The School of Chemistry and Biochemistry has 30 research groups, approximately 170 graduate students and almost 400 undergraduate majors, learning, teaching, and doing research in a highly enriching environment. Other than Caltech’s, ours is the smallest department ranked in the top 20 nationally, but we are embedded among many biomedical, chemical, materials, and mechanical engineers who do and benefit from chemistry and biochemistry research. Our trainees therefore have the best of both worlds: personal attention and membership in a tightknit community along with easy access to extraordinary collaborators, facilities, and programs.
Chemistry has a long history at Georgia Tech; a bachelor's degree was first offered in 1906 and we were one of the first Schools to offer a PhD degree program. Two decades ago, a plan to create a cluster of new buildings dedicated to the molecular and biological sciences and engineering was put in motion. Uniquely at the time, these buildings were to be organized not around traditional disciplines, but rather around cross-cutting research themes regardless of departmental affiliation. This vision guides us today, and so our School’s research groups are found in five of these six buildings, all a short walk from each other, embedded among like-minded engineers to promote collaboration. It’s a remarkably creative environment, made more so by the inclusion of extensive core facilities with state-of-the-art instrumentation and professional staff to provide instruction and partnership.
Education here means work in the classroom and laboratory, naturally, but also professional development in mentoring, extracurricular programs, workshops, internships, and retreats. Opportunities such as these are available for everyone, from the first-year undergraduate to the most senior faculty member. Some examples:
Every undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry major meets with their faculty course advisor at least once each semester to make sure they’re on track or able to navigate a change in direction as their interests change. A large number of our undergraduates do research on campus, publishing papers and learning firsthand about the joys (and frustrations) of real boundary-pushing research. Our graduate students and faculty get together for a two-day off-campus research retreat each October, with all of the science presented by the students in a relaxed setting modeled on the Gordon Research Conference format. Workshops on writing, teaching, business development, and public policy are available to our graduate students and postdocs, and we have highly active organizations to engage and support the interests of grad students, women in science, postodcs and research scientists, and staff.
We work hard, but we also have lives off campus. Atlanta is an energetic city, with outstanding cultural events, food, music, sports, and recreational opportunities. It’s a livable place, too, with a great climate (not too hot in the summer because its full of trees), extraordinary diversity in its population and economic base, and many unique neighborhoods to choose from. It is also a place of concentrated academic and business activity, with Georgia Tech, Emory University, Georgia State, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University all within a few miles of each other.
We live in challenging times for our society and our planet, facing problems of a scale and severity rare in history. But these are matched by opportunities to make a real impact, and we know that many different viewpoints, skills, and experiences are required, all working together. We are dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect and support, and we nurture this culture continuously. We love what we do, who we do it with, and where it is done. We invite you to visit our School in these website pages or in person, and perhaps you will want to join us someday in Atlanta. We certainly hope so.