In today’s information saturated world, technology grows faster than crops. New devices become obsolete within months, every pharmaceutical company is only one medication away from an industry changing breakthrough, and even private companies are pushing into space. The end result is a world where humanity is always finding new reasons to reshuffle the elements that nature provides, and thus we are seeing an explosion in the need for qualified chemists.
But adding to the chemical challenge is how far humans are pushing our environment. Gone are the days when alchemists could only experiment with temperatures as hot as a furnace or as cold as a winter day. Modern chemistry explores its boundaries within extreme temperatures, unbelievable pressures or vacuums, incredible speeds, and varying strengths of gravity.
This has turned the necessary science of chemistry into an extremely resource dependent field. Unlike mathematics or many branches of computer science, which can benefit from independent research done by people of modest means, or by those brave and talented few who have secured finances on their own, chemistry increasingly needs high tech laboratories with substantial funding. This ranking is thus especially critical. Chemists, more so than practitioners of other fields, need a strong research center to operate in. A great chemist without a great laboratory cannot do great work.
Luckily, the overwhelming need for chemistry has led to a handful of schools with extraordinary resources. Each school on this list has proven time and again that it has not only the investments it needs to contribute to the field, but also the facility required to fully utilize the equipment’s potential. And this is of the utmost importance for chemistry as the field continues to divide into more complex specializations. Now some chemists are involved in pushing our knowledge of genetics and medicine, while others build new compounds for industry through inorganic chemistry, and still others peer into the basic building blocks of reality through physical chemistry.
For this ranking, we looked to the Center for World-Class Universities operated by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (right). This center specializes in ranking universities as well as their individual programs of study. International in scope and focused on academic performance, these are known as the “Shanghai Rankings.”
From the Shanghai Rankings, we therefore identified the 50 best programs in the latest 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities in Chemistry. Taking this Shanghai Ranking as our point of departure, we researched the most important characteristics of each of the top 50 chemistry programs on the list in order to reveal why each university chemistry program appears where it does.
The 50 Best Chemistry Programs in the World
The University of California at Berkley has offered chemistry since 1868, and there have been an impressive 13 Nobel Prize recipients associated with the school’s Chemistry Department since that time.
The department is currently divided into two main areas, chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering. The numerous facilities and centers at the campus offer a variety of research equipment and techniques that allow study in high-vacuum, high-pressure, low-temperature, nuclear magnetic resonance, gas chromatography, and much more.
Research facilities include the X-Ray Facility, the Molecular Graphics and Computation Facility, the Mass Spectrometry Facility, the Micro-analytical Facility, and the NMR Facility. Supplemental research centers and institutes include the Catalysis Center, the Center for Green Chemistry, the Nano-technology Club, the Stem Cell Center, the Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, and the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center.
- See UC-Berkeley’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See UC-Berkeley’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Harvard Chemistry Department has the distinction of being the home of the first American recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Professor Theodore William Richards was awarded the prize for his research on the determination of atomic weights. There have been a total of seven Nobel Laureates associated with the department, three of whom are currently on staff.
The various laboratories and research centers on campus include the Laboratory for Integrated Science and Engineering, the Small Molecule Mass Spectrometry Facility, the X-Ray Lab, the Imaging and Analysis Facility, the Magnetic Resonance Lab, the Nanofabrication Facility, and the Materials Synthesis Facility.
The labs and facilities offer instrumentation such as ellipsometers, environmental scanning electron microscopes, chemical and physical vapor deposition systems, and equipment for surface and thermal analysis, lithography, and advanced optical imaging.
The Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology have also partnered with the FAS Green Labs Program to increase green practices on campus.
- See Harvard’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Harvard’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Chemistry Department at Stanford University maintains a strong focus on instrumentation for analysis and spectroscopy. Some of the instrumentation includes 5 Varian/Agilent spectrometers-two 400 MHz, one each 300 MHz, 500 MHz, and 600MHz spectrometers equipped for a wide range of nuclei.
Other specialized instrumentation available to research groups includes femtosecond and picosecond linear and nonlinear spectroscopy, ultra-high resolution laser spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering spectroscopy, single-molecule spectroscopy, ion cyclotron resonance facilities, biological culture facilities, and electrochemical systems.
The centers and laboratories which provide the research instrumentation include the Center for Molecular Analysis and Design, the Mass Spectroscopy Facility, and the Magnetic Resonance Laboratory. The Department maintains close affiliations with the Laboratory for Advanced Materials, the Biophysics and Molecular/Genetic Medicine Programs, and the Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.
Other major facilities include the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer, Bruker FTIR/Raman spectrometer, Agilent Cary UV-Vis-NIR spectrophotometer, and two Spex Laser-Raman spectrometers.
- See Stanford’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Stanford’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
At CalTech’s Chemistry Department, students have the opportunity to study chemistry or chemical engineering. Graduates students are also encouraged to pursue options in biochemistry and molecular biophysics.
There are a number of excellent research centers including Biological Fluid Dynamics Research, the Center for Science and Engineering of Materials, the Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center, the Laboratory for Global Environmental Science, the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast Science and Technology, and the Resnick Sustainability Institute.
There have been four Nobel Laureates associated with the Chemistry Department: Linus Pauling, Rudy A. Marcus, Ahmed Zewail, and most recently Robert Grubbs. The researchers have been recognized for their work in the nature of the chemical bond, the co-discovery of neptunium, the invention of the pH meter, and the founding of the semiconductor chip-making company.
- See Caltech’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Caltech’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Chemistry Department at Northwestern University was established in 1884. The Department recently celebrated the completion of the Integrated Molecular Structure Education and Research Center in 2013. This Center has opened the department to new possibilities for interdisciplinary work and new instrumentation.
Other excellent research centers and institutes affiliated with the department include: the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center, Centers for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence, the Chemistry for Life Processes Institute, the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery, the Quantitative Bio-elemental Imaging Center, the Institute for Sustainability and Energy, the High Throughput Analysis Laboratory, and the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.
The Northwestern University Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center manages three sub-centers, the Electron Probe Instrumentation Center, the Keck Interdisciplinary Surface Science Center, and the Nanoscale Integrated Fabrication, Testing, and Instrumentation Center.
MIT began offering chemistry as early as 1865. The list of intellectual greats associated with the school is almost as impressive as its long-standing history in offering the subject, including James Mason Crafts, Arthur Amos Noyes, G. N. Lewis, James Flack Norris, Arthur C. Cope, and F. Albert Cotton.
The Chemistry Department maintains two service centers. First, the Instrumentation Facility maintains the numerous research tools used by the department, such as the seven NMR spectrometers (300 to 600MHz), an EPR spectrometer, and a high resolution FT-MS operating with a 4.7 tesla superconducting magnet. The second service center is the X-Ray Facility for structural analysis.
Research facilities at MIT include the Center for Materials Science and Engineering, the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, the Plasma Fusion Center, the Lincoln Laboratory, the Research Laboratory of Electronics, the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology, the Novartis Center for Continuous Manufacturing, and the Whitehead Institute.
- See MIT’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See MIT’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(Cambridge, United Kingdom)
Interdisciplinary work is strongly encouraged at Cambridge. Within the Department of Chemistry, there are five specific research groups: Biological Research, Materials Chemistry Research, Physical Chemistry Research, Synthetic Chemistry Research, and Theory/Modeling and Informatics Research.
There are an additional three areas of collaborative research associated with the Chemistry Department: the Chemistry of Health, Sustainable Energy, Environment and Climate studies, and Innovative Molecular and Materials Design.
The research centers and facilities associated with these collaborative efforts include the International Center for Advanced Materials, the Institute for Multiphase Flow, the Cambridge Center for Climate Science, the Graphene Center, the Center for Computational Materials, the Laboratory for Polymer Synthetics, and the Center for Molecular Informatics.
The faculty members for the Department include Fellows of the Royal Society, Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, and Fellows of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- See Cambridge’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Cambridge’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences at the Swiss Federal Institute has seen 10 Nobel Laureates in the field of Chemistry. Researchers were awarded and recognized for work in various areas including the development of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the synthesis of ammonia from its elements, work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes, and research into the stereochemistry of organic molecules and reactions.
The Department, being originally founded in 1855 with the opening of the school, has grown to include 55 research groups. The research has been organized into five institutes and laboratories including the Institute for Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry, the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry, and the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry.
- See Swiss Federal’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Swiss Federal’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
Kyoto University was originally founded on June 18, 1897 as the College of Science and Technology, Kyoto Imperial University. It has since grown into one of Japan’s premiere research universities, and the study of Chemistry was present from its inception.
The diversity of the research fields and areas of study at Kyoto can be categorized into four main sections: Theoretical and Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry of Materials, Organic Chemistry, and Chemical Biology.
There are a total of 30 laboratories managed by the Division of Chemistry in the Graduate School of Science: 16 are from the Department of Chemistry, eight are from the Institute for Chemical Research, one is from the Institute for Virus Research, one is from the Institute for Reactor Research, one is from the Research Center for Low Temperature and Materials, and two are headed by the affiliate professors.
- See Kyoto’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Kyoto’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The founding of the University of Pennsylvania and the history of the Chemistry Department can be traced back as early as 1740. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was appointed Professor of Chemistry in 1769.
The Department has been affiliated with seven recipients of the Nobel Prize and eighteen members of the National Academy of Sciences. Recent Nobel Laureates include Ei-ichi Negishi in 2010 for work on developing palladium-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions and Alan G. Macdiarmid in 2000 for his discovery and development of a new form of organic polymer that conducts electricity.
Other Nobel recipients have been acknowledged for work in establishing the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity at the center of the ribonuclease and for developing ultrafast laser techniques for observing chemical reactions in real time.
Research programs include the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, the Parallel Reaction Screening Service Center, and the Wistar Center for Cancer Research.
- See Penn’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Penn’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(Los Angeles, California)
Most research universities will have a building dedicated to the study of chemistry, but the University of California, Los Angeles has turned the chemistry building itself into an ongoing experiment. The Transparent Solar Cells at the school actively contribute to the Chemistry Department’s research. This new type of solar cell is being studied by Dr. Paul Weiss and other researchers from the California Nano-Systems Institute, the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
The Chemistry Department manages research facilities and instrumentation such as the Molecular Instrumentation Center, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics, the X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory, and the Materials Characterization Laboratory. The NMR facilities contain NMR Spectrometers for Liquid Samples, Solid State NMR Spectrometers, and an EPR Spectrometer.
Other interdepartmental and affiliated research facilities include the Molecular Biology Institute, the Stem Cell Institute, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Institute for Genomics and Proteomics.
- See UCLA’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See UCLA’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(New Haven, Connecticut)
As a University, Yale has over 300 years of academic history and excellence making it the third oldest institution for higher education in America and one of the richest schools in the world. The Chemistry Department at Yale is no less impressive. Recently, Professor Thomas Steitz in the Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for pioneering work with the ribosome.
Other notable talent associated with Yale includes Francis S. Collins, the director of the Human Genome Project and a major science advisor to the Obama administration, and the mathematician and chemist Josiah Willard Gibbs who is known for his work with thermodynamics and physical chemistry.
The Department is organized into the four primary areas of Biophysical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physical and Theoretical Chemistry. There are also three interdisciplinary groups: Chemical Biology, Synthetic Chemistry, and Green Chemistry.
- See Yale’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Yale’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(Santa Barbara, California)
The faculty members in the Chemistry Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have been nationally recognized for their dedication. Walter Kohn and Alan Heeger are current professors who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and there are six members of the National Academy or Royal Society also on staff.
The Chemistry department manages a number of laboratories and centers for research. Included in the list are the Materials Research Laboratory, the Center for Bioengineering, the Center for Energy Efficient Materials, the Institute for Energy Efficiency, the Center for Polymers and Organic Solids, and the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies.
The plethora of instrumentation offered in the laboratories and centers includes numerous NMR spectrometers, a materials characterization facility, an x-ray crystallographic facility, a glass shop, and a machine shop.
There are two outreach programs for the department, the Fifth Grade Chemistry Outreach Program, and the K-12 Scitrek program.
- See UC Santa Barbara’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See UC Santa Barbara’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Technical University in Munich is known for its research in the area of catalysis since the groundbreaking work of Professor Ernst Fischer who was recognized for his work in 1973 and awarded the Nobel Prize. In 2008 the University established the Catalysis Research Center as a Corporate Research Center which has prompted interdisciplinary work between 19 separate research teams.
Biochemistry/Protein Science is also strong at Technical University. Research takes place in the Center for Integrated Protein Science Excellence and includes techniques such as solid-state NMR methods, x-ray crystallography, small angle x-ray scattering, the chemical synthesis of complex compounds, and biophysical and biochemical methods to study folding and modifications.
As a whole, the department is working on the development of new electro-catalysts for electrolysers and fuel cells and has built a unique facility dedicated to algae cultivation on the Ludwig Campus.
(Ithaca, New York)
Home to five Nobel Laureates, including Manfred Eigen, Peter Debye, and Richard Ernst, the department recently celebrated two Cornell alumni: Eric Betzig and William Moerner. They were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work and achievements in optical microscopy. In addition to excellent research, Cornell University’s Chemistry Department is also known as the founder of the prestigious peer reviewed Journal of Physical Chemistry.
The facilities on campus include the Cornell Nanofabrication Center, the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source and Center for Materials Research, and the Advanced Center for Electron-spin Resonance Technologies.
There are numerous research centers available including, but not limited to, the Center for Nanoscale Systems, the Center for Advanced Computing, the Center for a Sustainable Future, the Institute for Biotechnology and Life Science Technologies, the Nano-biotechnology Center, the Weill Institute for Cell and Molecular Biology, and the Northeastern Collaborative Access Team.
- See Cornell’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Cornell’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(New York, New York)
Being located in one of the epi centers of culture and surrounded by other research centers, Columbia University has long prided itself on collaborative efforts. Not surprisingly, interdepartmental research is key for the Chemistry Department at Columbia University. There are a number of centers promoting shared research including the Columbia Science Initiative, the Genome Center, the Integrated Science and Engineering Center, the Energy Frontiers Research Center, the Center for Precision Assembly of Superstratic and Superatomic Solids, and the Ancient Ink Laboratory.
The Columbia Nano-initiative, also managed by the Chemistry Department, maintains the Electron Microscopy facility. Other instrumentation includes ten NMR spectrometers, four with solid-state capabilities.
The Protein Chemistry Core Facility is maintained by both the Chemistry Department and Columbia’s Medical School. Nearby Columbia University is the Brookhaven National Laboratory. And finally, a Biology Autoclave and a Cold Room will be coming soon to the department.
- See Columbia’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Columbia’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(Oxford, United Kingdom)
In 1860, Chemistry became its own separate discipline at the University of Oxford after the completion of its own laboratory. There have been a total of 21 Nobel Laureates associated with the department since 1904 and a total of 92 Nobel Laureates associated with the school at large. The most recent Nobel recipients include Michael Levitt in 2013 for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical systems, and Venki Ramakrishnan in 2009 for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.
The department’s Research Laboratory houses the NMR facilities and the Mass Spectrometry research facility with its sixteen systems, both the largest facilities of their kinds in the United Kingdom. Other excellent research centers and facilities include the Center for Advanced Electron Spin Resonance, the Surface Analysis Facility, and the X-Ray Crystallography Facility.
- See Oxford’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Oxford’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(San Diego, California)
A recent success for the Chemistry Department at the University of California in San Diego was the recognition of Professor Roger Tsien. Professor Tsien shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Osamu Shimomura and Martin Chalfie for their discovery of and work with Green Fluorescent Protein. The prior recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the school was Professor Mario Molina in 1995 for his study of the ozone layer and chlorofluorocarbon gases.
Chemistry Research Institutes and Centers at San Diego include the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment, the Liquid Maps Institute, the Center for Systems Biology, the BioCircuits Institute, and the Center for NMR Spectroscopy and the Imaging of Proteins.
The Department also supports a number of research facilities and the subsequent instrumentation. The Biophysics Instrumentation Facility provides tool such as an Analytical Ultracentrifuge, an Aviv CD spectrometer, and a Stopped-flow Fluorimeter. Other facilities include the UCSD Biomolecule Crystallography Facility, the Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility, and Biomolecular/Proteomeics Mass Spectrometry Facility, and the Molecular Mass Spectrometry Facility.
At the University of Strasbourg, students will find the European School of Chemistry, Polymers and Materials. The 86 tenure researchers manage four research units and publish approximately 200 works each year.
The associated research units are easily organized into three campus location. The Esplanade campus has three facilities to manage, the Strasbourg Institute of Chemistry, Complex Matter Chemistry, and the Institute of Super Molecular Science and Engineering. The Cronenbourg campus has five facilities, the Strasbourg Institute of Physics and Materials Chemistry, the Charles Sadron Institute, the Institute of Chemistry, Energy, Environment, and Health Processes, the Laboratory of Molecular Chemistry, and the Hubert Curien Multidisciplinary Institute.
Finally, the Illkirch campus has an additional three facilities, the Laboratory of Design and Application of Bioactive Molecules, the Laboratory for Therapeutical Innovation, and the Laboratory of Biophotonics and Pharmacology.
(West Lafayette, Indiana)
The Chemistry Department at Purdue University was established in 1874. The first appointed Chemistry Professor was Dr. Harvey Wiley, the father of the Pure Food and Drug Law. Another, more recent and notable professor is Ei-ichi Negishi who was recognized in 2010 with the Nobel Prize for his work on building complex organic molecules.
The Department has maintained a number of research affiliations including the Bindley Bioscience Center, the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Catalyst Design, the Homeland Security Institute, the Purdue Cancer Center, and the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.
Other Department Facilities include the Design, Fabrication, and Repair, Analytical Services, and Lab Training Services.
At Heidelberg University, the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Science manages the Department of Chemistry. The Department is then broken down into three institutes, the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, the Institute of Organic Chemistry, and the Institute of Physical Chemistry.
The Department maintains close research partnerships with over 15 different facilities, some of which include the Biochemistry Center, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Heidelberg Center of the Environment, the Institute for Nuclear Waste, the Institute for Transuranium Elements, the South Asia Institute, and the Center for Molecular Biology at Heidelberg. The school also runs the joint Catalysis Research Laboratory and partners with the three of the world famous Max Planck Institutes.
- See Heidelberg’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Heidelberg’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Chemistry Department at Rice University is strong in the area of nanoscale science and technology and has made major breakthroughs in nanomedicine. The Department recently merged two multidisciplinary research centers, the Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and the Rice Quantum Institute. This merger created the Smalley-Curl Institute which manages the Applied Physics Graduate Program.
Other research institutes include the Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology, the Laboratory for NanoPhotonics which offers the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Training grant in Nanophotonics, and the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering.
The Departmental Facilities include the Chemistry Stockroom, Compressed Gas Orders, Cleanroom Facilities, the Center for Research Support, and the Chemistry Shipping Center.
The graduate Chemistry program at Rice University has been ranked 33 by U.S. News & World Report for 2014.
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
The Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto was established in 1859. A total of 11 research facilities have been established over the years. The Center for Nanostructure Imaging opened in 2004 with joint funding from the Canada Foundation of Innovation and the Ontario Innovation Trust. The Chemistry Library, the Chem Stores, and the Machine Shop provide many of the supplies and services which support research.
Other facilities include the X-Ray Crystallography Lab, the X-Ray Powder Diffraction Lab, NMR facilities, and the Mass Spectrometry Lab. There are also three research centers, the Center for Nanostructured Polymer and Inorganic Materials, the Center for the Study of Thin Polymer Films for Advanced Properties, and the Center for Quantum Information and Quantum Control.
- See Toronto’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Toronto’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
At the Swiss Federal Institute the study of Chemistry is broken down into two major areas, the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, and the Section of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
The Faculty of the Basic Sciences helps manage the two areas as well as a number of interdisciplinary research centers: the European Center of Atomic and Molecular Computing, the Bernoulli Interfaculty Center, the Biomedical Imaging Research Center, the Interdisciplinary Center for Electron Microscopy, the Max Planck Center, the Swiss Plasma Center, and the NCCR Quantum Photonics Center.
In addition to the centers, there are numerous research laboratories and groups. Some of these facilities include the Laboratory of Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry, the Laboratory of Ultrafast Spectroscopy, the Laboratory of Nanobiotechnology, the Laboratory of Stem Cell Bioengineering, the Group for Functionalized Biomaterials, the Group for Photochemical Dynamics, the Group for Gas-Surface Dynamics, and the Group of Catalysis for Biofuels.
- See Swiss Federal Lausanne’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Swiss Federal Lausanne’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Department of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo was founded in 1861, making it the oldest in Japan. A history of successful research endeavors includes the discovery of Umami in 1908, the development of the concept of rotation isomers in 1933, and the discovery of organic semiconductors in 1958. The school has experienced unprecedented success in recent years, as the department has been associated with no less than seven Nobel Prize winners since 2000.
The graduate programs provided are all available in English. Students in the graduate programs may apply for two excellent research stipends, the Advanced Leading Graduate Course for Photon Science program and the Materials Education Program for the Future Leaders in Research, Industry, and Technology.
There are 12 main research groups that can be broadly organized into the areas of Physical, Organic, Inorganic, and Analytical Chemistry. Other associated research laboratories and facilities include the Photoelectric Conversion Chemistry, the Research Center for Spectrochemistry, the Center for Ultrafast Intense Laser Science, the Earthquake Research Institute, and the Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute.
- See Tokyo’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Tokyo’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The faculty members in the Chemistry Department at the University of Texas include four members of the National Academies, three fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and one recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. The members of the department are known for their significant contributions to the areas of Chemical Biology and Material Science.
The graduate program in the Chemistry Department was ranked in the top 12 according to the 2014 U.S. News & World Report. Students have many interdisciplinary research opportunities in facilities such as the Texas Materials Institute, the Center for Nano-Molecular Science and Technology, and the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology.
Other Department facilities include the Glass and Instrument Repair Shop, NMR, Mass Spectrometry, X-ray facilities, and the Mallet Chemistry Library. The Library has over 100,000 volumes, making it the largest Chemistry Library in the United States.
- See UT-Austin’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See UT-Austin’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
In 2015, the Chemistry Department at the University of California at Irvine celebrated its 50th class of students. In 1965, seven founders started the Chemistry department on its path of academic excellence including Dave Brant, Don Bunker, Marjorie Caserio, Ed K.C. Lee, Hal Moore, Bob Taft, and F. Sherry Rowland, the first chair of the Department.
The first Nobel Prize recipient in Chemistry from the University of California at Irvine was Professor F.S. Rowland. He was recognized in 1995 for his work on ozone destruction in the stratosphere by chlorofluorocarbons.
Research Centers managed by the Department include AirUCI, ChaMP, NSF-CRC for Gas Hydrates, the Institute for Surface and Interface Science, the Center for Solar Energy, and the Center for Chemical Innovation. Supporting facilities include Laser Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry, Molecular Modeling, NMR, X-Ray Crystallography, and Synthesis.
- See UC-Irvine’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See UC-Irvine’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
Georgia Tech has been offering chemistry as a degree since 1906 and was one of the first schools in the state to offer chemistry at the PhD level. Today the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry operates numerous research centers, facilities, and laboratories.
Some of the excellent research centers include: the Aquatic Chemical Ecology Center, the Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology, the Center for Ribosomal Origins and Evolution, the Center for Drug Design, Development, and Delivery, the Center for Selective C-H Functionalization, the Integrative BioSystems Institute, the Integrated Cancer Research Center, and the Institute for Paper Science and Technology.
Other supporting research services include the Center for Computational Molecular Science and Technology, the Laser Dynamics Laboratory, and the Equipment Engineering and Support Services Center which manages a full-service scientific glassblowing shop.
(Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Chemistry has been taught at the University of Michigan since its establishment in 1839. The Department saw the completion of the first laboratory exclusively dedicated to Chemistry research in the United States in 1856. The first chair of the Department was Professor Moses Gomberg, well known for the discovery of organic free radicals.
Research at Michigan is divided into six major clusters, Physical, Organic, Material, Inorganic, Chemical Biology, and Analytical Chemistry. These areas are further divided into 15 research themes. The Analytical Chemistry program is strong in the areas of Electrochemistry, Microfluidics, Mass Spectrometry, and Separations. The Organic Chemistry cluster has strengths in the areas of Organometallic Chemistry, Organic Synthesis, Bioorganic Chemistry, and Organic Materials.
Facilities supporting the research areas include the Glass and Instrument Shop, Mass Spectrometry, NMR Services, Porous Materials Characterization, Raman Spectroscopy, and X-ray Crystallography.
- See Michigan’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Michigan’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota)
The faculty of the Chemistry Department at the University of Minnesota consists of six members of the National Academy of Sciences and one recipient of the Nobel Prize. Melvin Calvin was recognized as a Nobel Laureate in 1961 for his discovery of the Calvin cycle.
The Department partners with a number of collaborative research centers: the Center for Metals in Biocatalysis, the Center for Analysis of Biomolecular Signalling, the Center for Sustainable Polymers, the Nanoporous Materials Genome Center and the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology.
Other research initiatives and associations include the Chemical Theory Center, the Industrial Partnership for Research in Interfacial and Materials Engineering, the Medical Devices Center, the Minnesota Research Science and Engineering Center, and the UltraFast Dynamics Alliance.
The Chemistry Department is also greatly involved in community outreach. Programs have been held at the Science Museum on Minnesota, the State Fair, the Math and Science Family Fun Day on campus, and at local grade schools.
At Peking University, the research and study of Chemistry is managed by the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering. The College can trace its history back to the Chemistry Division of the Metropolitan University of the Qing Dynasty, making it one of the oldest Chemistry Departments in China.
Today the College is organized into ten departments and research institutes including, the Departments of Polymer Science and Engineering, Applied Chemistry, and Chemical Biology and the Institutes of Inorganic, Organic, and Analytical Chemistry.
There are also two State Key laboratories, two Ministry of Education Key laboratories, and one National Defense Key laboratory. The laboratories include the Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Science, the National Laboratory of Rare Earth Material Chemistry and Application, and the Key Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry and Molecular Engineering.
The achievements of professors and researchers at the Department are published in 500 to 600 SCI cited papers each year.
Founded in 1402, the University of Wuerzburg is one of the oldest institutions in Germany. The Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy has three Chemistry Nobel Laureates. First in 1902, Emil Fischer was recognized for the discovery of the Fischer esterification, in 1907 Eduard Buchner was recognized for his work in fermentation, and finally in 1988 Hartmut Michel was recognized for the discovery of the photosynthetic reaction center in certain bacteria.
The research institutes and facilities at Wuerzburg include the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, the Institute of Organic Chemistry, the Institute of Pharmacy and Food Chemistry, the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, the Department of Biochemistry, the Department of Chemical Technology of Material Synthesis, and the Department of Inorganic Chemistry.
Supporting the research facilities are the services of the Central Precision Engineering Workshop, Elemental Analysis, CIP-pool Chemicals, NMR Spectroscopy, and X-Ray Crystallography.
The Chemistry Department at the University of Illinois can trace its history back to 1868. Over time, there have been many notable accomplishments associated with the department including the discovery of the amino acid Threonine, the development of electron transfer theory, groundbreaking work in polymer synthesis and coordination chemistry, and the discovery of the artificial sweetener sodium cyclamate. A total of 10 Nobel Prize recipients are among the Department’s professors and graduates.
There are four major research centers on campus: the William Noyes Laboratory, the Roger Adams Laboratory, the Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory, and the Chemistry Annex. The Chemistry Annex is a collection of general laboratories specifically for undergraduates.
Interdisciplinary facilities include the Materials Research Laboratory, the Institute for Genomic Biology, and the Beckman Institute. Other supporting facilities include the Cell Media Facility, the High-Throughput Screening Facility, the Mass Spectrometry Center, and the Glass and Machine Shops.
- See Illinois’ ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Illinois’ ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder is well known for the many close connections between the school and the local research facilities. The Ball Brothers Research Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Array-Biopharma, Amgen Development, Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Displaytech, and NeXstar are just a few of the regional chemical, biotechnical, and pharmaceutical companies which maintain a mutual relationship with the school and the Chemistry Department.
Among the many research collaborations, relationships are maintained on a corporate level with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institute of Science and Technology, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Supporting facilities and instrumentation on campus include a Cytomation Flow Cytometer/Cell Sorter, A SLM 48000S Fluorescence Spectrometer, NMR and Macromolecular NMR facilities, the Integrated Instrument Development Facility, and a Mammalian Cell Culture Facility.
- See University of Colorado’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See University of Colorado’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
As one of the most prestigious institutions for higher education in Japan, Tohoku University now manages 10 schools, 12 research departments, seven laboratories, and three university hospitals. Four of the most distinguished faculty members, all recipients of the Order of Culture, include Majima Riko, Akabori Shiro, Nozoe Tetsuo and Koji Nakanishi.
The Department of Chemistry at Tohoku University has five major divisions: Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Interdisciplinary Chemistry, and Advanced Atomic and Molecular Science. The Department also has three divisions of Cooperative Research Groups: Reaction Mechanism and Dynamics, Solid-State Chemistry, and Biofunctional Chemistry.
Each division maintains its own research laboratories including the Laboratory of Coordination Chemistry, Natural Product Chemistry, Radiochemistry, Advanced Scanning Probe Microscopy, Hybridized Organic Nanocrystal Materials, and Synthetic Chemistry for Biofunctional Molecules.
Other associated institutions and research centers include the Center for Giant Molecules, the Laboratory of Heavy Element Chemistry, and the Laboratory of Reaction and Separation Processes.
(Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
King Abdulaziz University was established as an institution for higher education in Saudi Arabia in 1967. It has since invested substantial resources in an effort to become the dominant center of higher learning in the Middle East and throughout the Muslim world. The University is separated into male and female campuses in keeping with the Islamic traditions. The Faculty of Science was established in the 1973 to 1974 academic year. The faculty members manage the departments of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, and Biology.
The Chemistry department maintains interdisciplinary relationships with the Biochemistry, Pharmacy, Marine Science, Education, and Environmental Science programs. Cooperative research topics include Genomic Medicine, Hereditary Disorders, Advanced Materials, and Osteoporosis. Interdisciplinary Centers include the Center of Nanotechnology, the Geohazards Research Center, and the Center of Scientific Publications.
At the University of Florida, there is a strong national presence in the sciences with 42 faculty members with elections to the National Academy of Sciences and Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, or the Institute of Medicine. There are currently 38 tenure track faculty members who help manage the five Faculty and Research divisions: Analytic, Biochemistry, Inorganic, Organic, and Physical Chemistry.
Research support facilities include NMR, Mass Spectrometry, and X-ray Crystallography. Technical Support facilities include the IT shop, Electronics Shop, and Machine Shop. Major instrumentation housed by the various facilities includes optical spectrometers, surface analysis instrumentation, mass spectrometers, lasers, nanoparticle processing equipment, Raman spectrometers, and atomic spectrochemical analysis instrumentation.
The first Master’s degree in Chemistry granted by the Department was awarded in 1909. The first PhD was awarded in 1930. Since that time the Department has seen over 1500 successful graduates through its programs.
(Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China)
Zhejiang University can trace its history back to Qiushi Academy, one of the earliest modern academies of higher education in China. It was founded in 1897 and has since developed into a major research center in the world’s leading industrial nation.
The University runs 14 specialized National Key Laboratories, some of which collaborate with the Chemistry Department including the Silicon Material Science Lab, Clean Energy Utilization, the Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, and the Plant Physiology and Biochemistry Laboratory.
Other interdisciplinary research centers include the Center of Nano-Materials, the Center of Brain and Intelligence which houses the Laboratory of Neurobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience, the Microsystem Intercross Research Center, the Center of Biology Resources and Functional Genomics, and the Tissue Engineering Center.
The Department of Chemistry at Osaka University is managed through the Graduate School of Science. There are four major divisions within the Department, Inorganic, Physical, Organic, and Interdisciplinary Chemistry. Each division maintains its own research groups and laboratories.
The Inorganic Chemistry division manages research for Analytical Chemistry, Radiochemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and Bioinorganic Chemistry. The Physical Chemistry division is broken down into Condensed Matter Physical Chemistry, Surface Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry, Reaction Dynamics, and Biophysical Chemistry. The Organic Chemistry division includes Structural Organic Chemistry, Physical Organic Chemistry, Natural Product Chemistry, and Organic Biochemistry. Finally, the Interdisciplinary Chemistry Division includes Biomolecular Chemistry and Coordination Chemistry.
There are an additional 13 interdisciplinary research groups in other institutes which collaborate with the Chemistry Department.
Research facilities such as the Center for Structural Thermodynamics and the Laboratory for Natural Products Chemistry house and maintain instrumentation including electronic spectroscopy, NMR, X-ray diffraction studies, and magnetic measurements.
(College Station, Texas)
With over $854 million spent on research expenditures each year, Texas A&M has shown its dedication to the advancement of knowledge. There are three internal Centers of Research managed by the Chemistry Department at Texas A&M University, the Center for Chemical Characterization and Analysis, the Elemental Analysis Laboratory, and the Laboratory for Synthetic-Biologic Interactions.
External Centers of Research include the Center for Atmospheric Chemistry and the Environment, the Cyclotron Institute, the Microscopy and Imaging Center, the Gene Technologies Laboratory, and the Protein Chemistry Laboratory. Each center and laboratory maintains a plethora of supplementary equipment.
In an effort to spark interest in the sciences, the Chemistry Department also participates in a number of Community Outreach programs. The Department runs an annual Chemistry Open House and Science Exploration Gallery open to the public and brings engaging experiments to the local grade schools through the Chemistry Road Show.
- See Texas A&M’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Texas A&M’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
At the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Faculty of Chemistry manages the Departments of Chemical Physics, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Materials and Interfaces, Organic Chemistry, Structural Biology, and Chemical Research Support.
The departments cover a number of research areas including: Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, Biophysics, Biomaterials, and Soft Matter, Interface Chemistry and Self Assembly, and Theory and Computation. Recently, in June 2010, the Chemistry High Performance Computing Facility was established to further encourage and support cutting edge research.
Affiliated Centers to the various departments include: the Alternative Sustainable Energy Research Initiative, the Barton Center for Research on the Chemistry of Life, the Center for Neurological Diseases, the Institute for Scientific Exchange, the Crown Institute for Genomics, the De Botton Institute for Protein Profiling, and the Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for Molecular Design and Stem Cell Research.
The Chemistry Department at the University of California in Riverside became an independent entity in 1959. An annex to the Chemistry building was completed in 2000. This added an additional 12 research laboratories and offices to the Department. In 2005 Professor Richard Schrock, a UCR Chemistry graduate in 1967, was awarded the Nobel Prize in recognition for his work in organometallic catalysis of olefin metathesis reactions.
There are eight major research areas and five major facilities. The research areas include Chemical Biology, Analytical, Computational, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, Material, and Environmental Chemistry.
The facilities supporting the research groups include the Analytical Chemistry Instrumentation Facility which houses most of the research instrumentation, the Central Facility for Advanced Microscopy and Microanalysis, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, the Center for Plant Cell Biology, and the Center for Catalysis.
The instrumentation in the Analytical Chemistry facility includes NMR, Mass Spectrometry, Optical Spectroscopy, and X-Ray Crystallography.
The Chemistry Department at the University of Wisconsin has been ranked second in the United States for its Biochemistry program by the 2014 U.S. News & World Report. With six professors and professor emeriti as members of the National Academy of Sciences and two Chemistry Nobel Laureates, the Department maintains a strong history of academic excellence.
The Chemistry Building has six major research groups: Analytic Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Inorganic, Material, Organic, and Physical Chemistry. The Centers and Laboratories across campus which support these research groups include NMR, Mass Spectrometry, X-Ray Crystallography, the Catalysis Center, the Keck Center for Chemical Genomics, and the Phoenix Research Computing Cluster. Also on campus are the electrical, glass, and instrument/machine shops.
As part of its community outreach, the Chemistry Department helps to maintain the Discovery Center Museum’s Carbon Playground.
- See Wisconsin’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Wisconsin’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
Founded in 1958 in Melbourne, Australia, Monash University has a Faculty of Science which spans five schools and three campuses. The five major divisions include the School of Biological Sciences, the School of Chemistry, the School of Earth, Atmosphere, and Environment, the School of Mathematical Sciences, the School of Physics and Astronomy, and the Malaysia School of Science.
Within the School of Chemistry, there are a number of subdivided research groups covering a broad span of topics. Some of those groups include Water and Environmental Chemistry, Coal and Soil Science, Green Chemistry, Surfaces and Surfactants, Biospectroscopy, and Solar Energy Conversion.
Facilities which support the various research groups include NMR Spectroscopy, Chromatography, Mass Spectrometry, General Analytical Services, and Water Studies Analytical Services.
Several Nobel Laureates of the sciences are associated with the University of Chicago. Specific recognition in Chemistry has been given to Robert S. Mulliken in 1966 for his work with chemical bonds and the electronic structure of molecules; Herbert C. Brown in 1979 for the development of the use of boron and phosphorous containing compounds; F. Sherwood Rowland in 1995 for work in Atmospheric Chemistry; and most recently, Irwin Rose in 2004 for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.
There are eight general research areas: Inorganic, Organic, Physical, Chemical Biology, Materials/Nanoscience, Biophysics, Catalysis, and Theoretical Chemistry. Research affiliations include the Argonne National Laboratory, the Enrico Fermi Institute, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, and the Institute for Molecular Engineering.
Research support facilities include the Searle Cleanroom and Nanofabrication Facility, Spectroscopic Facilities, Electronics/Machine Shop and Glassblowing Facilities, and MRSEC Facilities.
- See University of Chicago’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See University of Chicago’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
(Los Angeles, California)
The Chemistry Department at the University of Southern California is managed by the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. The Department has numerous interdisciplinary research centers and programs for all students and faculty members. Relationships are maintained with the Center for Advance Sustainable Energy, the Center for Quantum Information Science and Technology, the Bridge Institute, the Loker Hydrocarbon Institute, and the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Facilities and instrumentation include the Bruker Vertex 80 FTIR spectrometer with vacuum capability, the Jasco temperature-controlled digital polarimeter, the Bruker APEX diffractometer with a CCD area detector for single-crystal applications, and the Horiba XploRA Raman Microscope System with low temperature cell attachment.
The University of Muenster has 15 Departments, seven Collaborative Research Centers, two Marie Curie Initial Training Networks, 25 Research Centers, and 14 affiliated Research Institutes. One of the 15 Departments is the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy. There are three teaching units in this department: Chemistry, Food Chemistry, and Pharmacy. Each teaching unit has its own research groups, with 36 for Chemistry making it the largest unit.
There are eight major divisions within the Chemistry unit: Inorganic and Analytic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemistry Education, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Business Management, Food Chemistry, and the Graduate School of Chemistry.
Research centers include the Battery Research Center, the Center for Nanotechnology, the Soft Nanoscience, the Center for Nonlinear Science, and the Center for Multiscale Theory and Computation.
As a top national university for science and technology in Japan and located in its nation’s premier center for culture and commerce, the Tokyo Institute has become a leading research center in the Far East. The school can trace its history to the original 1881 Tokyo Vocational School. The Department of Chemistry and Materials Science was formally established in 1998 and is now managed by the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.
There are five major research areas each with corresponding laboratories: Inorganic, Organic, Physical, Analytic, and Volcanic Chemistry. There are a total of 14 laboratories for all five sections including the Kawano Lab, the Ohshima Lab, the Goto Lab, the Hibara Lab, and the Terada Lab.
State-of-the-art instrumentation provided at the various laboratories includes NMR, X-Ray Diffractometry, and Laser Raman Microscopy.
(London, United Kingdom)
The Imperial College is one of four universities across the United Kingdom to receive the SWAN gold award for promoting women in science. There have also been two Nobel Prizes awarded to faculty members. The first Chemistry award was to Sir Derek Barton in 1969 for his work in organic conformational analysis. The second was to Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson in 1973 for his work in organometallic chemistry. Other Nobel Laureates associated with the department include Lord George Porter, Sir Cyril Hinshelwood, Sir Norman Haworth, and Sir Frederick Hopkins.
The Department is organized into five major research sections: the Catalysis/Sustainability and Applied Inorganics Group, Chemical Biology, Chemical Physics, Nanostructured Materials and Devices Group, and the Synthesis Group. The three major research centers are the Center for Plastic Electronics, the Institute of Chemical Biology, and the National Service for Computational Chemistry Software. Additionally, there is a long standing relationship with the Royal Society of Chemistry.
- See Imperial College’s ranking among “The 50 Best Physics Programs in the World Today.”
- See Imperial College’s ranking among “The 100 Best Universities in the World.”
At Nagoya University, the history of the Chemistry Department can be traced back to the foundation of the school in 1939 and the formation of the School of Science in 1942. In 2001, Professor Noyori of the Chemistry Department was awarded the Nobel Prize for work on chirally catalyzed hydrogenation reactions. Today the Graduate school of Science manages the Department of Chemistry in the fourth largest city in Japan. The city of Nagoya has a population of approximately 2.2 million.
There are 11 laboratories managed by the Department including two Organic Chemistry Laboratories, Nano-Structured Materials, Solid State Chemistry, and the Nayori Laboratory. All of the labs partake in interdisciplinary research by maintaining partnerships with the Research Center for Materials Science.