Whitman's Chemistry Faculty are dedicated teachers and scholars. With our small class sizes, students are able to easily interact with our award-winning faculty in the classroom, laboratory and beyond. Through engaging instruction, students are challenged to develop their chemical intuition and apply their knowledge to solve real-world problems. Through our vibrant undergraduate research program, students have the opportunity to work alongside professors throughout the school year and summer. Students in the Chemistry Department recently conducted research on environmental impacts of dredging, synthesis of enzyme inhibitors, de-chlorination of pollutants, mechanism of carbon monoxide dehydrogenase, and heavy metal exchange reactions. Collaboration with faculty members on research frequently results in publication in professional journals.
Chemistry majors explore the nature and composition of matter and the laws that govern chemical reactions and apply these principals to solve a range of problems. Our hands-on philosophy encourages extensive use of our instruments, beginning in students' first year with experiments involving pH meters, analytical balances, visible spectrophotometers, and, then later with atomic absorption spectroscopy, gas chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry.
The Chemistry Department has its home in the Hall of Science which features spacious teaching and research laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation, “smart” classrooms equipped with the latest computer technology, seminar rooms, wired and wireless connection to the Internet, a 20-station computer laboratory, and numerous study lounges filled with comfortable and functional furniture and large windows affording spectacular views of the campus and surrounding community.
Chemistry is often called “the central science” because it connects with both the mathematical sciences (physics, math, and astronomy) and the descriptive sciences (biology, medicine, and geology). Students graduating with a chemistry degree are prepared to work in a wide variety of areas in industry, government, and education. Over the past 10 years, about three quarters of all chemistry majors have pursued graduate or medical school degrees.