Professor & Chair of Chemistry
Computational and Analytical Chemistry
Olin-Rice Science Center, 318
Keith Kuwata is a physical and analytical chemist with a background in laser spectroscopy and atmospheric chemistry. Prof. Kuwata, who started at Macalester in Fall 2000, teaches courses in general, analytical, and physical chemistry. His research involves using computer simulations to determine the mechanisms of oxidation reactions in the troposphere. He also has collaborated with a number of experimentalists to predict the properties of a variety of organic and transition metal systems. Students in his laboratory use both quantum mechanics and statistical rate theory for these studies, which are supported by grants from the American Chemical Society and the National Science Foundation.
Until moving to Macalester, Prof. Kuwata lived in Southern California. As an undergraduate, he studied chemistry at Harvey Mudd College, and also read some Spanish literature at Harvey Mudd’s sister school, Pomona College. As a graduate student at Caltech, he probed the structure of ionic clusters using time-of-flight mass spectrometry and infrared laser spectroscopy. These charged clusters mimicked polar statrosopheric clouds, which play a critical role in ozone depletion over the
Antarctic. As a postdoctoral scholar, he learned to use quantum chemistry to describe organic reactions, and also served as a lecturer for general chemistry, teaching classes of up to 350 people (when everyone showed up.)
Prof. Kuwata received a Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2006 from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. This foundation supports a variety of programs to advance the study of chemistry at colleges and universities. The Henry Dreyfus Award recognizes chemists at primarily undergraduate institutions for excellence in teaching and research done in collaboration with students.
He is married to Alexa, who is a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Saint Paul. They have one daughter, Margaret, who was born in October 2004.
- B.A., Harvey Mudd College, 1991
- Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1998