The goal of the Chemical Physics Program is to encourage students to make connections across the chemistry and physics disciplines through extensive research opportunities and close collaboration between students and instructors.
About the Major
Hamilton’s Chemical Physics Program is for students interested in teaching science at the high school level or pursuing a science-based profession directly after graduation. Students advance to the intermediate level in both disciplines but are not required to take theory-level courses in either. The emphasis is on balance. As an interdisciplinary program, chemical physics draws on the shared resources of two strong departments and exemplifies the College’s approach to making connections across fields and perspectives.
A Sampling of Courses
Research Methods in Chemistry
Development of research skills in chemistry through a semester-long intensive laboratory project. Emphasis on laboratory work focusing on advanced synthetic techniques and spectroscopic characterization. Scientific writing, oral presentation skills and use of the chemical literature are also stressed. Six hours of laboratory and one hour of class.
Explore these select courses:
Structure and bonding of organic compounds and their acid-base properties, stereochemistry, introduction to reactions and reaction mechanisms of carbon compounds and the relationship of reactivity and structure. Three hours of class and four hours of laboratory.
A study of the fundamental concepts and principles of quantum chemistry. Topics include the fundamental postulates of quantum mechanics, the nature of the chemical bond, and applications of molecular quantum mechanics including spectroscopy and computational electronic structure methods.
A study of the fundamental concepts and principles of thermodynamics and kinetics. Topics include statistical and classical thermodynamics, prediction of the direction and extent of chemical reactions, equilibrium, chemical kinetics, catalysis, and reaction rate theory.
An examination of the assumptions, paradigms, and hierarchies embedded in science and technology using case studies. Evidence-based hypothesis testing and analysis will examine evidence pointing to the structure of hierarchies built into and from science and how those structures may result in inequalities for various groups participating in and affected by science and technology. Topics will vary but might include: gender and race disparities in STEM fields, broad effects of climate change or environmental crises, scientific and cultural contexts of nuclear and chemical weapons.
In high school Bentley Wilking ’21 was a science and math person, but he wasn’t interested in attending a tech college where he’d have to tightly focus his academic pursuits. He wanted a chance to branch out, which is one of the reasons he picked liberal arts Hamilton.
As a first-year student applying for a summer science research spot, Nicole DeBuono ’20 told herself not to be surprised if the position went to a more senior student. But it didn’t, and she got the opportunity she was after.