Major and Minor
Faculty and professional interests
Mary Crawford, chair
Analytical and physical chemistry, atmospheric chemistry, kinetics
Organic chemistry, synthesis of novel biologically active compounds
Thomas Clayton (on leave Fall 2013)
Inorganic chemistry, synthesis of transition metal complexes, liquid crystals
Organometallic chemistry, homogeneous catalysis, reaction mechanisms, electronic structure, green chemistry
Biochemistry, enzymology, protein structure and function
Lawrence Welch (on leave Fall 2013)
Analytical chemistry, electrochemistry, chromatography
Cooperating faculty from other programs
Janet Kirkley, Biochemistry
At Knox, a major in chemistry serves scientific and professional interests equally well. For instance, over the years, about one-third of the chemistry majors go to medical or dental schools, one-third continue their education in Ph.D. programs, and one-third go into the work force, mostly as chemists. A complete chemistry program, accredited by the American Chemical Society, is offered.
Chemistry, an experimental science, has its focal point in the laboratory, which at Knox includes spacious instructional laboratories, individualized laboratories for student and faculty research, and specialized instrument rooms. Because modern chemistry relies heavily on sophisticated instruments, a well-equipped chemistry department is important. At Knox all the instrumental tools a chemist needs are provided, including nuclear and electronic spin resonance spectrometers, IR and UV/visible spectrophotometers, gas and liquid chromatographs, several laser spectrometers, a mass spectrometer, and two dozen up-to-date computers for data gathering and analysis and for molecular modeling. A drybox and Schlenk manifolds allow for the synthesis of molecules in an oxygen-free environment.
The department specializes in giving its students personal experience with the whole spectrum of instruments. To truly learn what an experimental science is like, the department strongly encourages collaborative research with faculty for all its majors. Students can take independent studies and receive course credit for research. Often students can concentrate on new developments in the summer research program of the department.
Throughout the required curriculum, students will be exposed to a wide variety of techniques and approaches to improve their oral presentation skills. These approaches include working and explaining problems to their peers, giving short presentations on special topics, and giving presentations (both traditional and poster format) on laboratory experiments and projects. The capstone oral presentation experience will occur upon completion of CHEM 399. In this course students will give an oral presentation and poster on their own research; either an in-depth library project or a laboratory project.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - CHEM 212 and 215 serve as writing-intensive courses for majors
- Speaking Key Competency - CHEM 399 serves as a speaking-intensive course for majors
- Information Literacy and Informed Use of Technology - Instruction in specialized information literacy skills begins in the 200-level courses (CHEM 211 and CHEM 215) and continues in the 300-level courses (CHEM 321, CHEM 399, independent research and various electives: CHEM 316 and CHEM 331). Students encounter a variety of uses of technology, specific for chemistry, in many courses throughout the curriculum.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing a Chemistry major will be able to:
- Demonstrate competence in the core areas of chemistry
- Use appropriate techniques and concepts to solve and analyze problems in chemistry
- Design and carry out experimental chemical investigations, analyze data and form conclusions based on the data and analysis
- Communicate chemical results to chemists and non-chemists