Chemistry Seminars

Weekly Seminars

The chemistry department hosts a weekly seminar, presented by visiting speakers, students who have completed research, and faculty members. Chemistry seminars are open to everyone. Topics range from academic lectures to discussions about careers and research opportunities in chemistry. College members can view an event calendar in GrinnellShare on the Science Division site (login required).

For more information, please contact the department chair.

Danforth Lectureship Series

Since 1979, the Danforth Lectureship has brought a distinguished chemist to Grinnell each year for a seminar or convocation and interactions with students. The Lectureship honors Joseph D. Danforth, who served on the Grinnell chemistry faculty from 1947-79. After earning his doctorate from Purdue University, Danforth was an industrial research chemist for ten years before joining the Grinnell faculty. During his time at the college he taught and mentored scores of students who have become distinguished students in their own right.

Recent Danforth Lecturers

2018- Robert G. Bergman, University of California, Berkeley

  • General talk: Irreproducibility in the Scientific Literature, or How Often Do Scientists Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth?
  • Seminar: Selective Stoichiometric and Catalytic Reactions in Water-Soluble Host-Guest Supramolecular Systems

2016- Deborah L. Swackhamer '76, University of Minnesota

  • General talk: Water Sustainability, Can It Be Achieved?
  • Seminar: Environmental Chemical Fate and Impact

2015- Dale L. Boger, The Scripps Research Institute

  • General talk: Discovery of a New Therapeutic Target in an Academic Setting
  • Seminar: Redesign of Vancomycin for Resistant Bacteria

2014- Joseph S. Franciso, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

  • General talk: From Earth's Atmosphere to Planetary Engineering of Mars: An Adventure in Chemistry
  • Seminar: New Insights into HOCO Radical Chemistry

2013- Judith P. Klinman, University of California, Berkeley

  • Convocation: After Science, There's Laundry
  • Seminar: A Family of Copper Proteins that Perform Oxidative C-H Activation at a Water Interface

2013- Harry Gray, California Institute of Technology

  • General talk: The 21st Century Solar Army
  • Seminar: Electron Flow through Metalloproteins

2011- R. Graham Cooks, Purdue University

  • Seminar: Chemical Analysis in Situ: Operating Rooms, Crime Scenes, Grocery Stores, & Factory Floors

2010- Geraldine Richmond, U. of Oregon

  • Convocation: Going Nonlinear to Understand Environmentally Important Processes at Liquid Surfaces
  • Seminar: Oil on Water: Calming the Seas but not the Science

2009- Jonas C. Peters, Mass. Inst. of Technology

  • Convocation: The quest for earth abundant hydrogen evolution catalysts
  • Seminar: Multi-electron transformations at low-coordinate iron centers

2008- Robert H. Grubbs, Calif. Inst. of Technology

  • Seminar: Design of efficient olefin metathesis catalysts
  • General talk: Where fundamental chemistry can take you: Following the Olefin metathesis

2006- Peter C. Agre, Duke Univ. Medical Center

  • Seminar: Blueprints for Cellular Plumbing System
  • Convocation: My Life in Science: From Lake Wobegon to Stockholm
  • HHMI Symposium Keynote Lecture: Aquaporin Water Channels - The Nobel Lecture