Chemistry

Overview | Requirements | Courses | Faculty

Overview

The curriculum of the Chemistry Department is designed to provide the student with a sound and comprehensive grasp of the principles of chemistry, including the laboratory experience necessary for basic research, teaching, and industrial research and development. Each student is expected to participate in a research program. Research facilities and instrumentation are excellent and qualified students may begin research projects as early as their first year. Faculty research grants augmented with support from major corporations and foundations have enabled the department to offer research stipends to qualified students each summer.

To the student preparing for medicine or related professions, training is offered in the fundamental and applied branches of chemistry. In addition, chemistry offers to the liberal arts student an appreciation and understanding of the discoveries, methods, and place of this subject in our society.

The program for majors also prepares them for entrance into the School of Engineering at Columbia University and the Applied Chemistry Program of the California Institute of Technology under the Combined Plan Program. Students interested in engineering should consult the Combined Plan Program for details.

Requirements

MAJOR: Chemistry 120 and 150, or Chemistry 130; Chemistry 220, Chemistry 221, and Chemistry 240; Chemistry 300, 300L, 305, 305L, 340, a minimum of four units of Chemistry 295 or 395; and, four units of Chemistry 490. At least one elective course is to be selected from the following: Chemistry 280, 330, 332, 332L, 340L, 350, 350L, 355, 360, 370, 380, or Physics 368. Also required are Calculus 2 in Mathematics and two courses in Physics: 110 or 115, and 120 or 125. In order to graduate with American Chemical Society certification, it is necessary to take both Chemistry 332 and Chemistry 350. Chemistry 120 (or 130), 220, 221, and 240 satisfy the general and organic chemistry distribution requirements for the health professions.

MINOR: Chemistry 120 and 150, or Chemistry 130; Chemistry 220, Chemistry 221, and Chemistry 240 with eight units of elective courses. Chemistry 100, 104, 195, 295, 395 and 397 may not be included as electives.

WRITING REQUIREMENT: Students majoring in Chemistry will satisfy the final component of Occidental College's campus-wide writing requirement by submitting a portfolio of four special reports, drawn from Chemistry 240, 300L, 305L, 340 (or appropriate course work) in the fall semester of their senior year. Students should familiarize themselves with the departmental requirement at the time of declaring the major. See the Writing Program and consult the department chair for additional information.

COMPREHENSIVE REQUIREMENT: The student will satisfactorily present a seminar during the senior year on an area of current research in the field of chemistry to an audience of Occidental students, faculty, and guests. The student will also take a comprehensive examination in Chemistry. A student with an overall grade point average of 3.25 can earn distinction with a 75th percentile rank on the examination.

HONORS: Senior chemistry students with an overall grade point average of 3.25 are permitted to present a written thesis on their research for College Honors consideration at graduation. See the Honors Program and consult the department chair for additional information.

GRADUATE STUDY: The Department of Chemistry, together with the Departments of Education, Geology, and Physics, participates in offering a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in Physical Science. This program is available to students in the teaching credential program who have a significant background in the physical sciences and who wish to deepen their scientific level beyond the level required for a single-subject credential in one of the physical sciences. General M.A.T. degree requirements are listed in the Graduate Study section of this catalog. Students seeking the Physical Sciences degree are required to complete three five-unit graduate level courses, each of which is an enhancement of a four-unit upper-division course with the addition of a related teaching-oriented project. For additional information, please refer to the Graduate Study section of this catalog or the Chair of one of the offering departments.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The Department of Chemistry is approved by the American Chemical Society for the professional education of chemists. Completion of the suggested graduate school option admits students to full membership in the American Chemical Society upon graduation. Outlines of suggested four-year programs with emphasis in environmental chemistry, biochemistry, chemical physics, engineering, pre-medicine, and teaching may be obtained from the department chair.

 

Courses

100 - Introduction to Chemistry

Develop the skills necessary for a satisfactory introduction to general chemistry. Requirement may be demonstrated by successful completion of a placement examination.

104 - From Fundamental Chemistry to the Human Genome

This is a course suitable for non-majors and covers the chemical bases of life. The course will be structured around the chemistry of the fundamental building blocks of life - nucleic acids, proteins, polysaccharides, etc. - and how they interact to support the cellular life. Examples of the specific topics include the evolution of human genome. Prerequisite: a high school science course.
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: MATH/SCI 

120 - Foundations Of General Chemistry

An introduction to the primary chemical concepts of atomic structure and quantum theory, periodic trends, molecular structure, chemical kinetics, equilibrium, thermodynamics, and acids and bases. Includes one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: satisfactory performance on the Chemistry Placement Examination or permission of instructor.
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI 

130 - Advanced Placement Chemistry

An advanced presentation of topics in atomic structure, periodic trends, molecular structure, molecular symmetry, and vibrational spectroscopy. Includes one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: AP Chemistry score of 4 or 5, or permission of instructor.
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI 

150 - Molecular Symmetry and Structure

Symmetry is a fundamental, unifying aspect of nature and is found in many human creations from art, music, and architecture, to mathematics and science. In chemistry, symmetry is central to understanding the interplay of molecular architecture and function. This course provides the student with a qualitative and formal conceptual framework for categorizing molecular structures. Prerequisite: Chemistry 100 or 120, or permission of instructor.
1 unit

195 - Directed Research in Chemistry

Intensive study in an area of chemistry or biochemistry of the student's choosing under the direct supervision of a member of the faculty. Prerequisite: permission of supervising instructor.
1 unit

220 - Organic Chemistry I

An introduction to the theory and practice of organic chemistry. Includes one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 120 or 130 or permission of instructor.
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI 

221 - Organic Chemistry II

A continuation of Organic Chemistry I. Includes one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 220.
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI

240 - Integrated Concepts in General Chemistry

Building on concepts developed in prerequisite classes, fundamental concepts in thermodynamics are developed from first principles with subsequent application in chemical equilibrium and kinetics. Applications to biological systems and technology are emphasized. The substantive laboratory component focuses on developing analytical skills.
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI 

280 - Instrumental and Separation Techniques in Organic Chemistry

The course will explore the application of 1H, 13C, and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy to the organic laboratory as well as the important separation protocols such as column chromatography, gas chromatography, and chiral HPLC. Includes one three hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 221.
2 units

295 - Directed Research in Chemistry

Intensive study in an area of chemistry or biochemistry of the student's choosing under the direct supervision of a member of the faculty. Prerequisite: permission of the supervising instructor. May be repeated for credit.
2 units

300 - Physical Chemistry I

An introduction to the principles of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics, and their application to chemical systems. Prerequisites: Calculus 2 and Physics 120 or 125 or permission of instructor.

300L - Thermodynamics and Kinetics Laboratory

Applications of chemical thermodynamics and kinetics. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: Chemistry 300 (may be taken concurrently).
1 unit
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI  

305 - Physical Chemistry II

An introduction to quantum mechanics, atomic and molecular structure, spectroscopy, statistical thermodynamics, kinetic molecular theory, and chemical applications of group theory. Prerequisites: Chemistry 130 or 150, Calculus 2, and Physics 120 or 125; or permission of instructor. Mathematics 212 and 214 are strongly recommended. 

305L - Spectroscopy and Structure Laboratory

Atomic and molecular spectroscopy and modern techniques in physical chemistry. One three-hour laboratory per week. Co-requisite: Chemistry 305.
1 unit
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI  

315 - Physical Chemistry III

An introduction to the study of kinetic molecular theory and chemical kinetics. Prerequisites:  Mathematics 120 and Physics  120 or permission of  the instructor .

330 - Biocatalysis and Biotechnology

Emerging concepts in chemistry applied to biological systems are examined with an emphasis on industrial applications.
2 units

332 - Instrumental Analysis

Modern analytical instrumentation provides scientists and engineers with an impressive array of powerful tools for studying the composition and structure of matter, from the first electronic pH meter to advanced three-dimensional MRI imaging spectrometers to portable detectors explosive compounds. This course examines the statistical, electronic, physical and chemical requirements for the construction and yO operation of modern analytical instruments

332L - Instrumental Chemistry Laboratory

Instrumental Techniques. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Chemistry 300 and 332 (concurrently).
1 unit
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI  

340 - Inorganic Chemistry

Application of modern theories of physics and chemistry to the synthesis, bonding, and reactivity patterns of inorganic compounds. Special emphasis on the role of metal ions in biological systems. Prerequisites: Chemistry 130 or 150, and 240; Chemistry 305 is recommended. 

340L - Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory

Inorganic synthesis and structure confirmation. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Chemistry 340 (concurrently).
1 unit
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI 

350 - Biochemistry

Biochemistry of macromolecules with an emphasis on protein structure and function. Prerequisite: Chemistry 300 or permission of instructor. 

350L - Biochemistry Laboratory

Biochemistry. One three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Chemistry 300 and 350 (concurrently).
1 unit
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: LAB-SCI 

355 - Introduction to Bioinformatics

The main focus of this course is utilizing biological and chemical databases for research. The course will investigate: (1) tools that are used to extract and analyze data on small molecule drugs and biological sequences from these databases (2) algorithms and scoring schemes used in sequence alignment and homology searches, (3) the significance of this information in modern chemical and molecular biology, medicine, pharmaceutical development, protein engineering and drug design, genetics and molecular evolution. Prerequisites: Chemistry 221 and Biology 130.
2 units

360 - Physical Organic Chemistry

An introduction to the study of physical organic chemistry, with special emphasis on bioorganic chemistry, bio-macromolecular structure, and biological sequence analysis. Prerequisite: Chemistry 300 or permission of instructor.
2 units

370 - Organometallic Chemistry

A continuation of Chemistry 340, focusing on the interface between organic and inorganic chemistry. Prerequisite: Chemistry 300, 340, or permission of instructor.
2 units

380 - Organic Synthesis

An introduction to the study of organic synthesis. Prerequisite: Chemistry 300 or permission of instructor.
2 units

395 - Directed Research in Chemistry

Intensive study in an area of chemistry or biochemistry of the student's choosing under the direct supervision of a member of the faculty. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit. 

397 - Independent Research in Chemistry

Individual study of an area of special interest in a field of chemistry of the student's choosing under the direct supervision of a member of the faculty. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. 

490 - Senior Seminar in Chemistry

The preparation, presentation and participation in a seminar series as a part of the senior comprehensive examination. Open only to senior chemistry majors, to be repeated both semesters.
2 units

499 - Honors in Chemistry

Independent study under the supervision of a member of the faculty. Prerequisite: permission of department, may be repeated both semesters.

Faculty

Regular Faculty

Donald Deardorff, chair

Carl F. Braun Professor, Chemistry;Advisory Committee, Kinesiology

B.S., Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Ph.D., University of Arizona

Chris Craney

Professor, Chemistry; Advisory Committee, Biochemistry

B.S., University of Puget Sound; M.S., D.A., Washington State University

Phoebe Dea

Fletcher Jones Professor, Chemistry

B.S., UCLA; Ph.D., Caltech

Michael Hill

Professor, Chemistry

B.A., Macalester College; Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Linda Lasater

Associate Professor of the Practice of Chemistry; Advisory Committee, Biochemistry

B.A., State University of New York; M.S., Nova University; Ph.D., University of South Florida

Aram Nersissian

Associate Professor, Chemistry; Advisory Committee, Biochemistry

B.S., Moscow State Lomonosov University; Ph.D., Armenian Academy of Sciences

Eileen Spain

Professor, Chemistry

B.S., Sonoma State University; Ph.D., University of Utah

Andrew Udit

Associate Professor, Chemistry

H.B.Sc., University of Toronto; Ph.D., Caltech

On Special Appointment

Thomas Gregory Drummond

Adjunct Instructor, Chemistry

B.A., University of West Georgia; M.S., Caltech

Harry Gray

Adjunct Professor, Chemistry

B.A., UC Santa Cruz; M.S., Ph.D., UC Santa Barbara

Dennis Mitchell

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Chemistry

B.S. U.C.L.A., Ph.D U.C.S.B.

Derek Ross

Adjunct Instructor in Chemistry

B.A. Occidental College

Melanie Yen

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Chemistry

B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology

Keiko Yokoyama

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Chemistry

B.E. Tokyo University, M.E. Tokyo University, Ph.D Tokyo University