Bard College Catalogue

The Bard College Catalogue contains detailed descriptions of the College's undergraduate programs and courses, curriculum, admission and financial aid procedures, student activities and services, history, campus facilities, affiliated institutions including graduate programs, and faculty and administration.

Bard College Catalogue, 2018–19

Bard College Catalogue, 2018–19

Chemistry and Biochemistry


Swapan Jain (director), Craig Anderson, Elizabeth Crew, Jessica Geer, Christopher LaFratta, Emily McLaughlin, Atahualpa Pinto


The Chemistry and Biochemistry Program at Bard is geared primarily, but not exclusively, toward meeting the needs of students planning to do graduate and/or professional work in a variety of chemistry, biochemistry, and engineering subfields. During their course of study, students receive research training alongside faculty in modern methods in chemistry, which include extensive hands-on experience with contemporary instruments and equipment (see “Facilities”). In addition to the core courses, a student typically completes at least two advanced electives in chemistry, biology, mathematics, or physics, according to personal goals.  


Before moderating in the program, students should complete (or be enrolled in) Chemistry 141-142 and 201-202, Mathematics 141 and 142, and Physics 141. Students are expected to follow the standard divisional procedure for Moderation and to fulfill the college-wide distribution and First-Year Seminar requirements. To graduate, students must successfully complete Chemistry 311, 312, 350, and 360; one elective at the 400-level; and the Senior Project. Students interested in pursuing a biochemistry track must complete the core courses noted above, Chemistry 390 (Biochemistry), two biology laboratory electives, and the Senior Project.

Recent Senior Projects in Chemistry and Biochemistry

  • “Carbon-carbon bond formation: An investigation of [2+2] cycloadditions by visible light photoredox catalysis”
  • “Evolution of extracellular DNA (eDNA) secretion in Bacillus subtilis
  • “Hybrid lithography in SU-8: A mask-based photolithography and direct laser writing technique”
  • “Potential anticancer activity via inhibition of telomerase binding: Investigation of stabilization factors for G-quadruplex structures”

Faculty/Student Publications

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to work on research projects with members of the chemistry faculty. Recent publications that have featured student coauthors include the following:

  • “Investigation of Liver Alcohol Dehydrogenase Catalysis Using an NADH Biomimetic and Comparison with a Synthetic Zinc Model Complex” Polyhedron 114 (2016), 145-151
  • A Convenient Direct Laser Writing System for the Creation of Microfluidic Masters.” Microfluidics and Nanofluidics 19 (2015), 419–26
  • “Regioselective Formation of Six-Membered and Five-Membered Cyclometalated Platinum Complexes.” Tetrahedron Letters 56, no. 46 (2015), 6352–55
  • “Structural Insights into the Interactions of xpt Riboswitch with Novel Guanine Analogues: A Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study.” Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics 33 (2015), 234–43


Facilities at the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation and the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Science Laboratories include teaching labs, individual research laboratories for faculty and their students, seminar rooms, and expanded space for student research posters. Students have the opportunity to work with modern instrumentation, including a Varian 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer; two Thermo Scientific Nicolet Fourier transform infrared spectrophotometers; a gas chromatograph–mass spectrometer; liquid chromatograph–mass spectrometer; several ultraviolet/visible spectrophotometers; a polarimeter; two microwave reactors; a Dionex high-performance liquid chromatograph; two PTI fluorescence spectrometers; a CombiFlash® chromatography system; Isothermal Titration Calorimeter; Raman Spectrometer; Agilent ICP-Optical Emission Spectrometer; BASi Potentiostat; CHI Potentiostat; Ultrafast Ti:Sapphire Laser; Olympus laser scanning confocal microscope; field emission scanning electron microscope; BMG microplate reader; and, in collaboration with Vassar College, a state-of-the-art X-ray diffractometer. More details are available at the program website.


Core courses include Chemistry 141-142, Basic Principles of Chemistry; Chemistry 201-202, Organic Chemistry; Chemistry 311, Physical Chemistry; Chemistry 312, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry; and laboratory concepts–focused Chemistry 350, Physical and Analytical Techniques, and Chemistry 360, Synthesis. At least one advanced elective course is offered each semester, covering topics such as organic synthesis, nucleic acids, organometallics, nanotechnology, and biochemistry.

Art and Science of Fermentation
Chemistry 123
Have you ever wondered how milk gets converted to yogurt and cheese? What causes dough to rise during the process of baking? Why kimchi is sour in taste? How yeast is responsible for the alcohol present in beer and hard cider? This laboratory course, designed for nonmajors, explores the different types of fermentation processes at the heart of many food items. Prerequisite: passing score on Part I of the Mathematics Diagnostic or permission of the instructor.

Molecules and Medicine
Chemistry 129
When you take aspirin or ibuprofen, do you ever wonder what the structure of this “miracle drug” looks like? In what way does the molecule actually work in the body? How was the medicinal use of this and other drugs discovered? This course, intended for nonscience majors, explores biologically active molecules and their modes of action (naturally occurring and synthetic) in an effort to stress the importance of chemistry in biology and medicine.

Basic Principles of Chemistry
Chemistry 141-142
An introduction to the composition, structure, and properties of matter. The first semester covers atomic structure, stoichiometry, periodic trends, bonding and molecular geometry, thermochemistry, and the behavior of gases, liquids, and solids. Central concepts in the second semester are energy transfer, spontaneity, and change (thermochemistry, chemical equilibrium, and kinetics). The laboratory portion stresses basic techniques and quantitative appli­cations. Basic algebra skills are required. Concurrent ­enrollment in calculus is recom­mended for students who intend to major in chemistry.

Organic Chemistry
Chemistry 201-202
Students examine the structure and reactions of specific types of or­ganic compounds and develop interrelationships that provide an integrated understanding of organic chemistry. The course emphasizes general principles and reaction mechanisms, but students are also expected to accumulate and utilize factual material. The ­laboratory is coordinated with classroom topics and should provide direct experience with many reactions and concepts. The laboratory also develops familiarity with experiment design, experimental techniques, and instrumental methods such as chromatography and spectroscopy. Prerequisite: Chemistry 141-142.

Physical Chemistry
Chemistry 311
Quantum chemistry, spectroscopy, and thermodynamics are studied in detail. Topics covered include the fundamental principles of quantum mechanics, the hydrogen atom, computational chemistry, atomic and molecular spectroscopy, the standard functions (enthalpy, entropy, Gibbs, etc.), and the microscopic point of view of entropy. Prerequisites: Chemistry 141–142, Physics 141, and Mathematics 141 and 142, or permission of the instructor.

Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
Chemistry 312
This course places emphasis on the classification of the properties and reactivity of the elements by chemical periodicity, structure, and bonding. Topics: coordination chemistry of the ­transition metals, organometallic chemistry, and bioinorganic chemistry. Prerequisites: Chemistry 201-202.

Advanced Laboratory Techniques: Physical and Analytic
Chemistry 350
Students explore analytical, physical, ­inorganic, and organic chemistry techniques and applications. Concepts dealing with statistical evaluation of data, activity, systematic treatment of equilibrium, and electrochemistry are also addressed.

Advanced Laboratory Techniques: Synthesis
Chemistry 360
Advanced lab concepts and techniques are introduced, including multistep organic and organometallic synthesis and air- and moisture-sensitive techniques. The course also covers many analytical, physical, inorganic, and organic chemistry techniques and applications, as necessary.

Chemistry 390
This course provides an introduction to biochemistry, with an emphasis on the study of biomolecules that are central to the function of living entities. Topics include protein and nucleic acid structure/function/regulation, mechanism/kinetics of enzymes, and a brief introduction to metabolism. The study of biochemistry is at the interface of chemistry and biology, so a strong foundation in introductory biology and organic chemistry is necessary.

Organic Synthesis
Chemistry 408
The starting point of this introductory course on the design and development of organic syntheses is a predictable design of organic structures based on the use of carbanions and other modern reactions. The versatility of these ­methods is discussed, using novel ways to apply the reactions to generate elusive structures. Variations in reactivity are examined to illustrate the differential reactivity of similar functional groups and how these differences may be used in selectivity. Prerequisite: Chemistry 202.

Chemistry 431
This course integrates material from inorganic and organic chemistry to provide a basis for understanding the rich chemistry of the metal/ carbon bond. The material consists of an examination of various organometallic reaction mechanisms, including substitution, oxidative addition, reductive elimination, and insertion, combined with a survey of the structure and reactivity of organometallic ligands. Topics addressed: organometallic photochemistry, catalysis, and the use of organometallic reagents in organic synthesis.

DNA/RNA: Structure and Function of Nucleic Acids
Chemistry 441
This seminar-style course begins with a review of nucleic acid chemistry. Topics of inquiry include the influence of DNA/RNA structure on replication, transcription, and translation; the importance of protein-nucleic acid interactions; and the role of RNA in regulation (catalytic RNA, riboswitches, and RNA interference pathways). Students utilize modeling/imaging software to acquire a deeper appreciation of nucleic acid structure.

Chemistry 471
A central goal of nanoscience is to make useful materials and devices through the synthesis and patterning of nanoscale building blocks. This course addresses the synthetic methods used to make metallic and semiconducting nanocrystals, as well as polymeric and bioinspired nanomaterials. Students also explore techniques that have been developed to organize and integrate these building blocks into functional architectures via self-assembly, templating, and lithography. This seminar-style course draws extensively on recent literature in chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering journals.