Events & Seminars > Event Details


4:00 pm
Room 304, Chemistry Building

Research with Undergraduates: A Fabulous Career


Professor George Shields
Furman University

Hosted by: Professor Brooks Pate

In this talk I will discuss my group’s research in computational chemistry, spanning atmospheric, biological, medicinal, and physical chemistry. More than 110 undergraduates have contributed to these projects, and I will include examples of how student interest and initiative drove our undergraduate research program forward. The benefits of early introduction to research and the development of the MERCURY consortium will also be discussed.


George Shields grew up in central New York.  He earned a B.S. in Chemistry at Ga Tech in 1981 and enrolled in the master’s program at Tech with the intention of becoming a high school teacher.  He completed his M.S. in Chemistry in May of 1983, and his Ph.D. in March of 1986.  His thesis work was in chemical physics, using Mass Spectrometers to study ion-molecule collisions.  He then went to Yale for a postdoc, working with Tom Steitz (the 2009 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry), where he solved (with Steve Schultz, a fellow postdoc) the structure of the Catabolite Gene Activator protein complexed with DNA.  In August of 1989 he joined the faculty at Lake Forest College, north of Chicago, and spent nine years there, the last two as Chairperson of the department of chemistry.  In June of 1998 he moved to Hamilton College, where he chaired the department until July of 2006.  During his tenure as chair at Hamilton enrollments in general chemistry increased by 50%, the number of chemistry majors increased from three to 15 per year, and the number of summer research students in the department increased from four to forty per summer. He was the founding Dean of the College of Science & Technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University, in Savannah, GA, a position he has held from July 1 2008 – June 30 2010. The past six years he was Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Bucknell University. He has worked with 110 undergraduate research students; over 85% of his graduates have attended graduate or professional school.  He has published 82 papers to date and 52 of those papers have been co-authored with 59 undergraduates. He currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Journal of Physical Chemistry and on the Executive Board for the Council of Undergraduate Research. In 2015 he received the ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. His current research interests use computational chemistry to investigate atmospheric and biological chemistry.