For all students, whether through coursework or research, the Chemistry Department fosters the development of creativity, rigor, and flexibility in problem solving along with the ability to communicate ideas and processes with clarity and precision in the context of chemistry.
About the Major
At Hamilton, students don’t just study chemistry — they help break new ground as members of a scientific community while developing a strong background for a wide range of health-related professions or graduate work in specialized science fields. Small classes and labs foster mentoring relationships and one-on-one dialogue. Professors encourage students to pursue independent projects and collaborate with them on original research.
Students Will Learn To:
Apply scientific reasoning to explain chemical phenomena as evidenced by performance on a standardized exam (breadth of chemical reasoning)
Demonstrate the ability to conduct a sustained research project (chemical research)
Communicate chemistry’s impact on society with attention to ethics and inequities in science from which science policy decisions are made (impact of chemistry)
A Sampling of Courses
Chemical Approaches to Solar Energy Conversion
An introduction to the fundamental electro- and photochemical processes that enable harvesting of solar energy. Topics to be addressed will include the theory and application of semiconductor materials as solar cells to capture light energy, as well as the electrochemical processes that enable the storage of that energy as solar fuels (artificial photosynthesis) or in grid scale batteries. The course will revolve around readings from the primary chemical literature. One-half credit seminar. Maximum enrollment, 12. Prerequisite, 225, 265, or 270. Next offered in Spring 2021. Kramer.
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.
Topics in inorganic chemistry, including periodicity and descriptive chemistry of the elements, electrochemistry, transition metal coordination chemistry, and the structure and properties of solid state materials. Laboratories emphasize synthesis and characterization of inorganic coordination compounds, electrochemistry, and inorganic materials. This course satisfies the second semester of a one-year General Chemistry requirement for post-graduate Health Professions programs.
A survey of the chemical and physical nature of biological macromolecules, including nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates; biochemistry of enzyme catalysis; bioenergetics and regulatory mechanisms. Principles and techniques of experimental biochemistry, focusing on isolation methods and techniques for analyzing structure and function. This course satisfies the second semester of a one-year General Chemistry requirement for post-graduate Health Professions programs, however, this course might not also satisfy a Health Profession program’s requirement for a course in Biochemistry.
An integrated lecture-laboratory course in which students learn to design, build, and use instrumentation to study the physicochemical properties of atoms and molecules. Topics include the theory and practice of optical spectroscopy, thermochemical measurements of gases and condensed phases, and the measurement of reaction kinetics. Evaluations stress mastery of laboratory technique and communication of results with an emphasis on oral communication. Speaking-Intensive. One hour of lecture, three hours of laboratory.
An investigation into the concepts of organic synthesis as applied to small molecule drug and probe development for the treatment and understanding of human disease. Emphasis will be placed on modern organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, and chemical biology research aimed toward the realization of personalized therapeutics. The process of developing an original research proposal will be a primary mechanism to reinforce the concepts of this course.
The world of chemists can be broadly divided into three groups: molecule modelers, measurers, and makers. Max Majireck, associate professor of chemistry and director of biochemistry, is a part of the third group.
Long interested in clean energy and renewable energy, Claudia Morse ’19 designed her own major at Hamilton to focus on environmental chemistry. For her thesis she studied perovskite solar cells. She went directly from the Hill to Solid Power — she did her first interview with the company during commencement rehearsal.
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in chemistry are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
Professor of Neurology & Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania
Engineer, Lockheed Martin
Global Skincare Development Coordinator, Estee Lauder
Public Relations Director, AT&T
Clinical Research Coordinator, Massachusetts General Hospital