About the Department
Duke Chemistry is distinctive in many ways:
Outstanding facilities and interactions The $115M French Family Science Center, completed in 2007, provides outstanding research space for the Department plus related groups in Physics and Biology. A five-minute walk can reach all of the basic physical sciences, the engineering school, and most of basic medical sciences on campus. This physical proximity, unparalleled at major American universities, fosters strong interdisciplinary connections and enables research to solve major scientific problems with broad impact.
Dynamic faculty For the 22 tenure-track Chemistry faculty, the median time at Duke is only eight years (since 2004, we have hired three distinguished senior faculty and four junior faculty). Nine faculty members hold endowed chairs - recognition of the highest stature within the University. The Department also includes five research faculty with outstanding programs, and six tenure-track faculty with secondary appointments in Chemistry.
Strong graduate students Duke’s strengths have attracted excellent students who take advantage of the opportunities available both in Chemistry and across campus. A significant fraction are supported by outside fellowships and University-wide training grant programs, such as those in pharmacology or medical imaging.
Novel foci Our hiring has not been centered around traditional subdisciplines, such as physical or organic chemistry (although much of our work fits into those categories). Rather, the emphasis has been on directions which reflect Duke’s traditional excellence, existing strengths, and differential opportunities: theoretical/computational chemistry, molecular and biomolecular imaging, chemical biology, nanomaterials, and energy science. In addition to research opportunities in chemistry, members of the Department participate in interdisciplinary centers and training programs covering Photonics and Biophotonics; Developmental, Cell and Molecular Biology; Biophysics; Materials Science; Genetics; Pharmacology; and Toxicology.
Internationally respected researchWith publications in the world’s most respected journals and regular highlights in the national news media, Duke Chemistry faculty and students pursue an amazing range of cutting-edge research, detailed in the faculty pages on this site.
Balance between research, teaching, and service Excellence in research is at the core of a good Chemistry department, but an outstanding one reflects a broader mission. General chemistry is taught by our most distinguished researchers and by extraordinary educators such as James Bonk, who is celebrating 50 years on the faculty. Chemistry faculty play major roles in University administration. Our students regularly organize new graduate and undergraduate courses and programs (such as our new Future Faculty program) and run outreach activities, and our students and faculty alike have been recognized with numerous university teaching awards.
Duke has a great Chemistry Department. And the best is yet to come.