Department of Chemistry



Eugene Wagner

Senior Lecturer


107E Chevron Science Center

Department of Chemistry Chevron Science Center 219 Parkman Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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Research Overview

Dr. Wagner joined our faculty in the fall of 2000 to teach in the General Chemistry Program. He was awarded a B.S. from Illinois State University and work in industry for several years as a Plastics Engineer before returning back to ISU to obtain an M.S. in Chemistry. He went on to the University of Florida where he was awarded a Ph.D. degree in Physical Chemistry and did his post-doc at Wake Forest University.  Dr. Wagner now teaches in the physical and general chemistry undergraduate programs and is the Director of the Physical Chemistry Laboratories.

Alternative Fuels Research

Interest in using unaltered vegetable oil as a fuel in diesel engines has experienced an increase due to uncertainty in the crude oil market supply and the detrimental effects petroleum fuels have on the environment.  Unaltered vegetable oil blended with petroleum fuels is less expensive, uses less energy to produce and is more environmentally friendly compared to petroleum diesel or biodiesel.  Our ultimate long range goal is to create practical, economical, and environmentally friendly biofuels by blending waste vegetable oil (WVO) with other petroleum fuels.  While using neat vegetable oil makes it easier to control oil physical properties, the cost is greater than obtaining  WVO and processing it to remove particulates and water.  Further, using WVO eliminates the debate and concern over using these resources for food versus fuel and provides a means to recycle a waste product.

Chemical Education Research - Standards-Based Instruction

Traditional chemistry teaching typically relies heavily on lecture in which the presentation of chemical concepts and equations are scribed, memorized, and reproduced by students. A Standards-Based approach to instruction includes, but is not limited to, the incorporation of inquiry, reflection, critical discourse and collaborative learning experiences. In such an environment, chemistry instructors become facilitators, helping students in the construction of their knowledge instead of dispensers of facts and concepts. In addition, the traditional lecture becomes a student-centered environment. The major goal of this work is to develop and implement a curriculum and an approach to teaching chemistry that is aligned with the National Science Education Standards. The NSES have been shown to have a significant and positive affect on student performance and attitude when it is implemented into the curriculum.


“Diesel Vehicle Performance on Unaltered Waste Soybean Oil Blended with Petroleum Fuels,” Wagner, E.P.; Lambert, P.D.; Moyle, T.M.; Koehle, M.A., Fuel, Vol. 5, 2013, Pages 757
“How Green is your Fuel? Creation and comparison of automotive biofuels,” Wagner, E.P.; Moyle, T.M.; Koehle, M.A.; Lambert, P.D., Journal of Chemical Education, Vol. 87, 2010, Pages 711
“Predicting temperature dependent viscosity for unaltered waste soybean oil blended with petroleum fuels,” Wagner, E.P.; Koehle, M.A.; Moyle, T.M.; Lambert, P.D., Journal of the American Oil Chemists Society, Vol. 87, 2010, Pages 453-459
“Predicting Students At-Risk in General Chemistry Using Pre-Semester Assessments and Demographic Information,” Wagner, E.P.; Sasser, H.; DiBiase, W.J., Pages Journal of Chemical Education, in Press
“Aligning General Chemistry Laboratory with Lecture at a Large University,” DiBiase, W.J.; Wagner, E.P., Pages School Science and Mathematics, Accepted for Publication
“Development and evaluation of a standards-based approach to instruction in general chemistry,” Wagner, E.P.; DiBiase, W.J., Electronic Journal for Science Education, Vol. 6, 2001,
“Comparison Study of the Efficacy of a Mole Ratio Flow Chart to Dimensional Analysis for Teaching Reaction Stoichiometry,” Wagner, E.P., School Science and Mathematics, 2001, Pages 101, 35
“Revitalization of the General Chemistry Curriculum Using Active Learning Techniques and Integrated Laboratory Components,” Wagner, E.P.; Dibiase, W.J., Electronic Journal for Science Education, 2001, Pages 6, EJSE
“Internet Based Assessments and Grade Report,” Wagner, E.P., Journal of College Science Teaching, 2001, Pages 30, 454
“3-Dimensional Density Profiles of Sputtered Atoms and Ions in a Direct-Current Glow-Discharge Experimental Study and Direct Comparison with Calculations,” Bogaerts, A.; Wagner, E. P.; Smith, B. W.; Winefordner, J. D.; Pollmann, D.; Harrison, W. W.; Gijbels, R., Spectrochimica Acta, Part B, 1997, Pages 52, 205
“Ultratrace Determination of Lead in Whole Blood Using Electrothermal Atomization Laser Excited Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometry,” Wagner, E. P.; Smith, B. W.; Winefordner, J. D., Analytical Chemistry, 1996, Pages 68, 3199
“The Status of and Perspectives on Microwave and Glow Discharges for Spectrochemical Analysis,” Winefordner, J. D.; Wagner, E. P.; Smith, B. W., Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectroscopy, 1996, Pages 11, 689
“Construction and Evaluation of a Visible Spectrometer Using Digital Micromirror Spatial Light Modulation,” Wagner, E. P.; Smith, B. W.; Madden, S.; Winefordner, J. D.; Mignardi, M., Applied Spectroscopy, 1995, Pages 49, 1715