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University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400319
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4319
(434) 924-3344 Fax: (434) 924-3710
Overview The Department of Chemistry offers outstanding physical facilities and a close-knit community of scholars in—an environment demonstrating that chemistry is far more than the study of matter and its interactions. Chemists contribute to such diverse fields as medicine, agriculture, oceanography, and archaeology. The University offers several chemistry programs, giving students the opportunity to define their individual educational and career goals.
Chemistry is traditionally divided into five areas of study: analytical, biological, inorganic, organic, and physical. The first-year courses include elements of all these areas. While organic chemistry is studied most intensely in the second year, biological, inorganic and physical chemistry are the center of concentration in the third and fourth years. Advisors guide students toward specialized courses that correspond with their individual interests and aid them in choosing a specific program.
Faculty The 30 members of the faculty include professors who are nationally and internationally recognized in their fields. The list of recent honors received by faculty members includes the Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award for excellence in both teaching and research; two Virginia Scientist of the Year Awards; a Sloan Foundation Award; two Cavalier Distinguished Chairs; an Analytical Chemistry Award in Chemical Instrumentation; a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers; a Coblentz Award; Frank H. Field and Joe L. Franklin Award; E.K. Plyer Prize, The Boman-Michelson Award, American Chemical Society Thomson Medal, International Mass Spectrometry Society Award; two Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Awards; Distinguished Service Award, Virginia Section American Chemical Society; a John D. and Catherine T. McArthur Foundation Fellow Award; a Lilly Analytical Chemistry Academic Contact Grant Award; a Cope Scholar Award, American Chemical Society; the Centenary Medal, Royal Society of Chemistry; a Radcliffe Fellow, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University; and an Association for Laboratory Automation (ALA) Innovation Award.
Teaching and research have been enhanced in recent years by a number of grants from government and private sources. These funds have permitted the acquisition of excellent instrumental facilities and the establishment of an outstanding program in molecular research. The department has also made a major commitment to research in biological, bioanalytical, biophysical and astrochemistry. These programs, along with ongoing research in analytical methods, spectroscopy, and synthetic inorganic and organic chemistry, provide the student with a choice of strong research areas over a broad range of the chemical sciences.
Students Each year approximately 100 students graduate with a degree in chemistry, which makes the program among the largest in the nation. The class size of chemistry courses varies widely. The introductory chemistry courses are quite large; upper level courses are smaller, and all lab sections are small and provide an intimate atmosphere. Students have significant opportunities to conduct research and independent study projects with faculty. Advanced students may receive pay in the summer from faculty research grants and enroll in graduate courses.
Students who have graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry have been admitted to the best graduate schools in the country, while others have accepted positions in industrial or government labs. The number of graduates accepted to top medical schools (especially those who specialize in biological chemistry) has been extremely high.
Special Resources Modern research is dependent on advanced instrumentation, and the department is exceedingly well equipped. Eight mass spectrometers are currently housed in the department. We also have eight state-of-the-art NMR spectrophotometers, lasers, X-ray computation facilities, and mass spectral analysis.
There are eight state-of- the-art solution NMR spectrometers housed in the Chemistry Building; one 800 MHz, three 600 MHz, two 500 MHz, and two 300 MHz. Three spectrometers have cryogenically cooled sample probes (800 and two 600) and two have automatic sample changers for unattended data acquisition for multiple samples (600 and 500). These spectrometers are used for several purposes including analysis of synthetic reaction products, and study of the structure and dynamics of proteins and nucleic acids.
Several X-ray scattering techniques such as powder diffraction, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and molecular structure determination are available through the Nanoscale Materials Characterization Facility (NMCF) in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. In addition to a number of powerful SEM and TEM microscopes, the NMCF has a Bruker Kappa Duo single-crystal CCD diffractometer, a Panalytical X’Pert Pro MPD powder diffractometer and a Rigaku SMAX 3000 Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS) instrument. Undergraduate students are offered training on these instruments. In addition, a combined graduate/undergraduate course, CHEM 5380 - Moleceular Structure Determination by X-Ray Diffraction Methods, gives students the opportunity to learn more advanced techniquest of X-Ray structure determination.
Research in molecular spectroscopy is a major focus of a number of research groups and is supported by a variety of instrumentation. Routine apparatus for ultraviolet (UV), visible, and infrared (IR) studies are available. The departmental has six FTIR spectrometers, several having far IR and high resolution <0.25 cm -1) capabilities and five spectrofluorimeters. In addition, the department has four electron spin resonance (ESR) spectrometers, some with variable temperature capabilities.
The Center for Atomic Molecular and Optical Sciences (CAMOS) Laser Facility within the Chemistry department houses ultrafast Ti:sapphire, Nd:YAG, and excimer lasers, as well as tunable dye lasers, optical parametric oscillators/amplifiers, high harmonic generation facilities, and coherent chirped pulse Fourier transform microwave spectrometers. Tunable coherent radiation is available over the broad spectral range from microwaves to soft x-rays. Lasers are employed to observe and to control the time evolution of matter and are often used as initiators and probes of molecular kinetics and dynamics.