Fall 2024

Chemistry in Society

Listed in: Chemistry, as CHEM-260


Ren Wiscons (Section 01)


In this discussion- and project-based course, students will learn about the historical context and systemic exclusion inherent to the development of western science. Students will explore the role that chemistry has played in human society and how social structures have, in turn, influenced the field of chemistry. With this context established, students will research contemporary strategies that are or have been employed to make the field of chemistry more inclusive within classroom and research settings. Students will then execute independent projects to more deeply explore the interconnectedness between topics of identity (such as race, sex, and socioeconomic status), inclusive practices, and Chemistry within the Amherst College community or broader communities.

Prerequisite: CHEM-151 or CHEM-155

Limited to 20 students.  Fall Semester.  Professor Wiscons.

How to handle overenrollment: In the case of over-enrollment, second-year and third-year Chemistry majors will be given priority.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Students will complete weekly readings, weekly journals, independent research, oral presentations, and group work. Students will be assessed on participation, weekly responses to assigned readings, a mid-semester written report, a final project, and oral presentation.

Course Materials


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2022, Fall 2024