Professors Bishop*, Hansen (Chair), Kushick‡, Leung, Marshall, and O’Hara; Visiting Professor Bengali; Associate Professors Burkett and Jaswal*; Assistant Professor Young; Academic Managers Ampiah-Bonney and Reutenauer; Visiting Laboratory Instructor Kenneth Rotondi.
*On leave 2016-17.
‡On leave spring semester 2016-17.
Major Program. Students considering a major in Chemistry should consult a member of the Department as early as possible, preferably during their first year. This will help in the election of a program which best fits their interests and abilities and which makes full use of previous preparation. Programs can be arranged for students considering careers in chemistry, chemical physics, biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, biomedical research, medicine, and secondary school science teaching.
The minimum requirements for a major in Chemistry are CHEM 151 or 155, 161, 221, 231, 351, 361, and 371, and an additional Chemistry course numbered in the 300s or 400s (excluding 498/499). Please note that some Chemistry courses require successful completion of work in other departments: for the required courses, the non-Chemistry pre-requisites are MATH 111 for CHEM 161, MATH 121 and PHYS 116 or 123 for CHEM 351 and 361. Students are encouraged to discuss their proposed course of study for the major with a member of the Department, as there may be years when staffing considerations preclude offering one of the required courses.
Departmental Honors Program. A candidate for the degree with Honors will also elect CHEM 498 and 499D in the senior year. Honors programs for exceptional interests, including interdisciplinary study, can be arranged on an individual basis by the departmental advisor.
Honors candidates attend the Chemistry seminar during their junior and senior years, participating in it actively in the senior year. All Chemistry majors are required to attend the seminar in their senior year. During this seminar, discussions of topics of current interest are conducted by faculty, visitors and students.
In the senior year an individual thesis problem is selected by the Honors candidate in conference with a member of the Department. Current areas of research in the Department are: inorganic and hybrid materials synthesis; protein-nucleic acid interactions; immunochemistry; fluorescence and single-molecule spectroscopy; high resolution molecular spectroscopy of jet-cooled species; ab initio, quantum chemical calculation of molecular properties and intermolecular interactions; chemical-genetic characterization of cell signaling enzymes; protein phosphatase inhibitor design; biochemistry of tRNA modification enzymes; investigation of the protein folding landscape of kinetically stabilized proteins; development of hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry methodology to monitor protein folding and dynamics; mechanistic studies of spectroscopy and kinetics in proton-coupled electron transfer model systems and photovoltaic materials; the design and synthesis of self-assembling organic nanostructures; and computational assessment of rapid amide-bond cleavage.
Note on Placement: CHEM 151 followed by CHEM 161 are the appropriate first courses in Chemistry for most students. Those students with minimal preparation in quantitative areas will be invited to enroll in CHEM 131 (cross-listed with BIOL 131) as an entry level point. For those students with extensive high school preparation in the subject and strong quantitative skills as measured by SAT I and II (or ACT), CHEM 155 followed by CHEM 161 is recommended by the Department. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis to determine whether placement out of either CHEM 151/155 or CHEM 161 or, less frequently, both, is appropriate. Students considering advanced placement are advised to contact the Department soon after arriving on campus.
Certification by the American Chemical Society: The Chemistry Department at Amherst College is among the programs approved by the American Chemical Society (ACS). The chemistry curriculum is reviewed by the ACS Committee on Professional Training on a five-year cycle and reports are made to the ACS annually. To earn an ACS-certified degree, Amherst College chemistry majors, in addition to the minimum requirements, must elect CHEM 331, take a second semester of Physics (PHYS 117 or 124, or receive equivalent placement from the Physics Department), and successfully complete a senior thesis in Chemistry (CHEM 498/499D).