The goal of Hamilton's Chemistry Department is to introduce a broad range of students to the principles of scientific inquiry, while providing those who plan to pursue gradute study or careers in the health professions practical, hands-on training.
Chemistry is called the central science, and for good reason. The inquiry into how matter is composed and combined is a foundation of all fields of scientific knowledge. The chemist's laboratory stretches from the interior of living cells to the most distant reaches of the universe. Between the extremes, chemistry is a key to many of our most crucial issues: environmental safety, global warming, renewable energy, bio- and chemical terrorism, medicine and fertility. At Hamilton, students don't just study chemistry; they help break new ground as members of a scientific community.
How are molecules structured? How do they interact? What are the dynamics and properties of organic and inorganic matter on the molecular level? Such questions, and the research through which they are investigated, are the starting points for a broad knowledge of chemistry that drives modern technology, medicine, industry and agriculture. On a deeper level, chemistry shapes our very understanding of nature, from the microscopic to the intergalactic.
Hamilton's Department of Chemistry provides students with a strong background for graduate work in many specialized science fields. Half of the College's chemistry alumni do graduate study. The program also prepares students to enter a range of health-related professions. And even students whose primary interests lie elsewhere find that a basic grounding in chemistry provides a wealth of important knowledge about the everyday world, on issues as mundane as household products and as monumental as national security.
At every level, student-faculty interaction is at the core of the College's mission. Chemistry classes and laboratory sessions are kept small to foster mentoring relationships and one-on-one dialogue. Students are encouraged to pursue, and are guided through, independent projects that allow them to collaborate with faculty members on original research.