The history of our Chemistry Department starts in 1928, the same year when National Taiwan University (NTU), known originally as Taihoku Imperial University, was established by the Japanese government. Since its founding, the Department has carried on the tradition of excellence in maintaining high-quality teaching and in pursuing vigorous research programs. At the opening of the University, the Department was part of the College of Science and Agriculture. The first three faculty chairs installed included one each in theoretical/inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. In 1937, the fourth faculty chair, in inorganic/analytical chemistry, was added. The College of Science and Agriculture evolved into two colleges in 1943, with the Chemistry Department joining the College of Science. In 1945, the fifth faculty chair, in organic chemistry, was installed. During 1928-1945, five students were admitted to the Department each year, and a total of 72 bachelor degrees and 3 doctoral degrees were granted.
After World War II, the university was renamed National Taiwan University. Subsequently, the Graduate Institute of Chemistry was founded in 1956, offering the M.S. curriculum. A period of expansion ensued. In 1959, the Department moved into a new building, which was situated close to the center of the campus. The Ph.D. program was then initiated, with the first Ph.D. awarded in 1972. Under the auspices of the National Science Council and with cooperation of National Tsing Hua University and Academia Sinica, the Chemistry Research Promotion Center was established at NTU in 1965. It solidified the central role of the Department in chemical research in Taiwan. In 1972, biochemistry professors from our department founded the Biochemical Research Institute on the NTU campus.
The NSC Regional Advanced Instrument Center was established in NTU in 1981. Several sophisticated research instruments of the Center, including high-field NMR, TEM, ESCA, Auger, MASS, EA spectrometers and X-ray diffractometers, are housed in our Department, which have helped to advance the chemical research in North Taiwan. The completion of Shih-Liang Hall in 1984 increased student laboratory space.
On August 23, 2003, a groundbreaking ceremony for Wing A of the New Chemical Research Building was held and the building was completed at the end of 2004. In summer 2005, the Department moved to Wing A of the building. Upon the completion of Wing B in 2008, a total area of 16,200 square meters will be available for research and teaching. The New Chemical Research Building, standing by the beautiful Drunken Moon Lake, symbolizes our determination to continue the tradition of research excellence, to cultivate our brilliant young generations, and to take the challenges of the new millennium.
The Chemistry Department has won recognition in the academic circle for many years. In November 2003, NSC announced the ranking of funding granted to universities in the last decade; our Department ranked 1st. In addition, the Department was one of the finest in the department performance review held by Chemical Society in 2005, receiving A+ in three categories (faculty, research and administrative support).
In recent years, our faculty has actively expanded research fields into Chemical Biology. Accordingly, the Department plans to divide our graduate program into two areas: Chemistry and Chemical Biology. The Department will start accepting graduate students in both areas in the year 2007.
Teaching & Research
In our quest of academic excellence, the Department is dedicated to providing the best quality of up-to-date education for our students. At present, the Department has 33 academic staff members, 11 adjunct professors, one distinguished adjunct professor, and one distinguished research professor. Each faculty member heads a research program, which is open to all chemistry students. The faculty currently supervises about 160 Ph.D. candidates, 170 M.S. students, and 290 undergraduates majoring in chemistry. The undergraduate laboratories and administrative work are mostly operated by 20teaching assistants and a staff of about 30.
Since 2000, the undergraduate curriculum has been reformed so as to place students at the leading edge of inquiry into chemical knowledge while maintaining a high standard of teaching. Key contents in the core chemistry courses on general, organic, analytical, and physical chemistry are identified specifically for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. To provide the breadth of the contemporary chemistry-related knowledge that the students need, academically rigorous courses in chemical biology and nanomaterials were also developed in our curriculum. Flexibility in what a student learns is allowed such that our graduates are equipped to make significant contributions at the frontiers of the disciplines of their interests.
As to traditional experimental training classes, they were integrated into six interdisciplinary laboratory courses, which provide an adequate opportunity for our undergraduates to apply their classroom knowledge in problem solving. The lab facilities were upgraded on a large scale in 2005.
Our faculty members also offer various elective courses in fields of their own specialties. These courses are arranged to bridge our junior students into inter-disciplinary scientific research on various topics. Senior students are encouraged to participate in undergraduate research in order to gain research experience.
Recently, we have focused on multimedia teaching through computers and network. Our homepage permits students to access teaching videos about laboratory techniques, chemical safety education, basic principles of the practical courses, and instrumentation.
Our faculty members also offer service courses for other departments of the University, in the capacity of nearly 1,500 students each year. To promote chemical science education in Taiwan, our faculty members actively participate in the establishment of the high-school programs in chemical sciences, conducting tutorials for elite high-school students, and providing varied supports for science education activities. The website of the High-School Educational Consultation Network was established to provide interactive communication to students of all levels.
The time-honored tradition of excellence in research continues today. At present, the Department has faculty with research interests covering a broad range of topics at the forefront of modern chemistry, including organic synthesis, organometallic chemistry, photochemistry, natural product chemistry, radical chemistry, organosilicon chemistry, medicinal chemistry, physical organic chemistry, organic conductors and light emitting materials, coordination chemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis, surface chemistry, X-ray crystallography, high temperature superconducting materials, molecular wires, gas kinetics and dynamics, statistical thermodynamics, nuclear magnetic resonance and molecular spectroscopy, electrochemistry, microanalysis, chromatography, materials and surface analysis, mass spectrometry, laser chemistry, biosensors, protein and enzyme chemistry, nanochemistry, molecular electronics, supramolecular chemistry, and femtosecond spectroscopy. The research programs carried out by our faculty are well funded by extramural sources.
Several of our faculty members have received world’s top awards and distinguished international recognitions. Many of them play active roles in the editorial boards of first-rate international journals. The Department publishes a total of over 200 SCI papers per annum in the national and international journals. In addition, members from the Department collaborate actively with researchers and scientists in the Ministry of Economics Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, and the Department of Health, as well as with some private enterprises to promote the transfer of the technologies developed in our programs so that our research results can better benefit the country.
The Department is constantly exposed to the most advanced knowledge available. It regularly hosts two seminars per week. World-renowned chemistry scholars are invited to the University from all over the world to give speeches on their research.