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

Nicole DeBuono '20

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 three 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.

Meet Our Faculty

Gordon Jones

Stone Professor of Natural History, Director of Chemical Physics


neutron spin filters and angular correlations in neutron decay

Viva Horowitz

Assistant Professor of Physics


experimental condensed matter

Adam Van Wynsberghe

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Associate Dean of Students for Academics


physical chemistry, biophysical chemistry, and theoretical chemistry

Explore Hamilton Stories

Bentley Wilking ’21 and Sean Conroy ’21

A Science Lover’s Perfect Major: Chemical Physics

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.

Nicole DeBuono ’20 and scanning electron microscope

Nanoscience, Dendrites and Owning the Research

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.

Clare Munroe ’18

Studying What She Loves, with an End Game

Clare Munroe ’18 is a chemical physics major with a clear post-Hamilton goal – veterinary school.


Department Name

Chemical Physics Program

Contact Name

Gordon Jones, Program Director

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

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