Chemistry Department

Chair: Eric Eberhardt; Associate Professors: Marianne H. Begemann, Stuart L. Belli, Eric Eberhardt, Sarjit Kaur, Christopher J. Smart, Joseph M. TanskibProfessor: Miriam Rossi; Assistant Professors: Zachary Donhauser, Teresa A. Garrett, Alison Keimowitz; Adjunct Assistant Professors: Jennifer B Herrera, Evelyn Voura, David Weetman; Adjunct Instructors: Frank Guglieri, Catherine Kim, Jerome J. Perez; Post Doctoral Fellow: Emily C Mundorff; Senior Lecturer: David Nellis.

Requirements for Concentration: A total of 12 units of Chemistry or equivalent as approved by the department , to include:

Chem 108/109 OR Chem  125  (2 or 1 unit)

Chem 244 /245 (2 units )

Chem 350 (1 unit)

Chem 352 (1 unit)

Chem 362 (1 unit)

Chem 372 /373 (2 units )

Chem 300 (1 unit)

Two 300-level electives (2 units) (Chem 272 may be substituted for a 300-level elective)

Other required courses:

Math 121/122 or the equivalent

Physics 113/114 or the equivalent

Ungraded work does not count towards the 12 required units.  No courses required for a concentration in chemistry may be elected as NRO .  Chem 272 may be substituted for a 300 level elective and one 300 level elective must be taken in the senior year.

Recommendations: A reading knowledge of French, German, Russian, or Japanese, and courses in allied sciences. Students who wish to graduate with certification by the American Chemical Society should consult the department. Entering students who plan to concentrate in chemistry are advised to elect both chemistry and mathematics in the freshman year and physics in the freshman or sophomore year.

Teaching Certification: Students who wish to obtain secondary certification in Chemistry should consult both the Chemistry and Education Departments for appropriate course requirements.

Requirements for M.A.: The candidate must satisfy all requirements for the B.A. degree as described above. In addition, 8 units of advanced work are required as follows: 3 to 5 units of 300-level courses; 2 units of 400-level courses; 1 to 3 units will be credited for the thesis, which will be based on a research project normally carried out during the fourth year. Chemistry 326, 342, 357, or 450, must be included among the advanced courses elected to fulfill the requirements. For students selecting thesis research in biochemistry or an interdisciplinary area, advanced courses in biology, biochemistry, mathematics, and physics may, with the permission of the adviser, be substituted for some of the required courses in chemistry. Further information regarding the thesis may be found in the separate publication, “Graduate Study in Chemistry at Vassar College.” Consult the chair in the department.

Advisers: Class of 2011, Ms. Garrett; Class of 2012, Mr. Smart;  Class of 2013, Ms. Keimowitz: Correlate Sequence, Mr. Eberhardt.

Correlate Sequence in Chemistry: A correlate sequence in chemistry provides students interested in careers ranging from public health to patent law an excellent complement to their major field of study. The chemistry correlate sequence is designed to combine a basic foundation in chemistry with the flexibility to choose upper-level chemistry courses relevant to the student’s particular interests. Students considering careers in such areas as art conservation, public policy relating to the sciences, scientific ethics, archeochemistry, the history of science, law or public health may benefit from a course of study in chemistry. This correlate is not intended for students majoring in closely related disciplines, such as biology or biochemistry, and therefore not more than one course can be credited towards both the correlate and the student’s major. The correlate consists of 6 1⁄2 units distributed as follows:

Required Courses: (Units)

General Chemistry with lab (Chemistry 108/109) (2)

or

Chemical Principles with lab (Chemistry 125) (1)

Organic Chemistry with lab (Chemistry 244/245) (2)

Minimum of two classes from the following: (2)

Chemistry 272 Biochemistry or

Chemistry 255 Science of Forensics

Chemistry 323 Protein Chemistry

Chemistry 326 Inorganic Chemistry

Chemistry 342 Organic Chemistry

Chemistry 350 Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinetics

Chemistry 352 Physical Chemistry: Molecular Structure

Chemistry 357 Chemical Physics

Chemistry 362 Instrumental Analysis (1)

One half unit of laboratory work at the advanced level: (1⁄2)

(Completion of chemistry 362 from the previous list satisfies this requirement)

Chemistry 298 Independent Research

Chemistry 365 Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds

Chemistry 370 Advance Laboratory

Chemistry 372/373 Integrated Laboratory (2)

I. Introductory

108a. General Chemistry (0 or 1)

This course covers fundamental aspects of general chemistry, including descriptive chemistry, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, states of matter, properties of solutions, thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibria, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Most of the work is quantitative in nature. Ms. Garrett, Ms Keimowitz, Ms. Rossi.

Year-long course, 108/109.

Three 50-minute lectures; one 4-hour laboratory.

109b. General Chemistry (0 or 1)

This course covers fundamental aspects of general chemistry, including descriptive chemistry, chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, states of matter, properties of solutions, thermodynamics, kinetics, equilibria, electrochemistry, and nuclear chemistry. Most of the work is quantitative in nature. Ms. Garrett, Ms Keimowitz, Ms. Rossi.

Year-long course, 108/109.

Three 50-minute lectures; one 4-hour laboratory.

125a. Chemical Principles (0 or 1)

This course is designed to cover the important aspects of general chemistry in one semester. Selected topics are presented at an accelerated rate for students with a strong chemistry background. The material covered includes chemical reactions, stoichiometry, atomic and molecular structure, and general chemical physics, emphasizing the fundamental aspects of and connections between equilibria, electrochemistry, thermodynamics, and kinetics. Mr. Belli, Mr. Eberhardt.

Sophomores, juniors, and seniors by permission of instructor.

Three 50-minute lectures; one 4-hour laboratory.

135b. Introduction to Forensic Chemistry (1)

Forensic chemistry is the application of chemistry in the study of evidence in criminal or civil cases. This course covers underlying chemistry concepts and scientific methods as applied to the study of the forensic evidence. An introductory level of organic and polymer chemistry relevant to the study of forensic evidence is also be included. Students apply modern analytical methods in the study of glass samples, fingerprints, hair and fibers, paints, drugs, trace metals, and arson investigations. The analytical methods include thin layer chromatography (TLC), infrared (IR) spectroscopy, gas chromatography, GCMS, inductively coupled plasma (ICP), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The format of the course is based on lectures, laboratory exercises, case study discussions, and several guest speakers on select topics in forensics science. Ms. Kaur.

145b. Chemistry Research Techniques (1/2 or 1)

This course provides an introduction to modern research instrumentation and techniques in chemistry through multiple-week laboratory projects. Students get experience with the use of advanced instrumentation, and in interpreting and analyzing the experimental results. Topics may include: structural characterization with X-ray crystallography; materials analysis with scanning probe microscopies; polymer synthesis and characterization; synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials; computational chemistry to perform theoretical ab initio calculations and computer modeling of biomolecules. Mr. Donhauser, Ms. Rossi.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 125.

Enrollment by permission of instructors.

One 50-minute lecture; one 4-hour lab period.

First 6-week course.

146. The Culture and Chemistry of Cuisine (1)

(Same as Science Technology and Society 146) A basic biological need of all organisms is the ability to acquire nutrients from the environment; humans accomplish this in many creative ways. Food is an important factor in societies that influences population growth, culture, migration, and conflict. Humans discovered the science and art of food preparation, topics that are explored in this course, not in a single step but rather as an evolving process that continues to this day. This course develops the basic chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology of food preparation; explores the biochemical basis of certain nutritional practices; covers social and political aspects of foods throughout world history. It covers controversies like genetically modified organisms, the production of high-fructose corn syrup, and the historic role of food commodities such as salt, rum, and cod in the world economy. Course topics are explored through lectures, student presentations, and readings from both popular and scientific literature. The course includes a few laboratories to explore the basic science behind food preparation. Ms. Rossi, Mr. Jemiolo.

198a or b. Freshmen Independent Research (1/2)

Students perform independent chemistry research under the direction of a faculty member of their choosing. Attendance at regularly scheduled department seminars/events is required to satisfactorily complete the course. The department.

Open only to freshmen.

II. Intermediate

244a. Organic Chemistry: Structure and Properties (0 or 1)

An introduction to the structure of organic molecules and to their nomenclature. Among the properties of organic compounds, shape, charge distribution, and spectroscopic properties are emphasized. Laboratory work includes isolation, physical transformations and identification of organic compounds including the application of gas chromatography and infrared and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Ms. Kaur, Mr. Smart, Mr. Tanski.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 109 or 125.

Three 50-minute lectures; one 4-hour laboratory.

245b. Organic Chemistry: Reactions and Mechanisms (0 or 1)

A study of the reactions of organic compounds from a mechanistic point of view. Laboratory work includes synthesis, qualitative analysis, and quantitative investigation of reaction rates and equilibria which emphasize mechanistic considerations. Ms. Kaur, Mr. Smart, Mr. Tanski.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 244.

Three 50-minute lectures; one 4-hour laboratory.

255a or b. Science of Forensics (1)

(Same as Biology 255 and Science, Technology, and Society 255) Science of forensics is the application of scientific principles and methodology in the study and evaluation of evidence associated with criminal and civil cases. In this course, several science disciplines are explored as applied to forensics science. Topics include crime scene investigation, introduction to law of evidence, finger-printing analysis, analytical methods to characterize organic and inorganic compounds, forensic toxicology, principles of serology and DNA profiling, and introduction to forensic pathology, entomology and anthropology. The format of the course includes lectures, laboratory exercises, case studies, guest speakers from the forensics field, and a visit to a forensics laboratory. Ms. Kaur and instructor to be announced.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 244 or permission of the instructor.

Two 50-minute lectures; one 3.5-hour laboratory.

270b. Computational Methods in the Sciences (1/2)

(Same as Physics 270)

272b. Biochemistry (1)

(Same as Biology 272)

Prerequisites: Introductory Biology or Chemistry 244.

275b. Computational Methods in Chemistry (1/2)

This course introduces several molecular modeling methods in computational chemistry (molecular mechanics, semi-empirical and ab-initio methods, and density functional theory) to study geometries, properties, and reactivities of organic compounds; an introductory level of theory is presented to delineate the basis of these molecular modeling methods. The course also includes computational laboratory exercises to supplement concepts covered in lectures, and project-based exercises to explore applications of computational methods in the study of chemical systems.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 245 or permission of instructor.

290. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

297a. Reading Course (1/2)

298a or b. Independent Research (1/2 or 1)

Students perform independent chemistry research under the direction of a faculty member of their choosing. Attendance at regularly scheduled department seminars/events is required to satisfactorily complete the course. The department.

III. Advanced

300a or b. Senior Thesis (1)

323a. Protein Chemistry (1)

A detailed study of the structure and function of proteins. Structure determination, mechanisms of catalysis and regulation, and the interactions of enzymes in complex systems are treated. Ms. Garrett.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 350 (may be corequisite), or 272.

324. Molecular Biology (1)

(Same as Biology 324)

326a. Inorganic Chemistry (1)

An introduction to structure and reactivity of inorganic, coordination, and organometallic compounds, including the following topics: chemical applications of group theory, atomic and molecular structure, theories of bonding, the solid state, coordination chemistry, inorganic reaction mechanisms, and organometallic chemistry. A laboratory portion of this class includes selected experiments which reinforce these concepts. Ms. Rossi.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 352, or permission of instructor.

342b. Advanced Organic Chemistry (1)

Selected topics in organic chemistry such as stereochemistry, conformational analysis, carbanions, carbocations, radicals, kinetic and thermodynamic control of reactions, mechanisms, synthesis. Ms. Kaur.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 245, 350, or permission of instructor.

350b. Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics and Chemical Kinetics (1)

Equations of state for gases; the laws of thermodynamics; solutions and phase equilibria; chemical equilibrium and chemical kinetics. Mr. Donhauser.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 245; Physics 113, 114; Mathematics 121/122 or 125.

352a. Physical Chemistry: Molecular Structure (1)

Introductory wave mechanics and bonding theories; electrical and magnetic properties of molecules; spectroscopy; statistical mechanics. Ms. Keimowitz.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 245; Physics 113, 114; Mathematics 121/122 or 125.

357. Chemical Physics (1)

The course includes selected topics which are of interest to chemistry majors as well as biochemistry and physics majors. Possible topics include applications of group theory, interaction of radiation with matter, molecular spectroscopy, reaction kinetics, reaction rate theory, and statistical mechanics. The material covered in any particular semester depends on the mutual interests of the instructor and the students. Ms. Begemann.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 350 and 352 or by permission of instructor.

362b. Instrumental Analysis (1)

An introduction to chemical analysis, this course covers the theoretical and practical aspects of spectroscopic, electrochemical, and chromatographic -methods, including topics in instrumentation, statistics, and chemometrics. Mr. Belli.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 245 or permission of instructor.

Includes one 4-hour laboratory.

365. Spectrometric Identification of Organic Compounds (1/2)

This course focuses on the use of modern analytical instrumentation to identify unknown organic compounds. Students get extensive hands-on experience using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) (1H, 13C, DEPT, COSY, HETCOR), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). Working with weekly unknowns, students learn to interpret spectra and assemble the data necessary to support both a formula and structure determination. Mr. Smart.

Prerequisite: Chemistry 245.

One 4-hour laboratory.

370a or b. Advanced Laboratory (1/2)

Advanced laboratory work may be elected in the field of organic, analytical, physical, inorganic, biochemistry, or environmental chemistry. The department.

Prerequisite or corequisite: a 300-level course in the pertinent field.

One 4-hour laboratory.

372a. Integrated Chemistry Laboratory (1)

This course provides a comprehensive laboratory experience in chemistry. Selected experiments teach advanced chemistry techniques and reinforce principles introduced in 300 level chemistry courses. The course exposes students to chemistry as an integrated subject, tying together the sub-disciplines that are traditionally offered as independent courses. This includes: instrumental analysis, physical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental, organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry. The department.

373b. Integrated Chemistry Laboratory (1)

This course provides a comprehensive laboratory experience in chemistry. Selected experiments teach advanced chemistry techniques and reinforce principles introduced in 300 level chemistry courses. The course exposes students to chemistry as an integrated subject, tying together the sub-disciplines that are traditionally offered as independent courses. This includes: instrumental analysis, physical chemistry, biochemistry, environmental, organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry. The department.

375b. Aquatic Chemistry (1/2)

(Same as Environmental Studies 375) This course explores the fundamentals of aqueous chemistry as applied to natural waters. The global water cycle and major water resources are introduced. Principles explored include: kinetics and thermodynamics, atmosphere-water interactions, rock-water interactions, precipitation and dissolution, acids and bases, oxidation and reduction, and nutrient and trace metal cycling. Ms. Spodek.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 245; Physics 113, 114; Mathematics 121/122 or 125 or permission of the instructor.

382b. Special Topics in Organic Chemistry: Introduction to Polymer Chemistry ] (1)

Properties and uses of selected polymers (thermally stable, conducting, and biodegradable). This course includes organic and kinetic aspects of polymerizations, characterization techniques for structure determination, thermal and -mechanical properties, and measurement of molecular weight and distribution. Laboratory techniques and experiments leading to synthesis, characterization and physical properties of selected polymers (synthesized or commercially available polymers) are emphasized. Ms. Kaur.

Prerequisites: Chemistry 244/245 or permission of instructor.

Two 50-minute lectures; one 4-hour laboratory.

399. Senior Independent Research (1/2 or 1)

Students perform independent chemistry research under the direction of a faculty member of their choosing. Attendance at regularly scheduled department seminars/events is required to satisfactorily complete the course. The department.

Open only to seniors.