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Chemistry & Biochemistry

student doing research students doing research

Department Overview

Click here to read an open letter from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department on our commitment to anti-racism and promoting an environment where all students feel welcome, included, encouraged, and valued.

The aim of the Swarthmore Chemistry and Biochemistry Department is to provide sound training in the fundamental principles and basic techniques of the science and to provide interested students with the opportunity for advanced work in the main subdisciplines of modern chemistry and biochemistry.

There is an active research program at Swarthmore and students are encouraged to include research as part of their undergraduate education. In addition to close collaboration in research labs, many of the upper level courses are taught as seminars providing for in-depth exchanges between students and faculty.

Most of our graduates go on to either graduate school in chemistry or biochemistry or to medical school. Swarthmore's chemistry major and biochemistry major are both certified by the American Chemical Society.

A Chemistry team of two faculty members and nine research students ran a 5-week summer enrichment program for middle school students.

22 students are doing research this summer under the supervision of 5 faculty members.

22 students are doing research this summer
under the supervision of 5 faculty members.

Orgo I lab having a round table discussion about their unknown compounds.

Orgo I lab having a round table discussion about their unknown compounds.

Participation in research exposes students to the practice of chemistry as a process of creating new knowledge.

Participation in research exposes students to the practice of chemistry as a process of creating new knowledge.

Faculty-student collaboration is an integral part of the undergraduate experience in Chemisty and Biochemistry at Swarthmore.

Faculty-student collaboration is an integral part of the undergraduate experience in Chemistry and Biochemistry at Swarthmore.

Students have frequent opportunities to present their research in poster sessions on campus and at professional meetings.

Students have frequent opportunities to present their research in poster sessions on campus and at professional meetings.

Some students begin research as early as the summer after their sophomore year.

Students have opportunities to engage in independent research in close collaboration with faculty.

Academic Curriculum

The department offers a course major in Chemistry, a special Major in Biochemistry and a special major in Chemical Physics.

Community Outreach

During National Chemistry week, students and faculty visit local schools to do demonstrations and supervise hands-on activities.

Liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Ice cream served chemistry style!

A Chemistry team of two faculty members and nine research students ran a 5-week summer enrichment program for middle school students.

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Colloquium

The department hosts regular Colloquia meetings to introduce students to a broad range of topics currently being explored by scientists in labs at Swarthmore and other institutions.

 

Colloquium Fall 2020 Semester

Date: Thursday, October 8

Where: Zoom
Time: 5:00 PM

Speaker: Kensha Clark, University of Memphis

Title: "Design and Reactivity of Transition Metal-Based Frustrated Lewis Pairs"

Abstract: Sterically frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs) are composed of Lewis acids and bases containing bulky substituents that are unable to quench their respective acidities and basicities by forming acid-base adducts. As a result, FLP systems are able to induce the acute polarization and attendant activation of small molecule substrates. While transition metal ions are classified Lewis acids, they are relatively underexplored as components of FLP systems compared to their main group counterparts. In this talk, we discuss the design of FLP systems containing Cu+ and Zn2+ ions supported by tripodal, tris(2-(benzylidene)aminoethyl)amine ligands as the acidic component. The FLP behavior of these complexes when combined with bulky phosphine bases will be described, as well as their reactivity towards methane.

 

See the full Colloquium series schedule