcasting.  Several early television manufacturers were located in the state and Jersey City even staged a city-wide demonstration of television technology in 1930.  Article reproduced from the Indicator.

Can a City of 5,000,000 Recycle 60% of its Organic Waste?  Lessons from 1910 New York,” Poster presented at Montclair State University’s International Symposium on Sustainability Science: the Emerging Paradigm and the Urban Environment, Montclair State University, October 2010

A Chemist Looks At Skiing. When I was a very young man I had an aunt living in Norway who eschewed all modern technology and still used rabbit skins on the bottoms of her cross country skis.  For the rest of us the sport of skiing, from snowmaking to ski bases, uses a plethora of advanced materials and high tech engineering.  Article reproduced from the Indicator.

Chemistry at the New Jersey Shore.  Charcoal, iron, paper, tar, turpentine, and magnesium industries all were located at the Jersey Shore.  Article reproduced from the Indicator.

The Chemistry Tricks Behind our Halloween Treats, Article reproduced from the Indicator.

Science in the Subway, from Metal Soaps to String Theory.  The New York City subways were the scene of a number of scientific studies involving public health, odors, corrosion protection, cosmic radiation, and even a play about String Theory.

Hail to the Chief (Chemist) who’s the leader of other nations.  In an earlier essay I had explored the question about members of the United States Congress that had been trained as chemists. At the time of this writing, the party conventions are over and the presidential election campaigns for 2012 are just beginning to ramp up. It seems like a good time to ask which heads of state were trained as scientists or engineers.  Article reproduced from the Indicator.

Photographs of Science Laboratories at Montclair State College circa 1958.

Photograph of DuPont explosives manufacturing at Haskell, New Jersey during the First World War.

Photograph of DuPont's aerial tramway system at Haskell, New Jersey during the First World War.

Photograph of women assembling blasting caps and fuses at the DuPont explosives manufacturing facility in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey during the First World War.

A Short History of the Laboratory Robot, Rosie the Robot – Laboratory Automation in the Second World War, and The First 110 Years of Laboratory Automation.

Toilet Secrets of 1897.  Reprint of a newspaper article describing late Victorian cosmetics formulations with commentary on the ingredients.

300 Years of Assaying American Iron and Iron Ores.  Paper originally published in the Bulletin for the History of Chemistry.  It describes the role of the assayer in the growth of the American iron industry from the 1600's to the early 1900's.

National Science Foundation grants are a major source of funding for all types of research.  But who were the first scientists to receive NSF grants?  What were the first NSF grants for?  Who received them?  What role did the Cold War play in the creation of the NSF?  When were the first NSF grants made?  How did Congress nearly stop the NSF from getting established?

1950's Era power plant designs including a proposal for a Seagram's distillery that would have provided steam for the distillation process, heat for drying, and electricity.

Waste to Energy Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Technologies Especially as Relates to New Jersey

Manufacturing laboratory ware at Kimble's New Jersey plant, 1928

hotzi the Dachshund

My Schatzi - (Das Wunderhund) - Miniature Dachshund
(Dachshunds Uber Alles!)

   Return to chemistry department home page