FlipSide Face – Ron Warnet


by Tara Maurer

On Friday, April 29, the Iowa Academy of Science will award Professor of Chemistry Ron Warnet with the Distinguished Iowa Science Teaching Award at Wartburg College.

Warnet, who has been a professor at Simpson College for 42 years, was hired by Clifford Meints, George Washington Carver Emeritus Professor of Chemistry.

“He has been very good at relaying both his knowledge and his enthusiasm to students,” Meints said. “He is interested in research along with teaching, but it doesn’t detract in any way from his teaching.”

Currently, Warnet is working on two research projects at Simpson. The first uses the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) that Simpson acquired last year. The second is a project that involves folding DNA to create “DNA Origami.”

“It’s (“DNA Origami”) a scientific discovery that’s at the very beginning before people have even figured out what to do with it,” Warnet said.

Sophomore Stephen Henrich is researching “DNA Origami” alongside Warnet. Henrich said his team is currently designing a maple leaf out of DNA.

“Dr. Warnet and I both read through the literature,” Henrich said. “He is very knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics and is always eager to dig deeper into the material.”

Senior Raelene Main, who does research with Warnet using the AFM, agrees, adding that Warnet is “approachable” and “fascinating.”

“He makes class enjoyable because he always has some interesting story about growing up, cooking or stories about his days in college,” Main said.

When Warnet isn’t teaching or researching, he enjoys cooking, gardening and traveling.

“I’m a mean-good pie maker,” Warnet said. “I love to bake, [and] I make a lot of my own bread.”

Warnet also likes to donate his time by cooking for the End-of-the-Month meal, an effort to provide a meal each month for members of Warren County. He also bakes different items for Catholic Worker and volunteers for a week each summer at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.