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Misconduct

Chemistry professors charged with making methamphetamine

Henderson State University chemists also charged with using drug paraphernalia

by Bethany Halford
November 19, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 46

09746-scicon2-bateman.jpg
Credit: Clark County Sheriff's Office
Terry David Bateman

Two chemistry professors at Henderson State University were arrested on Nov. 15 for allegedly making methamphetamine and using drug paraphernalia, according to a press release from the Clark County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Office. Terry David Bateman and Bradley Allen Rowland, both associate chemistry professors at HSU, have been on administrative leave since Oct. 11, said Tina V. Hall, a spokesperson for HSU, in a statement.

09746-scicon2-rowland.jpg
Credit: Clark County Sheriff's Office
Bradley Allen Rowland

According to Hall, one of HSU’s science buildings was closed on Oct. 8 after a report of a chemical odor. “Initial testing indicated an elevated presence of benzyl chloride in a laboratory,” Hall said. The building reopened on Oct. 29, following remediation work and after third-party testing indicated the building met occupancy standards.

Benzyl chloride is a popular compound for organic synthesis. It can be used as a precursor to make methamphetamine, says Donna J. Nelson, an organic chemistry professor at the University of Oklahoma and a consultant on the TV series “Breaking Bad,” which was about a high school chemistry teacher who begins making and selling methamphetamine. It is not clear if the professors used HSU’s labs to make methamphetamine.

Bateman finished his undergraduate studies at HSU in 2003 and completed his doctoral work in 2009 at the University of Arkansas, where he studied organic synthesis. He has been at HSU since 2009, according to his LinkedIn profile. Rowland, whose specialty is listed as theoretical chemistry on HSU’s chemistry faculty website, completed his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University in 2002 and finished his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. According to his Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, Rowland joined HSU’s faculty in 2014. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, which publishes C&EN.

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Comments
Dr Avnesh Sharma (November 20, 2019 8:44 PM)
Chemistry must be utilised for syncing life Not Altering.
Joseph A. D'Anna (November 22, 2019 12:41 AM)
Every profession will have, at least, some dishonest, corrupt people. It is especially disheartening, however, to see alleged criminality among scientists who should have developed critical thinking skills. These allegations are truly an embarrassment to our profession.
Dr. Paul C. Li (November 22, 2019 3:56 AM)
Dear Honorable Editor at C&EN:
The will of doing something bad could not be stopped by oneself only at the time he or she is forced to face what’s been done. American educational systems may be in need of 11th Commandment outside the Bible teachings.
I believe these professors are breathing the clean air, eat nutritious food and take healthy drinks everyday bestowed by our creator so as to keep our behavior, speech and even thought to be clean and healthy as what we eat, drink and breath.
They are in my prayers asking for a forgiveness and resurrection. Submitted to your judgement by a life long chemist in his early eighties. There are options to make a proper living outside the chemistry world.

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