A Message from the Department Head

David Palmer

Hello and welcome! My name is David Palmer, and I'm the head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan. Our department offers undergraduate and graduate courses and degrees in all areas of chemistry, including hands-on research in the form of for-credit coursework and paid summer student opportunities. We study everything from theory to application, analysis to synthesis, positrons to proteins, surfaces to solar cells, materials science to medical imaging. Just as our work is diverse and inclusive, we are committed to making our department a place where everyone, regardless of identity, can enjoy working and learning. 

You may have heard this joke before: Never trust atoms --- they make up everything! If you are a chemist, you may also have heard a slogan that dates back to the 1970s: What in the world isn't chemistry? These statements summarize how we feel about our subject: that it is everywhere around you, and that understanding chemistry is an essential part of understanding the world. Whether or not you seek a degree or a career in this subject, you live in a chemical world, and everything you do is influenced by chemistry. If you've ever had questions about what is in an aspirin, what makes things different colours, how a refrigerator works, how perfume is made, why some plastic is soft while some is bullet-proof, or if there is any difference between a natural and a synthetic compound; it takes a basic knowledge of chemistry to understand the answers.

Chemistry is also known as "the central science", because of its impact on all the surrounding disciplines. If you are thinking of a degree in any science, then knowledge of chemistry will help you. If you haven't decided on a degree program, you should definitely choose chemistry! 

What can I do with a chemistry degree? Of course you can go on to work as a chemist, here in Saskatchewan or elsewhere, and there is an Association of Professional Chemists of Saskatchewan (www.saskpchem.ca) with members working in such fields as mining, fossil fuels, agriculture, environmental assessment, government facilities, teaching, and research. It is common for those graduates who don't immediately take up employment in the chemical sector to choose medical school, dentistry, pharmacy, or to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry or a related discipline. We can put you in touch with recent graduates who have followed these paths.

I invite you to look around our website to learn about our more than 100 years of history and achievement, and see what's happening in our department today. You can learn about the undergraduate Chemistry Students Society, the graduate Chemistry Course Council, our Women in Chemistry program, the achievements of our alumni, and of course our faculty and their research.