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The most recent U.S. News and World Report ranking of chemistry departments places Purdue at #21 nationally, with our analytical chemistry program ranked first in the country. The Shanghai world-rankings, which rest on well-defined data, rank the Department #13 in the country and #20 world-wide.
Our strength in analytical chemistry has as its basis unique capabilities and expertise in advanced chemical instrumentation that permeates every facet of the research enterprise in the Department. Unique research infrastructure, such as the Jonathan Amy Facility for Chemical Instrumentation (JAFCI), makes possible the design and fabrication of next-generation instrumentation. Cutting-edge research programs in mass spectrometry, separation science, non-linear laser methods, chemical imaging and microscopy, spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, and atmospheric monitoring all add to the strength of the Department in instrumentation development.
There is a strong tradition in synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry, as exemplified by the work of our Nobel prize winners H.C. Brown and Ei-ichi Negishi. The department also plays a lead role in Drug Discovery, and considers this a signature area that is currently under significant expansion as a part of the Purdue Moves university-wide initiative. Other emerging areas include chemical imaging, functional materials, and catalysis. The wide ranging expertise in the Department enables us to respond quickly and effectively to emerging interdisciplinary research opportunities, positioning the department as a key component of many of the university-wide centers and institutes, particularly the exciting initiatives in Discovery Park.
Our excellence in learning is a result of dedicated efforts by the faculty, and is enhanced by ongoing research in the discipline of chemical education. Research in chemical education as a defined discipline was founded in the Department, and continues to flourish today. The vast majority of departmental courses at all levels are taught by tenure-track faculty, the teaching laboratories and equipment are regularly upgraded, a complete range of undergraduate and graduate course offerings (including undergraduate research) are provided, and undergraduate degrees with specialty emphasis (including B.S.- certification by the American Chemical Society) are a valued part of the curriculum. The department recently became the first in the U.S. whose program is approved by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Finally, the Department remains committed to K-12 education through teacher training and outreach activities that include the nationally-recognized Science Express program.
Our graduate program is among the largest in the country, often topping the list of institutions that graduate the most Ph.D. chemists. We take the responsibility of graduate education very seriously, taking advantage of our large faculty size to offer a wide range of graduate courses both at foundational and advanced levels. We also are working diligently to provide our students with unique opportunities to prepare themselves for their careers following graduate school. This past summer, we piloted a set of three workshops and hands-on experiences, and enabled its regular participants to apply for funding to pursue a graduate career development activity of their choice. The Department also encourages its students to engage in entrepreneurial activities, such as the Burton Morgan Competition and the Foundry.
The Chemistry Department also has an outstanding tradition in transferring new knowledge and technologies generated from its research for the benefit of local, state, and national economies. In addition to the substantial impact arising from publication of research findings in the open literature, faculty and staff in the Department have played key roles in the creation of more than 20 start-up companies and in the development of intellectual property that the University has subsequently licensed to the commercial sector.
Department Head and M. G. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Chemistry