Department of Chemistry

  • Chair

    Thomas W. Muir

  • Associate Chair

    Martin F. Semmelhack

  • Departmental Representative

    Robert P. L'Esperance

  • Director of Graduate Studies

    Abigail G. Doyle

  • Professor

    Andrew B. Bocarsly

    Roberto Car, also Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials

    Robert J. Cava, also Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials

    Paul J. Chirik

    Abigail G. Doyle

    John T. Groves

    Michael H. Hecht

    Robert R. Knowles

    David W. MacMillan

    Tom Muir

    Joshua D. Rabinowitz, also Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics

    Herschel A. Rabitz

    Gregory D. Scholes

    Jeffrey Schwartz

    Annabella Selloni

    Martin F. Semmelhack

    Erik J. Sorensen

    Salvatore Torquato, also Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials

    Haw Yang

  • Associate Professor

    Jannette L. Carey

  • Assistant Professor

    Bradley P. Carrow

    Todd K. Hyster

    Ralph E. Kleiner

    Leslie M. Schoop

    Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost

  • Lecturer with Rank of Professor

    Paul J. Reider

  • Lecturer

    Sonja A. Francis

    Henry L. Gingrich

    Michael T. Kelly

    Robert P. L'Esperance

    Istvan Pelczer

    Susan K. VanderKam

    Chia-Ying Wang

  • Associated Faculty

    Bonnie L. Bassler, Molecular Biology

    Emily A. Carter, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Applied and Computational Mathematics

    Frederick M. Hughson, Molecular Biology

    Bruce E. Koel, Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Alexei V. Korennykh, Molecular Biology

    Lynn Loo, Chemical and Biological Engineering

    Satish C. Myneni, Geosciences

    Sabine Petry, Molecular Biology

    Daniel A. Steingart, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment

    Jeffry B. Stock, Molecular Biology

    Martin H. Wühr, Molecular Biology and Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics

    Nieng Yan, Molecular Biology

Information and Departmental Plan of Study

The Department of Chemistry offers a flexible program suitable for those who plan to attend graduate school, as well as for premedical students or those intending to pursue a career in secondary school teaching. A chemistry concentration is appropriate for anyone who desires a broad background of undergraduate training in science.

Advanced Placement

A student who received an Advanced Placement Examination score of 4 qualifies for one unit of advanced placement and is eligible to take CHM 215 Advanced General Chemistry-Honors. A student who received an Advanced Placement Examination score of 5 qualifies for two units of advanced placement and is eligible to take CHM 301. One term of advanced placement satisfies the B.S.E. chemistry requirement.

A departmental placement examination is given during Freshman Orientation Week for students who did not have an opportunity to take the Chemistry Advanced Placement Exam.

Prerequisites

Before entering the department, students are expected to complete:

1. One year of general chemistry: CHM 201/207 and 202, or one unit of advanced placement in chemistry and CHM 202 or CHM 215, or two units of advanced placement credit.

2. Differential and integral calculus: MAT 103 and 104, or the equivalent advanced placement credit.

3. One year of general physics: PHY 101 and 102, or 103 and 104, or 105 and 106, or the equivalent advanced placement credit.

Prerequisite courses may not be taken using the P/D/F grading option.

The sophomore program of prospective chemistry concentrators should include one year of organic chemistry (CHM 301 and 302/304). Note: Chemistry concentrators must take the CHM 301 and 302/304 sequence at Princeton.

Early Concentration

A student who has been granted advanced placement credit in chemistry and has taken advanced courses in the subject during both terms of freshman year may be eligible for independent work in the sophomore year. Students interested in this option should contact the departmental representative in the spring of their freshman year.

Program of Study

University regulations require that, before graduation, students take eight courses designated as departmental courses in their field of concentration. A chemistry concentrator may, with the approval of the departmental representative, use one or more non-introductory courses from other science departments, mathematics, and engineering as departmental courses.

Chemistry concentrators typically take more than eight courses that qualify as departmental.

Core Courses: Students must take three 300-, 400-, or 500-numbered courses in chemistry and at least one term of experimental laboratory instruction at Princeton as departmental core courses. These courses must include at least one term each of organic, physical, and inorganic chemistry. The experimental requirement may be fulfilled by taking either CHM 371, or MOL 350, or MSE 302, or PHY 311 or 312, or CBE 346. Note: The experimental course must be completed by the end of the junior year.

Cognates: The remaining four departmental courses of the eight required by the University degree regulations can be in either chemistry or a cognate scientific area (e.g., molecular biology, engineering, geoscience, materials science, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, or physics). Many courses in the sciences at the 300, 400, and 500 levels are approved as departmental courses. Courses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. To qualify as a departmental, the course must have one or more prerequisites (i.e., be non-introductory) and must have a strong chemistry component.

Physics/Mathematics: An understanding of chemistry requires a thorough background in physics and mathematics. Students majoring in chemistry should obtain a broad background in these subjects. In general, it is desirable to take courses in mathematics at least through multivariable calculus (MAT 201 or 203) and linear algebra (MAT 202 or 204). These courses may be counted as departmental courses. These mathematics courses are also required for professional certification. (See "Professional Certification in Chemistry," below.)

The program described above deliberately allows substantial flexibility and encourages a broad view of chemistry.

Independent Work

Junior Independent Work

First-term program:

The First-term program consists of two components: The Junior Colloquium and Reading Groups.

1. The Junior Colloquium: One evening each week throughout the fall term, talks will be given by faculty members on topics not normally included in coursework. Junior chemistry concentrators and early concentrators are required to attend these sessions.

2. Reading Groups:  Juniors will be assigned to one of several reading groups. Over the course of the semester, every group will meet with three separate instructors, one for each of three four-week reading periods. Reading group instructors will utilize current chemical literature to introduce novel research and the mechanics of scientific writing. At the end of each reading period, students will submit a critical analysis of a research article.

Reading group advisers are selected by the Junior Colloquia chairperson to give the student a broad sampling of faculty interests. The student's final term grade is calculated by the departmental representative using the grades on the three papers plus the individual's record of attendance at the evening colloquia.

Second-term program:

Each student will select a faculty adviser for spring independent work by the start of the spring semester. The student will meet regularly with the faculty adviser during the semester. At the end of the term, the student will submit a research proposal for the senior thesis. The student will summarize any preliminary experimental results. A student's final term grade is determined by the departmental representative in conjunction with the faculty adviser's evaluation.

Senior Independent Work

At the end of the junior year, each student selects a thesis adviser (who may or may not be the same as the adviser during the junior year). The adviser and the student will agree on a topic on which the student will undertake independent original research throughout both terms of the senior year. This project will consist largely of original research involving wet laboratory work and/or chemical theory. On or before the University deadline, a written thesis based on this research work must be submitted to the department. The thesis will be evaluated and ranked by a committee of professors, two each from the following areas of study, as appropriate: inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, materials science, and biochemistry.

Grading note: The grades for the junior and senior independent work will comply with the University's grading guidelines.

Senior Departmental Examination

In May of the senior year, the department administers examinations produced by the American Chemical Society in order to fulfill University degree requirements. These examinations cover the fields of biochemistry and inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry. Preparation for these exams involves the following: (1) The biochemistry exam covers material presented in MOL 345. (2) The inorganic chemistry exam encompasses material from both CHM 407 and 408. (3) The organic chemistry exam spans a full year of coursework from either CHM 301/302 or CHM 301/304. (4) The physical chemistry exam includes material from both quantum chemistry (CHM 305 or 405) and thermodynamics (CHM 306 or 406). Seniors preselect and complete two of the four examinations for this requirement.

Study Abroad

The department encourages students to consider opportunities for study abroad in the spring term of the junior year. Requirements for the junior independent work program are then met at the foreign host institution. In addition, the student may elect to have the number of required departmental courses reduced by one cognate per semester abroad, assuming advanced approval of a chemistry-related course of study at the foreign institution. (This course may not be counted as one of the four required core courses.) Students considering study abroad are urged to discuss their plans with the departmental representative early in the planning stages to lay out coursework, obtain approvals, and set up junior independent work assignments.

Integrated Science Sequence

Completion of the ISC/CHM/COS/MOL/PHY 231, 232, 233, 234 series fulfills the general chemistry and physics prerequisites. For full course descriptions and more information, see the Integrated Science website.

Additional Information

Professional Certification in Chemistry:

Students intending to pursue a career in chemistry, whether directly after graduation or following a graduate program, may wish to pursue a course of study leading to professional certification by the American Chemical Society. This certification requires two semesters of organic chemistry (one each of CHM 301 and either 302 or 304), two semesters of physical chemistry (normally, CHM 305 or 405, and 306 or 406), one semester of inorganic chemistry (normally, CHM 407 or 408), one semester of experimental chemistry (CHM 371), multivariable calculus (MAT 201 or 203), linear algebra (MAT 202 or 204), and exposure to biochemistry (typically, MOL 345). MOL/EEB 214 satisfies the biochemistry requirement, but is not counted as a departmental course; some upper-level courses in molecular biology or one of several different advanced chemistry courses also satisfy the requirement.

Chemistry Outreach Program:

Nothing serves to foster excitement about science more than well-planned chemical demonstrations and activities. Many chemistry faculty, staff, and students participate in programs for local schools, museums, community groups, and youth organizations. The Chemistry Outreach Program gives chemistry concentrators hands-on experience with demonstrations and presentations, and the opportunity to increase interest in science in the schools and the community. After a brief series of training sessions, chemistry outreach students, in concert with faculty and staff, present programs for visitors to Princeton and at local schools, museums, or libraries. The training sessions emphasize effective presentation, safe practices, the choice of age-appropriate activities, and coordination with local educational requirements. They include laboratory sessions in which students master demonstrations and activities tested by the department or by the American Chemical Society. Students may also develop or help to develop new demonstrations or activities, and they may help with other science programs, such as the New Jersey State Science Olympiad. Interested students should contact Dr. Kathryn Wagner, Director.

 

Courses

CHM 201 General Chemistry I Fall STL An introductory course. Principles of chemistry; understanding the world around us; structure and reactions of atoms and molecules; laboratory manipulations, preparations, and analysis. Fulfills medical school entrance requirements in general chemistry and qualitative analysis. Three lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. M. Hecht, R. L'Esperance, S. Francis
CHM 202 General Chemistry II Spring STL Continuation of 201. Principles of chemistry; introduction to chemical bonding and solid state structure; chemical kinetics, nuclear chemistry; descriptive inorganic chemistry; laboratory manipulations, preparations, and analysis. Fulfills medical school entrance requirements in general chemistry and qualitative analysis. Three lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. A. Bocarsly, R. L'Esperance, S. Francis
CHM 203 Advanced General Chemistry I Not offered this year STL The fundamental principles of chemistry; descriptive chemistry, molecular structure, and bonding. Lectures and demonstrations. Laboratory includes qualitative and quantitative methods in chemical analysis, as well as selected experiments in general chemistry. Fulfills medical school entrance requirements in general chemistry and qualitative analysis. Three lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. Staff
CHM 204 Advanced General Chemistry II Not offered this year STL Continuation of 203. Topics in chemistry selected to illustrate fundamental principles; electrochemistry, chemical kinetics, bonding, and descriptive chemistry focusing on inorganic chemistry. Lectures and demonstrations. Laboratory includes qualitative and quantitative methods in chemical analysis, as well as selected experiments in general chemistry. Fulfills medical school entrance requirements in general chemistry and qualitative analysis. Three lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. Staff
CHM 207 Advanced General Chemistry: Materials Chemistry Fall STL Introduction to the basic concepts of chemistry: stoichiometry, types of reactions, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, and chemical bonding. Introduction to the structure, chemistry, and properties of technologically important materials: metals, semiconductors, ceramics, and polymers. Fulfills medical school requirements in general chemistry and qualitative analysis. Three lecture hours, one class, one three-hour laboratory. R. L'Esperance, H. Yang, B. Koel
CHM 215 Advanced General Chemistry: Honors Course Spring STL An intensive study of fundamental theoretical and experimental principles. Topics are drawn from physical, organic, and inorganic chemistry. For students with excellent preparation who are considering scientific careers. Fulfills medical school entrance requirements in general chemistry and qualitative analysis. Completion of 215 qualifies the student for 300-level courses and some 400-level courses after consultation with the instructor of the upper-level course. Three lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. P. Chirik, R. L'Esperance, S. Francis
CHM 231 An Integrated, Quantitative Introduction to the Natural Sciences I (See ISC 231)
CHM 232 An Integrated, Quantitative Introduction to the Natural Sciences I (See ISC 232)
CHM 233 An Integrated, Quantitative Introduction to the Natural Sciences II (See ISC 233)
CHM 234 An Integrated, Quantitative Introduction to the Natural Sciences II (See ISC 234)
CHM 255A Life in the Universe (See GEO 255A)
CHM 255B Life in the Universe (See GEO 255B)
CHM 301 Organic Chemistry I: Biological Emphasis Fall STL This course is designed as the first part of a three-semester sequence, CHM 301 and CHM 302, and MOL 345 (biochemistry). CHM 301 will introduce the principles of organic chemistry, including the structures, properties, and reactivity of organic compounds. The emphasis will be on bonding and structure, structural analysis by spectroscopy, and an introduction to the mechanisms of organic reactions. Examples will be taken from biology when appropriate to illustrate the principles. For a complete presentation of the subject, the course should be followed by CHM 302 or CHM 304 in the spring. Three lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. M. Semmelhack, H. Gingrich, S. VanderKam
CHM 302 Organic Chemistry II with Biological Emphasis Spring STL The concepts introduced in CHM 301 are extended to the structures and reactions of more complex molecules, with an emphasis on how organic chemistry provides the framework for understanding molecular processes in biology. The fundamental concepts of organic chemistry are illustrated, as often as possible, with examples drawn from biological systems. Appropriate for chemistry and engineering majors, premedical students, and students with an interest in organic chemistry and its central position in the life sciences. Prerequisite: CHM 301. Two 90-minute lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. M. Semmelhack, H. Gingrich
CHM 304 Organic Chemistry II: Foundations of Chemical Reactivity and Synthesis Spring STL Continuation of CHM 301. The concepts introduced in CHM 301 will be extended to the structures and reactions of more complex molecules, with an emphasis on how organic chemistry provides the framework for understanding molecular processes in biology. The fundamental concepts of organic chemistry will be illustrated, as often as possible, with examples drawn from biological systems. Prerequisite: 301. Three lectures, one class, one three-hour laboratory. E. Sorensen, H. Gingrich
CHM 305 The Quantum World Fall STN An introduction to quantum mechanics for students interested in the relevance to chemistry, molecular biology, and energy science. A conceptual understanding is emphasized. Covers some of the historical development of the quantum theory to show how quantum theory was a step-change in thinking. Examines the (sometimes subtle) ways that quantum systems are different than classical systems. Includes the discussion of modern examples including molecular electronic structure calculations, organic solar cells, photosynthesis, nanoscience, quantum computing, and quantum biology. Three lectures, one preceptorial. G. Scholes, K. Schwarz
CHM 306 Physical Chemistry: Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics Spring STN Introduction to chemical thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and kinetics. Special emphasis on biological problems, including nerve conduction, muscle contraction, ion transport, enzyme mechanisms, and macromolecular properties in solutions. Prerequisites: CHM 201 and CHM 202, or CHM 203 (or CHM 207) and CHM 204, or CHM 215; MAT 104; PHY 101 and 102, or PHY 103 and 104; or instructor's permission. Three lectures, one class. M. Kelly
CHM 311 Global Air Pollution (See CEE 311)
CHM 331 Environmental Chemistry: Chemistry of the Natural Systems (See GEO 363)
CHM 333 Chemistry of the Environment (also
ENV 333
/
GEO 333
) Not offered this year STN
The nature of the environment from a chemical perspective. Topics include energy and fuels, greenhouse effect, ozone, air pollution, food production, pesticides, metals pollution, carcinogens and anti-oxidants. Three lectures, one class. Staff
CHM 345 Biochemistry (See MOL 345)
CHM 371 Experimental Chemistry Fall STL This course addresses the principles of experimental design, data acquisition, analysis and interpretation, and the presentation of experimental results. Students are exposed to a broad range of quantitative laboratory methods in preparation for thesis work in the chemical sciences. Typical laboratory exercises include inorganic synthesis, physical characterization, spectroscopy, kinetics, thermodynamics, instrument design, and computational chemistry. Lectures on principles of physical analysis with varieties of instruments and statistical analysis of collected data. Two lectures and two three-hour laboratories per week. M. Kelly, C. Wang
CHM 403 Advanced Organic Chemistry Fall STN Applies the principles of organic chemistry to biochemistry. Explores enzymology through the lenses of physical organic chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, catalysis. Covers how proteins orchestrate the reactivity of functional groups, the range of cofactors employed to extend the scope and diversity of biocatalysis, enzymatic systems controlled by their kinetics, and how knowledge of enzyme reaction mechanisms enables modern drug design. Prerequisites: CHM 301 and CHM 302/CHM 304. Two 90-minute lectures, one preceptorial. J. Groves, M. Seyedsayamdost
CHM 405 Advanced Physical Chemistry: Quantum Mechanics Not offered this year STN Introduction to quantum theory, atomic and molecular structure, and spectroscopy. This course will emphasize the development of fundamental underlying principles and illustrative examples. Prerequisites: 202, 204, or 215; MAT 201 or 203 (required); MAT 202 or 204 (very helpful, even if taken concurrently); PHY 103 (may be taken concurrently) or AP Physics. Three lectures, one preceptorial. Staff
CHM 406 Advanced Physical Chemistry: Chemical Dynamics and Thermodynamics Spring STN Statistical thermodynamics, kinetics, and molecular reaction dynamics. Prerequisites: background in thermodynamics as developed in CHM 202, CHM 204, or CHM 215; MAT 201 or equivalent. Two 90-minute lectures. C. Wang
CHM 407 Inorganic Chemistry: Structure and Bonding Fall STN Structural principles and bonding theories are discussed for the various classes of inorganic and organometallic compounds. Includes an introduction to the electronic structure of transition elements and ligand field theory. Prerequisites: CHM 201 and CHM 202, or CHM 207 and CHM 202, or CHM 215, or advanced placement. Three lectures, one preceptorial. S. VanderKam
CHM 408 Inorganic Chemistry: Reactions and Mechanisms Spring STN Synthetic and mechanistic aspects of inorganic chemistry are presented; modern problems in inorganic chemistry are emphasized. Prerequisites: CHM 201 and CHM 202, or CHM 207 and CHM 202, or CHM 215, or advanced placement. Three lectures, one preceptorial. J. Schwartz, S. VanderKam
CHM 415 Polymers (See CBE 415)
CHM 418 Environmental Aqueous Geochemistry (See GEO 418)
CHM 421 Catalytic Chemistry (See CBE 421)
CHM 470 Environmental Chemistry of Soils (See GEO 470)