Coronavirus Update: Washington College responds to coronavirus outbreak. More Info

Department of


John S. Toll Science Center

The chemistry department is located on the second floor of the John S. Toll Science Center. Students enrolled in chemistry courses and performing research either during our summer research program or as seniors majoring in a scientific discipline have access to our state-of-the-art laboratories and instrumentation.

 Students work at the bench in a general chemistry lab.



There are four teaching laboratories as well as two preparatory rooms and two instrumentation rooms. The main aspects of sample characterization are covered, ranging from:

  • molecular spectroscopy including our Hach ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometers to infrared spectroscopy with our Thermo Nicolet AVATAR 360 or Agilent Cary 630 FT-IR spectrophotometer
  • absorption spectroscopy with our Perkin Elmer AAnalyst 100 atomic absorption spectrophotometer
  • separation techniques based on gas chromatography/mass spectrometry including our Hewlett Packard gas chromatograph coupled with mass spectrometers or our Agilent InfinityLab liquid chromatograph/mass spectrometer
  • nuclear spectroscopy with our new Bruker 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer


To make our laboratory sessions more effective and engaging, students familiarize themselves with Vernier and PC-Spartan software which allow students to measure and analyze their data in real-time with a computer, as stand-alone or in the field, and also with ChemOffice software which allows students to design their own molecules.