Neil Schore

Neil Schore

Photo Credits: CRYSTAL YE / COURTESY

After 43 years at UC Davis, Neil Schore, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Chemistry, still enjoys problem-solving

He was the first person in his family to go to college. He was the first person from his high school to go to the University of Pennsylvania. He chose chemistry as his major, and it became his way to connect to others. As Neil Schore, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Chemistry, prepares for his term to teach students at the UC Davis Quarter Abroad Pharmaceutical Chemistry in Taipei, Taiwan Program, he reflected on the moments leading him to his newest batch of students.

He still manages to steal time away, loading Hearthstone on his phone for a quick game of strategy. His son, Michael, got him into the game but Schore has amassed hundreds of collectible cards, purchasing new collectible cards after each in-game victory.

After a quick game, Schore looks forward to making plans with his students, such as their unanimous decision to see Marvel’s “Avengers: Endgame.” Even though his class eagerly saw the movie already, they are all planning to see it again, together.

This quarter abroad class is a result of Schore and Jacquelyn Gervay-Hague’s efforts to create a study abroad program for the sciences, allowing students to focus on three UC Davis pharmaceutical chemistry courses, or a full year’s curriculum, in one quarter along with a seminar series filled with members of the pharmaceutical industry. The classes are also open to students at Academia Sinica in Taipei.

“Neil Schore is an inspiring scholar,” said Jacquelyn Gervay-Hague, a professor in the UC Davis Department of Chemistry. “Beyond his enthusiasm for science, Neil brings art and music to the learning experience, encouraging students to tap into their own creativity.”

Schore’s path to chemistry started with a magic show, featuring exciting exploding pennies, at eight years old. As an only child living in one of the 15-story New York City projects, Schore liked to think about science problems at home, looking for science and math self-help books to read. He was especially fond of the “Science for Dummies” series.

In a time when the first satellites were launched into space and the United States competed against Russia in the Cold War, Schore knew he liked learning about chemistry, physics, math and astronomy. He liked the kind of science that demanded creativity and tangible solutions. Chemistry created a good match, where one could mix things together and see what happens.

Schore spent a lot of time being lost in college, finding his own way and relating to other students.

During his sophomore year, he found a great teacher and mentor in Madeleine Joullie, who encouraged him and two other students to identify problems to solve, then solve them. Their group of three built a friendship lasting them throughout undergraduate research and college, leading them to successful careers in chemistry.

Above all chemicals he has encountered, Schore’s favorite is Coenzyme Q10, a molecule existing in every person to help the body use oxygen, metabolizing it as people breathe.

Schore plans to retire from his full-time faculty position later this year. Even then, he hopes to continue his 43 years of professorship at UC Davis, inspiring creativity and problem-solving within the next generation of scientists.

Written by: Foxy Robinson  — science@theaggie.org