I teach our two-semester sequence in physical chemistry that chemistry majors typically take in their junior year. The fall course is Thermodynamics and Kinetics, which focuses on describing the macroscopic (bulk) behavior of matter and the energy changes associated with its various transformations. The spring course is Quantum Chemistry and Spectroscopy, which introduces students to the field of quantum mechanics applied to understanding the energy levels and properties of individual, isolated molecules. This course has a special emphasis on the use of group theory to solve quantum mechanical problems of interest to chemists. I occasionally offer the course Research in Molecular Spectroscopy for students who have completed these courses. In the Research course, we collaboratively undertake experiments on whatever molecule our research group is currently tackling! There are no lectures in this course—every class meeting is spent in my research lab.
I also teach courses in our introductory chemistry sequence. I developed a one-semester course for well-prepared first-year students entitled Accelerated General Chemistry. This course uses some calculus and explores topics at a deeper mathematical level than in a typical general chemistry course. The enrollment is limited to 18 students. I also teach our regular introductory courses, General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II.
All of these courses have associated laboratory experiences. Labs are a relaxed but rich environment for teaching and learning chemistry. I enjoy updating our laboratory curriculum by developing new experiments and improving existing ones, with a particular emphasis on utilizing modern chemical instrumentation.